Title: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)
By: Neal Shusterman
Published: November 22nd, 2016
By: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
You can buy it HERE: 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.
|| Goodreads ||
“Hope in the shadow of fear is the world’s most powerful motivator.”
Book #1 || The Book Junkie Trials Read-A-Thon || #MAGE
OMG, LOVED IT, I didn’t expect something so complex and different, and I really enjoyed that. It’s a book with a world-building with no flaws, is absolutely brilliant and is very well thought out. The only thing I would like right now is to spend a little more time in this world, so I hope I can read the sequel VERY soon, I would do it right now if I didn’t have this big TBR ahead, but really a book that’s worth the hype.
This is a story that takes place in a dystopic world where humanity has reached its maximum degree of knowledge, have found a way to evolve and now there are no wars, no hunger, no poverty in the world, as well as no more death. Now that humans are eternal, the Scythe’s job is to make of “death angels,” killing people to keep the overpopulation under control. The book follows Citra and Rowan, both were chosen as Scythe’s apprentices, a job that neither of them wants, and now they must learn the “art” of taking lives, knowing that the consequence can be loss their own live.
The concept of the book, as well as the world-building, are simply brilliant, it has been quite a while since I read a dystopian book and I really enjoyed it a lot, and I want to continue reading a bit more about this kind of genre now. I think sometimes we’re afraid to end up reading the same things, but this book isn’t repetitive or cliche, at all, it’s extremely original and also mixes a super-technological age, with a very deep discussion about what life is really about and what are we doing in this world. I think one of the things that stands out the most in this book, is that you can open your mind a little and think about many things, like, if it’s really worth living forever and what we would do in that scenario. For me, to go inside a little of the human mind in this kind of fantastic stories is always very interesting, and I understand what the author tries to do with his metaphors and thoughts.
There are very short chapters dedicated to the Scythe’s diaries and OMG, they were, without doubt, my favorites, they give you the possibility to know more deeply the thoughts and desires of the characters, and also make you question many things about humanity, they’re very smart and I loved them. They’re also a great transition from one chapter to another.
“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.”
At first, I felt kind of weird about the plot, it took me a bit to understand how was and means to be a Scythe, I went into it thinking that they were like these super dark and evil people, since they took lives and all that, but I found something else, very different. The Scythe although they have a very important and ruthless work, they live their lives in a very simple and monotonous way, they can’t obsess about what they are, so most of them have very humble lives. Now I understand the concept, and I like it, but at the beginning there’s a scene where they must go to take the life of a woman, and go in something that’s like a public bus or something, and honestly I thought it was the most absurd scenes ever, I don’t know, it just didn’t fit well in my head. But then it gets better, and it was interesting to see how the Scythe are incorporated into society and to see how they live.
I liked the characters, but I was able to connect with them towards the end, at first I think the author got involved and put all his focus on the world and explain how it works, so I think the characters don’t have a lot of depth or personality, but when the story is developed more, it improves a lot, and we get to know them better.
I think Citra is a super stubborn girl and she’s impulsive and always says what she thinks, it can cause a lot of emotions in readers, but I personally liked her, I think she’s very clever, and I LOVE her individual story, it was my favorite. Then we have Rowan and I liked him, although I’m not in love with the character or anything. .I like his growth, he starts being a very honest and good boy, and his personality ends up adapting and changing to survive, which I admire
Citra and Rowan both come from very different families and I think that’s very interesting, Rowan has a very large family and is like the “forgotten” child and nobody pays attention to him, while Citra has a small and very loving family. And for me, this is very interesting because when their worlds collide they react in different ways and I think that, in a certain way, it’s due to the family they have been raised for.
And then we have my favorite characters, which no one will be surprised about, and they’re Faraday and Marie Curie, you know that I’m trash for good “master” figures, and they’re everything I love in this type of characters. I could read the teacher-student relationship trope forever and always love it, I mean, not as a romance, but as a special and paternal connection, it’s my weakness. Both characters are very deep, smart, wise and incredibly interesting to read. I LOVE THEM. Their scenes are gold.
“Everyone is guilty of something, and everyone still harbors a memory of childhood innocence, no matter how many layers of life wrap around it. Humanity is innocent; humanity is guilty, and both states are undeniably true.”
What could I say about the writing style, right?, I just think it’s VERY smart, mature and addictive, I loved it
There’s almost no romance here which I enjoyed a lot, what little there is, I think it’s kind of unreal, I didn’t feel the connection between the main characters, it’s like I liked it, on the one hand, but I don’t feel like is “love”, you know?, I think it could be something in the future but, in this book it felt a bit hasty and forced, so I hope that aspect will improve in the next one
The plot twists are very well done, I was like in shock with one of them, and it made me happy, I almost died, though!. When a book in general, makes me feel many emotions I know that it’s because I’m loving it and this really achieved it.
The Sci-Fi aspect comes from the hand of an Artificial Intelligence, which is like a cloud where all the information in the world is now stored and is also responsible for managing every aspect of society, all except the Scythe since they’re governed by something else. I wanted to mention this aspect because I loved it and I would like to see and read even more about it in the next book, I really like how it works and also open the door to infinite possibilities.
I really loved the book and the little things that I might not have really liked aren’t a big thing, I highly recommend the book if you like futuristic dystopia, deep plots with important discussions, there are people killing other people all the time, so there’s a lot of discussion about what it means to take a life, also I recommend it if you want to read a wonderful world-building. Also, the Scythe are extremely interesting and deep human beings and I love exploring their lives, so I think it’s a unique aspect that you would like to read about.
I can’t wait to read the second book, I hope to do it next month, I would do it right now but I have other readings to prioritize, even though I’m so excited, the end left me breathless, LOVED IT !!