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Ethics, Friendship, Social Justice, The Human Condition, YA-Dystopian, Young Adult Readers

SCYTHE by Neal Shusterman

I purchased Scythe on audible when it was published in 2017 and it has been on my TBR (To Be Read) list since then. I was intrigued by the premise and heard all the buzz about the series, but had so many other things going that–for whatever reason–did get around to reading it. I’m SO glad I finally made the time to listen to my audio edition!

The story of a year-long apprenticeship of two teenagers (Citra and Rowan) to Scythe Faraday, the story is set in the future when humanity has discovered immortality so death is no longer a foregone conclusion. The Scythdom was created to deal with the subsequent overpopulation issue that results from mass immortality.

The year of Citra’s and Rowan’s apprenticeship encompasses politics and deep ethical dilemmas as well as providing both teens with a ringside seat in the Scythdom where they must sort out their attitudes, values and beliefs surrounding the Scythes and the act of ‘gleaning’ other humans. What they each discover in themselves drives them each to different conclusions and subsequent journeys within the Scythdom.

The characters are engaging and the plot deals with supremely interesting themes and issues. The world-building is extraordinary. The plot zigged when I expected it to zag at least four times. In addition, even when I anticipated something that was going to happen, it was rarely in the manner I had expected. When I was 7 minutes away from the end of the 10.5 hour audio book I still didn’t know which way the story was going to go. I found this experience thrilling! I LOVED it!

I will mention a trigger warning–which is probably obvious given the title: Scythe deals with humans (Scythes) ‘gleaning’ (killing) human beings, often violently. In my opinion everything in the book is not just germane to, but necessary for the plot to succeed.


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