I haven’t read a YA dystopian since my disappointing read of Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth way back in 2012.
And yet, there is no dystopian series that I have heard more about in the past six months than Neal Shusterman’s ‘Arc of a Scythe’ duology.
With so much hype, did Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) make me want to jump head first back into the figurative pool of dystopian fiction? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
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Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers (November 22, 2016)
Print Length: 435 pages
Audiobook Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
Narrator: Greg Tremblay
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.
Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) is a unique addition to the YA dystopian genre, exploring what it would mean if no one could die and what we would have to do to keep the population under control.
Taking place in a world free of hunger, disease, and death, Scythe follows the characters of Citra and Rowan, two teenagers reluctant to apprentice to be a scythe – citizens tasked with the ability to gleam (kill) others in order to maintain a manageable population size.
The premise of this novel is a rather unique one. As technology has advanced, humanity has found a way to halt the aging process, granting all immortality. However, with no one dying from natural causes, ordinary people are transformed into scythes, who are bestowed the extraordinary ability of gleaming – the power to end someone’s life, forever. While slow in certain areas, Shusterman follows through with this concept, even going so far as to present how people are chosen to be gleamed, what happens to the family left behind, and what happens when scythes abuse their power.
The story follows two characters, Citra and Rowan, as they are plucked from relative obscurity in order to apprentice for Scythe Faraday. Both characters offer unique perspectives to the narrative, with Citra doing anything she can to win the immunity for her family, and Rowan being a self-labeled piece of lettuce. While a romance between the two is briefly explored, it is not the main focus of the story. Instead, Shusterman favours the exploration of platonic relationships between the scythes and their apprentices, and the scythes and the general population. Out of all the characters, however, my favourite to read about was Scythe Curie. She is a former ‘grande dame of death’ who went from a cold-blooded angel to someone just trying to bestow wisdom of how to get through the job.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
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And those are my thoughts on Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman. Have any YA dystopian recommendations you’d like to share? Leave them as a comment below and help my TBR grow.