A Utopian Paradox


Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)

By Neal Schusterman

Summary from Goodreads:

In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly scythe-coverkilled (“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.


Reviewed from an e-galley received from Edelweiss.

WOW! I finished this a couple of weeks ago and I am still digesting it and thinking about it. There is some powerful stuff in this book.  Neal has really turned the dystopian book on it’s collective head and created something totally new and amazing.

There is so much to say about this book, it is hard to know where to start. It starts out introducing us to two typical teens who live in a world where no ever dies, and I mean no one, not even by accident.  If you are hit by a car or fall off a cliff you are whisked away to a rejuvenation center where they heal you, even if you are dead. Old people can reset their biological clocks so that they can relive their lives as many times as they want.  Wow, not sure I would want to relive parts of my life, but who knows.  No one wants for anything in this world either.  The Thunderhead, aka the computer that controls the world, sees to that. So life is perfect, right? Not really. To make sure that the population is kept under control, the Thunderhead created the Scythes, a group of trained professional killers, who go out and kill people, who are then not revived. There are many rules and regulations that restrict the Scythes, but it is an exclusive club that is hard to get into.  Not all apprentices make it to become Scythes.

Through many twists and turns Citra and Rowan are eventually pitted against each other.  You come to respect both of them and the choices they make for themselves and each other.  Even though their training changes them in ways that even they could not foresee, you end up wanting both of them to win. Sprinkled throughout the story are excerpts from different Scythe’s journals, that sometimes are very insightful as to what is really going on is this Utopian Society.  There are some very graphic, horrific deaths that are committed but there are also some very tender and caring ones.

This is a first in a planned trilogy and I am very much looking forward to seeing how Citra and Rowan change the world.

The book will be out on November 22, 2016.


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