Scythe by Neal Shusterman | Review

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Scythe by Neal Shusterman | ReviewScythe by Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 22, 2016
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy
Pages: 448
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

Two teens are forced to murder—maybe each other—in the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.

(Last Updated On: June 12, 2022)

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by Neal Shusterman. I read Unwind back when I first started blogging in 2012, and convinced one of my friends to read it. Yet, I haven’t gotten around to picking up anything by him since then. After reading Scythe by Neal Shusterman, I can say that’s a huge regret of mine. Why, just why??

The Word-Building

I am absolutely obsessed with this world, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s kind of a creepy world… like I’m not sure I’d want this world to be real? But basically, there is no other way to die in this world unless a Scythe gleans you.

They call it “gleaning” but it actually means they just murder you! Freaky, right? The Scythes are kind of like this “other” being in this world, but anyone can end up being a scythe if they are randomly chosen.

One thing I particularly loved about the world-building was the diary entries from past scythes throughout the book. This is where a lot of our information about the world came from. Essentially, all scythes are meant to keep a journal and record their killings. Scythes have a really hard job.

The Characters

As you could probably guess… our main characters are chosen to be scythes! Their names are Citra and Rowan. They both have to study up and learn everything scythe related under Scythe Faraday. Neither of them wants to be Scythes, but it ends up turning into this whole competition – whomever of them ends up being the better scythe has to kill the other. Terrifying!

The relationship between the two characters is really complex and I loved that. They can’t technically be friends because they’re in competition with each other, and they also can’t really like each other or develop a relationship because one of them isn’t going to survive. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time because I honestly loved both of them.

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The Tension

Of course, there is a lot more tension than just the tension between the characters! There’s an old fight going on between a lot of the scythes. There are newer scythes who think that gleaning should be a lot of fun, and they mass glean people.

Then there are also those who are in the old ways, believing that this is not fun and it is just a job to be done. This tension continues all throughout the book, and I have a feeling it will only grow throughout the trilogy.

The Verdict

Scythe is the start of an amazing series. I can’t wait to continue on and see what else happens. From the world-building, the amazing characters, and even the tension, Scythe by Neal Shusterman is sure to earn a spot on my favorites shelf.

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  1. It’s been a while since I’ve visited Krystianna and absolutely loving the new name and look! I started Scythe shortly after it was released and couldn’t really get into it at the time. I’d read a few similar books a few months prior and set it down with the intention of picking it up again later on. Reading your review has reminded me and this time, I’m really excited to give it another try. I love the sound of the complexity of characters, I didn’t get that far in last time so keen on seeing how Citra and Rowan navigate what sounds like a companionship alongside the competition. Wonderful review Krystianna, absolutely loved it!

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