Scythe by Neal Shusterman | Best Book of 2018 Already?

Title: Scythe
Author: Neal Shusterman
Pages: 435 pages
Release Date: November 22nd, 2016
Source: Hardcover from Amazon
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Rating: 5/5 stars
Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Buy it now! 
Guys, I read a lot of books. It's basically the point of this blog and the perk of being a book blogger. When you read as many books as I do, it's easy to get lost in the same old boring tropes and reused plot lines. However, I can firmly say that Scythe by Neal Shusterman is unlike anything I have ever read before and it could, quite possibly, already be one of my favorite books this year.

Scythe takes place in what I would call a "perfect world". In this world, there is no hunger, no war and no misery. Humanity has even conquered death. Now Scythes, charged with the power to kill people, are the only ones who can control population growth. They call it gleaning. The story follows our two main protagonists, Citra and Rowan, who are chosen as apprentices to a Scythe. They will be trained in the history of the mortal world and in the art of killcraft to compete against each other in a battle where only one one will survive. Citra's and Rowan's lives are altered forever as they learn what it really means to live and they are thrust into the Scythedom, which holds more corruption than they ever realized.

The synopsis does a great job of pulling the reader in. I was quite skeptical about the concept of a utopian society because I had read other books I didn't enjoy that featured the same concept *cough cough The Giver*.  Unlike the criticism I had for those other books, Scythe had such interesting world-building and Shusterman was really able to develop his vision.

We are introduced to the Thunderhead, which is kind of like an all-seeing god that is responsible for keeping the world in this perfect state. My only qualm was that we didn't get to see more of how the Thunderhead came to be and what events led to its creation. However, I didn't think the lack of its history deterred this from becoming a great story in any way. In fact, I was glad the author focused on the present, where we were introduced to present-day technology and rules that were associated with this world. My favorite part was that the author substituted some of the most fundamental constitutional amendments for his own amendments! That takes a lot of creativity and thought.

As much as I want to reveal every part of this world that I loved, I really want you to read and discover it for yourself. It was very complete world-building. Every question I had about the world that came up in the book was quickly answered as I kept reading. I felt very fulfilled.

Even though this was a perfect world, no character in this book was perfect. Each character is defined by their morals and beliefs, especially the Scythes. The Scythes have the freedom to choose who they glean and with what method, as long as they don't surpass their gleaning quota for the year. A lot of their choices are based on each individual Scythe's personality. There are Scythes that never wanted to become one in the first place, but they don't think anyone else would be more fair at the job. These Scythes are usually more compassionate and merciful. On the other hand, there are Scythes who kill because they enjoy killing; these are mostly the corrupt ones. This book made me question a lot of things, but most of all: If I was a Scythe, how and who would I glean? Is this system of killing really fair?

If the plot and characters aren't enough to draw you in, the twists and turns might do the trick! Scythe was incredibly enjoyable, and I found that putting down the book for more than a few hours was IMPOSSIBLE. I wanted to finish the book as fast as possible to find out what happened in the end. It was a fast-paced book that didn't at all feel like 400 pages. Not to mention, the book is a lot darker than most YA sci-fi fantasies, so it's something you'll find unique from your daily reading regimen. If you want to pick up something that is far from light but makes your morals, read this book.
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  1. I’m so excited to read this book! It’s sitting on my TBR shelf right now. I’m hoping to get to it this month. Great review!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. yes omg. i'm reading the second one soon and i've already got my aunt hooked on this series!

  2. Any Neal Shusterman book is easily a fave for me. His characters are always not perfect and their development throughout the book is great. Also, is his world building is always fantastic. I LOVED Scythe and I just got my hands on Thunderhead. Really hope I get to read it soon!

    1. i feel so sad to be so late to the game. i'm going to buy his entire unwind series.

  3. ahh i've been dying to read this one for a while now, it just sounds amazing with intriguing concept! glad it lives up to your expectations! :)

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

  4. how to pronounce the title, SCYTHE?

  5. Ahh, Scythe was so good and I am so excited to read Thunderhead soon and explore the world more!


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