From the very first page to the very last word, Scythe by Neal Shusterman, has not a disappointing bone within its pages. Scythe is another contender for my top 5 of the year and should be one you shouldn’t pass up!
Shusterman is able to take an ordinary understanding, such as reapers or grim reapers, and turn and shape them into something so wholly new and revolutionary that you begin to wonder if what you thought of as a reaper is truly what it out there.
Scythe sets place in a dystopian future. Where humans have conquered every fatality, including death and immortality is achieved. To control population, people, Scythes, bring about individual deaths called gleaning and once gleaned by a Scythe there is no way to be revived. (Which, in this society is an actual thing. Fall off a ten story building, no problem, you’ll merely be revived in a few days time.)
“The method you choose, will define you. What kind of Scythe will you chose to be?”
Shusterman’s writing is superb. The story is not blemished by awkward passages or dulled by any unnecessary back-story or story fodder. There is something heartbreaking about the story Scythe tells, but at the same time, it’s utterly captivating. From the very instant you start reading you fall into a world that engulfs you completely and you need no time at all to catch up and understand this new, wondrous place.
Instantly, each of the main characters, along with the world, would make you believe you are in the middle of a long-running series because you feel you know them so well and connect with them so easily, rather than meeting them for the first time in Book 1 of a new series.
Scythe plays so easily on the morals of life and death, how we all look at each in turn, feel about the subjects, and take on the roles. Every character changes and grows so much throughout the story that they feel more human than any fictional character has the right to be. Scythe teaches you that nothing is black or white, good or bad, but both and everything all at once and demands to be heard and understood.
From the very first page I dove into the story and didn’t ever want to come out of it. (I’m sure my coworkers have been quite frustrated with me at times.) Nothing about this story dragged, was irritating, boring, or hard to understand. Scythe is the perfect book to pick up and read in an afternoon and come out the other side feeling slightly heartsick, but believing, because of that slight heartache, that you understand the world and those around you just that much more for having taken the time to read it.
Scythe is vibrant and rich in every possible way. At times I am sad after finishing the story that I had the opportunity to read the book early because now I have to wait that much longer for the sequel(s). Neal Shusterman has been an author I’ve been wanting to read for a long time and Scythe happened to be my first by him. I have since bought Challenger Deep and plan to never stop reading his incredible works.
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