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Review: Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Title: Scythe
Author: Neal Shusterman
Year Published: 2016

Genre: YA fiction (dystopian)
Pages: 435
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)USA (mid-west)

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this from my school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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 mater the "art" of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own. Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.

Review: Neal Shusterman is the master at taking our current society and twisting or exaggerating part of it to create a chilling new world. I loved his Unwind series (Unwind, Unwholly, Unsouled, Undivided) and Scythe is just as good. I also read Bruiser, which was super good (and not dystopian at all).

I liked both of the teens chosen to apprentice Scythe Faraday (the scythes are all named after historical figures who are relevant to them). Rowan and Citra are both smart, tough, thoughtful, and caring. Oddly, these are traits the society wants in someone who will be killing the population. Unfortunately, Rowan ends up with a scary scythe who is definitely the dark side of gleaning. But Scythe Goddard is creepy and cruel, bringing out another side of our society.

The various scythes that we get to know are also important. They represent various aspects of society as well--they are thoughtful, compassionate, frightening, good teachers, greedy, and more. Shusterman has another very good book in Scythe and I look forward to seeing how it does as a movie.

Challenges for which this counts: none

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