#tbt Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Oh my gosh, is anyone else very, very excited that it’s Thursday? Once we get through today, then it’s Friday and then it’s the weekend! I’d really like one of those, thanks.

Until then, this #tbt post features one of my absolute favorite books of 2017, Scythe. I really just want to gush about it since the second book in this series, Thunderhead, should be on my doorstep in a matter of hours.


Title: Scythe {435 pgs.}

Publication Date: November 22, 2016

Genre: YA Fantasy


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.


So, this book fell into my lap when one of my favorite authors, Maggie Stiefvater, tweeted about it. She can really do no wrong when suggesting new reads, so I jumped on Scythe. I’m so glad that I did.

Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch live in the kind of utopian society that most people believe they want: a community free of all diseases, wars, misery, anything that could make life difficult. You want to jump off a building? No worries, because this society has a cure for that. “The Thunderhead,” a combination of nanites and medical measures, takes care of all the people it silently lords over.

But this means the population runs free, ballooning into incredible numbers since death isn’t on the table anymore. That’s where the Scythes come in, people tasked with the huge assignment of killing certain people in order to keep the population in check. The Scythes are not mere killing machines, however: they follow a strict code of commandments, have a quota that they must fill each year, cannot have families, cannot own any possessions, and they cannot glean {kill} any other Scythe. That doesn’t mean that a Scythe can’t self-glean, though.

They also take on apprentices, like Scythe Faraday, a special sort of Scythe who does things his own way. He is kind and compassionate, a very different breed than the politically ruthless scythes that Citra and Rowan come into contact with throughout the story.

The two main narrators are beautifully written, meant to compliment each other even when they’re being forced to compete against one another. While Citra is an overachiever, the kind of girl who is constantly proving herself, Rowan is as compassionate as he is ignored by his own family. They both have their own reasons for wanting a job that neither of them signed up for, but the real reason for adoring these two is that neither of them are willing to bend their morals for the Scythedom. While there is an undercurrent of romance, Rowan and Citra are intent on becoming the best they can be, while changing the world that they’ve always known. They understand the bigger picture here, and the electricity between them isn’t going to stop them.

If we’re being honest here, the YA dystopian genre has gotten really…old. I felt like I’ve read so much of it that I was wishing myself into these dystopian societies so I could escape the story. But Scythe was different, and I can’t put my finger on why exactly. Each character had their own voice, and that voice was shaped by the society they had grown up in. I guess it all felt real, well, as real as something like this can feel. Citra and Rowan could be any kid that I went to school with, and their struggles, while on a larger scale than most, were relatable. Striving for perfection? Wanting to be noticed by someone, anyone?

Well, I think we all understand those things.

Like I said before, this was one of my favorite books of the last year. I look over at it on my bookshelf and get these butterflies in my tummy, the kind of book hangover that lasts for months. Let’s just say that I’m going to try not to attack the delivery person later today, but I make no promises.

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