Scythe by Neal Shusterman

In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.


Song For This Book: Gravity by Sara Bareilles
Why? Citra and Rowen are both drawn to each other, and to the profession, like the way the singer describes in this song.


I received a copy of this book from Simon and Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review.

I was really excited when this book arrived in my mail box, and it definitely lived up to what I had hoped. I’ve been a bit tired of dystopian of late, because of how many exist now, but Shusterman has a way to taking dystopian and twisting it around to make something completely different. And he does not disappoint when it comes to Scythe. It’s the dystopian world you’ve been craving, mixed in with Shusterman’s unique style of writing books.

This book follows two regular teenagers in a world where death and disease has been eradicated to the point that people need to be employed as ‘scythes’, who are responsible for killing – called gleaning – people at random to keep the population stable. Rowen and Citra are taken on as apprentices to be scythes themselves, only to find themselves wrapped up in a corrupt world and facing a deadly competition.

This book will hook you in, and leave you racing to the last page to find out what happens at the end. In Shusterman’s typical style, he gives you the creepy crawlies and makes you think the whole time you read, leaving you just the slightest bit unsettled each time you set the book down. There are lots of things in this book that will challenge or morals and ideals, in the best way possible.

The Good Points of Scythe:

The plot twists in the book are amazing. Just when you think you’ve got it sorted, something else gets thrown in there from the left field, leaving you confused and desperate to know more. You won’t be bored with this book, I promise.

Shusterman’s got his own style for writing, and it works so well with this story. You feel the slightest bit unsettled, and it’s perfect for this book.

This could have been one of those books where the two main characters fall in love and the whole scythe business falls to the wayside. Shusterman doesn’t leave out the love stories in this book, but they are kept very much minor plot lines, and great motivators for the characters. If all YA romance subplots were written this way, the whole genre would be so much better.

Let’s be honest, the subject of killing people, even when it benefits society, is one that doesn’t settle well for humans who fear their own mortality. It’s a pretty delicate topic, especially since the idea of technology running society isn’t as farfetched as it might have once been. But it is handled so well in this book that it almost puts you at ease with the whole idea.

The ending is absolutely brilliant. I will say no more, but I loved it.

The Downsides of Scythe:

I always enjoy Shusterman’s books, but I never get into them the same as I do other books. The point of view in Scythe and the way it’s written makes it hard to get really lost in the story. You still enjoy it, but you don’t connect with it nearly as much.

Some things came out of left field and left me looking back to see if I missed something. There are a lot of quick plot twists in this book, but some could have used a little lead up, because it almost seems like a last minute idea.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, and I definitely plan to reread it in the future. It’s a fun story about a serious topic, and will give you whiplash with the plot twists. If you enjoy a good story that is hard to predict, you’re going to absolutely love this one.

Scythe hits the shelves tomorrow, November 22nd! Be sure to check it out!

4 thoughts on “Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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