Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: S&S Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.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 is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.
Scythe is the first installment in author Neal Shusterman's Arc of a Scythe series. In a conflict-free world where humans have not only conquered death, but there's no hunger issues thanks to the evolution of the cloud into Thunderhead, two teens (Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch) find themselves volunteered as apprentice-Scythes by Honorable Scythe Faraday of the MidMerica section of the country. It will soon become a competition of sorts between the two with the winner becoming a Junior Scythe, while the loser ends up going back to their own lives.
Citra and Rowan's apprenticeship becomes much, much more challenging after certain villainous egg heads decide that instead of the loser between Citra and Rowan walking away, the winner must instead kill the loser. Things get even more strange when their mentor suddenly disappears and is thought to have killed himself. Citra and Rowan find themselves separated and with new mentors; Citra, with the woman they call Scythe Curie, and Rowan with the man who is known for massacring entire groups of people, Scythe Goddard.
In this world, murder and other hideous crimes are no longer a problem or an issue thanks to Thunderhead. In this world, people have nanites in their blood that heal them and mask pain and, if they do die, they can be revived quickly and painlessly. But, there is still the worry about over-population, which is true about our current state of global affairs. A group known as Scythedom aka Scythe's, became the only ones who are legally allowed to kill anyone. Only deaths doled out by a Scythe are truly irreversible.
Scythes are respected and revered, are given anything they want for free, and live outside the laws that govern others. Some like Goddard live the life of rock stars, while others like Curie and Faraday live with a smaller footprint. Scythes’ families are immune from gleaning for the lifespan of the Scythe, and the only way for a Scythe to die is by gleaning themselves. Scythe's even created their own variation of the Ten Commandments including, but not limited to, Thou Shalt Kill, and Thou Shalt Kill Without Bias.
Each Scythe has quotas that they must fill, but they must not kill too many of a particular population. Because of rules against fraternization, Citra and Rowan's romance was devoid of any exploration except for a brief kiss here and a I love you later in the story. In between reading about Citra and Rowan, there are glimpses into the lives of Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie who were far more interesting characters than Rowan because of their journal entries which all Scythe's are supposed to keep.
Having waited so long to read this book, I'm hoping my local library has or will submit a purchase suggestion so that I can read what happens next. The ending of this book is by far the most entertaining and of course, the most curious since so much happens to both Citra and Rowan that it's hard to walk away without knowing what paths they will eventually take.