by Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Published 2016 by Simon & Schuster
435 pages. Hardcover
Genres: Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Reading Challenges: 2018 Library Love Challenge
Neal Shusterman pens a nearly perfect action-packed scifi novel.
When Citra and Rowan cross paths with Scyteh Faraday, their lives are shaken up. Scythe Faraday asks them to be his apprentices and train to be a Scythe, one charged with controlling the population by selecting random humans to die and who must carry out those deaths. They grudgingly go, understanding the importance of Scythes in a future where everyone is immortal. But the political landscape of the Scythedom is beginning to change and the more they learn, the more they begin to see the more horrifying sides of humanity
I probably wouldn’t have picked this up if it had not won an award, been on the possible selection list for our summer reading program, or been recommended to me by so many people. Librarian friends and students read and raved about this book. I can certainly see the appeal in many respects. It’s full of action, intrigue, and a great vocabulary. I thought Rowan had a particularly nice character arc. The twists were satisfying, even if Shusterman made them easy to guess. The world-building is nearly perfectly weaved throughout the narrative. I found it to be a very quick read even though it was over 400 pages (usually the death sentence of a book in any reluctant reader’s eyes). There was also no profanity, at all. That’s nearly impossible to come by in YA. I do have two issues that are the only reasons I’m not giving the book five stars. There were small grammatical errors throughout that should have been caught by someone before the book went to print. Normally, this won’t bother me but it was a consistent issue. I also found some of the language used to describe a couple of the characters to be fat-phobic and unnecessary. I wish these two things had been taken care of in editing because otherwise it is a fantastic book.
I feel comfortable recommending this to anyone with an interest in books with a lot of action and science fiction readers, though I think almost any reader would find it entertaining.
Award Winner! Scythe won the following honors: Michael L. Printz Honor (2017), Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten Selection (2017), Awesome Audiobooks for Young Adults Top Ten Selection (2018)