Book Review: Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Posted On August 4, 2018
The second and, in my opinion, best book I read during the Bibliothon was Scythe by Neal Shusterman. I have a lot to say about this book, so let’s get into it.
This book is set in the far future, when humanity has eliminated all suffering. There is no war, hunger, poverty, sickness, or even death. The only way a person can die is if someone ordained to do so, called a scythe, kills them, as an attempt to control the population. Our two main characters, Citra and Rowan, become apprentices to a scythe, a role neither of them wants. In their training, they learn about the inner workings of the scythedom, about the schemes and plots, and that even in a seemingly perfect world there are imperfections.
Okay, this might be kind of a jumbled mess because I have a lot of thoughts about this book, but I’m going to try to make it somewhat coherent (yay for editing).
First of all, this book is very dark, which I liked. We’re mainly following characters whose literal job is to kill people, and we see very clearly how difficult that is. The book spends a lot of time talking about death, and about morality. In this world, the scythes are supposed to operate off the highest moral code. They should be unbiased and fair because in this world, they are quite literally judge, jury, and executioner. They are allowed to pick whom to kill, so long as they continue to be unbiased in their choices.
It also talks about the negative consequences of immortality and an ostensibly perfect world, which I thought was super interesting. Today, we tend to think of immortality as something amazing, because life is short and we all wish we could have more time. But once you actually get more time, nothing is as urgent anymore. You have all the time in the world to do things, so why bother doing it now?
Plus, in this world, nobody really has anything to strive for anymore. Every problem you can think of has been solved—disease, inequality, hunger, mental problems. Even comparatively small things like vision problems have been solved. No one in the world is blind, or even has to wear glasses, which, as someone who has worn glasses since second grade, is a strange concept to wrap my head around.
Basically, this was a book that made me think. It also made me have existential crises a couple of times, which wasn’t much fun. Still, I absolutely loved it.
I loved the politics of the scythedom. I loved learning about this world that seems so much like our own but is so completely different. I especially loved the parts where the characters talked or thought about the Age of Mortality (that’s what they call the time we live in now), because they have such different views on life and the world than we do and it was super interesting to read about.
I loved the characters, especially Citra. She’s such a strong-willed person. She knows what she wants and she goes for it, which I really appreciate. I also loved how much the two main characters’ cared about each other.
I did have a couple of small problems with the book, but they were so minor that, to me, it didn’t detract from my feelings toward the story, which is why I still give it five stars. Overall, it’s a really cool story set in a really cool world with really cool characters, and I think if you haven’t read it, you absolutely should.
That’s my review for Scythe by Neal Shusterman! I really enjoyed this book and the second book already came out a while ago, so I’m hoping to go pick it up as soon as possible.
Thanks for reading! I’ll see you next time!