Saturday, November 30, 2019

REVIEW: Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Title: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: Young Adult - Dystopia/Sci-Fi
Publisher: Simon & Schuster - Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Acquired: Purchased for my collection
Goodreads: ADD

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.



I must quietly, and with much distress, announce that the Goodreads community really swindled me with this one. Swindled me right into a two book, one preorder purchase *sigh. I didn't love this book. For the love of a nearly perfect 5-star average rating on Goodreads, I DID NOT LOVE THIS BOOK. How do I trust again? How do I, with confidence, go book shopping and trust a Goodreads rating to lead me down the right path !? Okay I'm being dramatic. I digress, Scythe has a phenomenal concept, it was the execution that had me wondering how it garnered such a well-rounded 5-stars from almost everyone.

I started off reading with the fervor that comes with reading something brand new! and exciting! and therefore precious and oh so indulgent. That's what Scythe began as for me, a delicious delve into a world that held so much promise of detailed explanation, and while it handed me the answers to some questions, it left me in the dark in places that needed a well-lit space. For example, 'religion' (as we know it) has become obsolete, and has been replaced with a parody of itself. But how? Why? How does a large population of pious humans, who have spent their entire lives being rooted in such strong beliefs (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism) suddenly not see the use in believing anymore? Simply because death is no longer inevitable? How about death by Scythe? Is death not death not death? I found this to be a key flaw in so many "issues" that were no longer issues in this world of immortality.

Note: I want to take a moment to say that I ADORE Neal Shusterman, I read the Unwind series and could not, for the life of me, put them down or stop my feelings from spiralling out of control. So I'm not here to say that I doubt his talent, because the man is TALENTED.

Anyway, moving right along. The Romance. Let's talk about, though there isn't much to talk about. I saw what Shusterman was trying to do, and while it definitely could have been a relationship we died rooting for, it was instead a dull, gray, flopping fish of a thing. It struggled for air, and not in the good, I'm-too-busy-kissing-to-breathe way, but in the ugh, why are we-forcing-this-to-be-a-thing kind of way. The relationship should have been left in its rightful environment: platonic friendship. I would have respected and appreciated that SO much more. Not every YA novel needs to have an aspect of romantic love to launch it into stardom.

I will conclude with what I liked, because contrary to what the above portion of the review implies, my 3-star rating meant that there were many things I did enjoy, and that did work for me. Side characters Scythe Faraday and Curie were incredible, and easily maintained my admiration and interest. I really enjoyed the journal logs of the aforementioned Scythes, and the ones from not-so-loved Scythes-it added a deeper layer to the content. There were many explanations of this new world that did fascinate me and was explained in ways that blew my mind with its logic. It was what kept me reading to be honest, and what led my purchase-happy finger to order the next two installments. 

Here's hoping that I start feeling differently about this series, because hell, can we agree that it's hard to be the odd one out when it comes to such raved about books!? Ugh.





Read if you like:  
Unwind Series by Neal Shusterman
Red Rising Series by Pierce Brown

Key themes: 
death, loss, dystopia, ethics, revenge 

Challenges: 




credit: author page (Goodreads)

CLICK HERE to read more about Neal on the 'About' page on of his website.


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