Posted in book review

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

scytheIn the future, humans are more or less immortal. Society is controlled by the Thunderhead, an AI cloud that has conquered all our problems: hunger, war, pollution, disease, death. So…. I know what you’re thinking–Thunderhead runs amok and goes all dystopian on the world. Wrong. People love Thunderhead. It has every thing worked out and life is pretty good. The only problem is over-population, which is an unavoidable byproduct of immortality. But not to worry because the world has the Scythes–an honorable, fair system of using assassins to randomly kill people. (Ha, that’s one sentence I never thought I’d be writing…) The Scythe system is the only part of humanity not governed by the Thunderhead but it follows strict rules to make sure deaths are not discriminatory or targeted. So far, it’s been working pretty well. But humans will be human so that can only last so long…

In this surprisingly non-dystopian world, we also have Citra and Rowan, two teens who are chosen as apprentice Scythes. Only one of them will be picked to continue on as a full Scythe, causing some tension between them. But their situation also causes them to bond as they move from relatively normal lives into one in which death is an every day occurrence. And then, they start to find out that the system is not as honorable as they thought. Politics, combined with a group of sociopaths, have corrupted the Scythe system and chance has put Citra and Rowan right in the middle. Before they know it, they are embroiled in life or death situations that most of the world doesn’t even realize are happening. Only the outcome is sure — one of them will die.

Fast-paced, suspenseful and interesting, this is a book that is hard to put down. Citra and Rowan are strong, thoughtful characters, as are Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie. The plot throws some twists at you while periodic journal entries tell the back story and shed insight into the motivations of the adult characters. Highly recommended!



Find SCYTHE in the BEHS Library

Submitted by Ms. Bing

Genre: Science Fiction