Scythe – Neal Shusterman (review)

Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Genre: Young Adult | Fantasy | Dystopia
Length: 435 pages
Published May 22nd 2016 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Purchase: Amazon|Book Depository


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.

“Without the threat of suffering, we can’t experience true joy.” 

Scythe – Neal Shusterman

This dystopian story was unlike any I’ve ever read. I mean, people can’t die and you have Scythes that can end your life?? And you can baiscally turn back time on your own life, and be 29 forever! I was immediately intrigued and really wanted to read the book.

The beginning of the story, which counts for every new world, was a bit confusing. It’s so similar to our world, except for.. well.. the dying part. The world is so advanced, has progressed so much that people don’t die a natural way. Not really anyway. It’s equally parts interesting and terrifying. I have probably never read a YA book that is so incredibly complex, but is still able to cater to a young adult audience.

The world is incredible. It’s basically two separate worlds, those of the people, and those of the Scythes. This was a bit hard for me to figure out, especially in the beginning, which is why I can absolutely understand if people don’t want to continue with the book. The pace is slower, but still kept me on the edge of my seat, which is why I kept going. I haven’t read dystopian stories in years and I was actually surprised with how much I loved this story.

Citra and Rowan were chosen to be apprentice of Scythe Faraday, to learn how to become a Scythe. It’s really interesting to see how both Citra and Rowan respond to what they learn, the different POVs are really interesting, especially later in the story. Citra is really intelligent, tries to figure out things she doesn’t understand, while Rowan is more impulsive, need (and gets) some serious character development. Their relationship is one of the best and one of the worst parts of the story. Some things just didn’t resonate with me and hurt the story in my opinion.

My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.

Scythe – Neal Shusterman

The best part, without a doubt, is the way it makes you think about humanity. To live in a world where you can’t die like we do now, is that the end? Is that all we could have accomplished? Because isn’t that what everyone wants, to be immortal, to have enough time to see your children grow up, to work to live instead of living to work. But is it all we’ve hoped and prayed for? Isn’t humanity really wanting to keep progressing, and would living forever not defeat that purpose?

From the moment I read the synopsis, I already knew that it was going to be a book I’d like. But it really surprised me. The worldbuilding, the interactions not only between Citra and Rowan, but also between the different Scythes. It’s truly amazing and I can’t wait to read the next book. Definitely ordering it as soon as I can!

19 thoughts on “Scythe – Neal Shusterman (review)

  1. sammers65 says:

    AHH YES! I’m stoked that you enjoyed reading this one! I’ve had on my TBR for the longest, and I keep hearing great things about it and how it is the bomb-diggity-doo! Soon I shall devour it. MWUAHAHAHA (also great review)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennifer Pletcher says:

    I loved this book too! The next book was equally as good, AND the third one is due out this year from what I understand. I really like Neil Shusterman as an author.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Neni says:

    I have seen this book around and the blurb didnt really interest me but your review makes it sound really good. I might go and read the sample of it on Amazon to see if I like. The cover looks so eerie and cool too

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michelle says:

      Some of the stories that are told by the Scythes are a bit eerie aswell. But just thinking about a time where people can’t die and Scythes have to decide who to kill.. I wouldn’t want to be a Scythe


  4. Nicoline Simone says:

    I must bluntly admit that I have seen this book several times but ever read the synopsis. (I don’t know whether it is the cover or something else) But now I have! And I totally get you, I must read this book now myself! It sounds different and a bit unpleasant in the way that it deals with a difficult topic but that is good. It is a series, right? Really nice review :))

    Liked by 1 person

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