Book Review: Gleanings by Neal Schusterman

Title: Gleanings

Author: Neal Schusterman

Series: Arc of the Scythe #3.5

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Overview: There are still countless tales of the Scythedom to tell. Centuries passed between the Thunderhead cradling humanity and Scythe Goddard trying to turn it upside down. For years humans lived in a world without hunger, disease, or death with Scythes as the living instruments of population control. Neal Shusterman—along with collaborators David Yoon, Jarrod Shusterman, Sofía Lapuente, Michael H. Payne, Michelle Knowlden, and Joelle Shusterman—returns to the world throughout the timeline of the Arc of a Scythe series. Discover secrets and histories of characters you’ve followed for three volumes and meet new heroes, new foes, and some figures in between. -Goodreads

The Review:

As someone who generally doesn’t care for short stories (they don’t usually provide me enough time to get invested), I liked Gleanings a lot more than I thought I would.

To boot, it was nothing like I expected. I figured we’d get some familiar perspectives in a timeline shortly after climax events in the Toll. Not the case. Instead it was a collection of individual gleaning stories (hence the title) with a compelling array of circumstances that evoked good food for thought throughout. I was honestly expecting to be bored during the book, forcing myself to finish it for the sake of completionism. But instead I found it compulsively listenable and only struggled with one of the stories. I like it when books make me think, and the exploration of morality in this creative world remains my favorite aspect of the series.

There were one or two backstory segments for familiar characters that I quite enjoyed. Since a few of them took place before the Scythes’ had chosen their new names (which is how I remember them from the trilogy), it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out who’s story I was reading. The payoff when I DID realize what was going on was particularly satisfying in part because of that delay/build-up though. Sometimes being an idiot works in my favor.

Recommendations: if you liked the concept of the Arc of the Scythe and want more interesting segments dealing with the morality of the Scythedom, this is a great collection. If you want more closure from series-ending events in the Toll, this will not fit the bill. Overall I found it a great supplemental read.

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by Niki Hawkes

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