Thursday, May 18, 2017
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
I hold books with prize stickers on their covers in particularly high regard and it's ever so nice when they actually feel like they deserve them. This book has a lot that deserves merit and I'm super glad to have been able to find it and get to it at last. I just can't wait to talk about this thing so let me get started.
Mankind has entered the Age of Immortality, where everyone is born with healing nanites, universal information is openly available to everyone via the Thunderhead (the "cloud" fully realized), governments and religions are things of the past and nobody, ever, dies. That last bit is where the Scythes come in. Men and women trained in the art of killing are the only ones who can deal out death to whomever they chose, and when they kill you, you're dead for good. When Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch are chosen by a Scythe to become his apprentices and become Scythes themselves, neither of them wants the job. But they are soon swept up in the politics and delicate balance within the Scythedom and pitted against each other in a dangerous game that could spell doom for one or both of them.
Okay, there's one thing about this book that I just adore. Everybody, and I mean everybody, is a freaking genius! Everybody is just so gosh darn smart and I just love it. While still playing by absurd rules and abiding by strict laws, everyone is able to manipulate situations to suite them perfectly. You don't see this kind of intelligence in young adult books and I just love it! Everyone is competent, everyone is sharp, heck even the villain of the book was a friggin' mastermind. There was a point in the book where I had to look at the guy and say, "Oh, man, that's absolutely awesome! It's terrible and stuff, sure, but you can't deny that is just an amazing move!" The sheer brilliance displayed by the characters in this book alone is worth the read.
Speaking of the characters, let's talk about them for a minute. I was a bit worried when I was reading about Citra to start off with. She's quickly described as having a hot temper and prone to snapping back when there's something she doesn't like. I feared that this would make her one of those hot-headed, stomp-your-foot-when-you-don't-get-your-way, protagonists that you tend to see in young adult books. Thankfully, however, I was incorrect. While Citra never really loses her spirit and does have a well-place snappy retort for most situations, her journey through the book helps her find her center. She learns to find inner peace and calm and a respect for life. Rowan's journey is something of the yin to Citra's yang. Starting off as an obedient, mild-mannered kid with a serious case of middle child syndrome, Rowan is put through the wringer throughout this book. It's about him finding his passion and purpose in his life. He finds his fire and she finds her cool and the two stories just compliment each other so well, it's really great.
The plot of the story certainly keeps things interesting. Throughout the coarse of the book, a ton of stuff goes on, yet it never feels like too much. While it follows several plot lines, it never feels wasted or out of place. Everything is at a good pace and the events are gripping and get you sucked in. It's, again, a sign of just how smart the characters are and how smartly the book is written. Everything just fits together in this vast puzzle of "that was so cool!" Going back the the villain of the book, I was so very happy to see him in this book and his part. Finally a villain with a complex ideology, and while we don't know his backstory, we don't really need to. He's fascinating without needing a sympathetic backstory! I don't feel sorry for this guy, but I loved him nevertheless. Villains don't need a sob story, contrary to what so many people believe these days, nor to they need to be one-dimensional to be enjoyable. He's an example of good intentions gone array and a very possible outcome in a world so complicated as this. His motivations make sense, even if they're terrible, and you can understand where he's coming from. It's all just handled with such care and it all comes together in, not one, but three tense climaxes that made me wish I had a microphone to give this book the mic drop it deserves.
What else can I say? I loved this book. The characters? Awesome. The writing? Awesome. The plot? Awesome! It was a great and insightful read, full of suspense and excitement, heartbreak and nail-biting tension. Therefore it should come as no surprise that I'm putting this book straight onto the Shelf of Recommendation!
Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts? Have a book you want me to review or would like to recommend a book to see here? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer
Next time: This guy's no Tom Hiddleston....