Author: Neal Schusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #3
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Overview: Thou shalt kill. A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own. -Goodreads
Scythe was even better than I’d hoped it would be!
This book was the perfect break between all the other heavy grimdark fantasy books I’ve been reading lately. I described it as a “light” read to my friend who then picked it up and had to make sure she was reading the right book because you usually wouldn’t describe a book about reaping death as “light.” But it’s clear it was written with a YA audience in mind – the deaths are all conveyed without any gory details and it does it’s best to not scare the youth lol. Even watered down, I found the concept super interesting. It fascinated me to read about the different approaches each reaper had when they’re making their “gleaning” selections. Each one taps into their own moral and ethical radars to make sure they’re executing their job (pun) in a way that still allows them to sleep at night. It included an extra layer by also addressing how the corrupt few may try to cheat the system. Overall, I like where it’s developing and have already snagged the second book.
If Scythe had one glaring weakness it would be character development. You always got a good sense of what the characters were going through, enough to empathize with them, but they were always one step removed from any real depth. I think that’s partly due to the writing style. The perspective kept drifting into omniscient from third person, which basically looks like an all-knowing entity conveying the thoughts of the characters rather than it coming from the characters themselves. The lack of depth didn’t bother me too much though (it’s more of an analytical objection) because I liked the flow of the story, the unique voice of the narration (you really don’t see omniscient very often ::note:: unless there were a TON of page breaks to indicate a POV change (I did audio version)… In that case it wasn’t omniscient lol), and the overall concept of the book.
Recommendations: this is a perfect recommendation for fans of V.E. Schwab and Brandon Sanderson’s YA series. You won’t get a ton of character depth, but you will get a cool concept, an easy-flowing story, and maybe even some food for thought.
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