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I received this book for free from Publisher, Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

REVIEW: scythe, by neal shustermanScythe by Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Simon and Schuster on November 22nd, 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher, Simon and Schuster
Amazon // The Book Depository

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.


when i received this title in the mail – having known nothing about the story or read anything by the author – i wasn’t sure if i’d like it. i sworn off dystopian novels after reading one too many but this one sounded so interesting. so i decided to read the first page and i knew, right off the bat, i would love this novel.

i love everything about this book – the writing, the plot, the characters, everything. my love for this book came in quiet waves. i started off being really intrigued, but that soon became something more. the plot began to build (love all the twists and turns it all has – nothing i was expecting!) and soon enough i was flipping through pages and rooting for characters and screaming at situations. i also love how there was a romance in the story, but it was very slow-burn and wasn’t the main point of the storyline. it was so small that i almost thought there was no romance at all! but the chemistry builds and it becomes more obvious as the story progresses.

the main reason why i love this novel is due to its recurring themes. i find it hard to see meaning/a purpose in some dystopian novels aside from an entertaining story, but SCYTHE was different. when you’re forced to kill people as your job (or you’re learning to kill people), your humanity becomes questionable. when you live in a world where there is no pain and your life is immortal, you see how detached we can become. nothing is at risk. is that really a perfect world? it made me really think about what it means to be alive and what it means to be human. it made me question the meaning of life and death.

the one thing i will say is it was a bit hard to reaaaaaaally connect with characters at first because the book is written in an omniscient POV. the story would jump around from person to person, making it easy for me to stop reading and do something in my daily life. also because of this, i didn’t feel the need to continuously read. BUT, this is my first time reading a book with this type of writing and it didn’t bother me too much. the writing itself was beautiful and i often found myself wanting to annotate.

all in all, this book is amazing. i wasn’t expecting much from it and now it’s one of my favorite reads of 2016. not only is the story well thought out, but i also gained a lot of perspective on what it means to be alive. and that, i think, is something really special.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.6

Alexandra Ling

alexandra is a nineteen-year-old content creator and avid reader. when she’s not on the internet or hiding behind pages, you can find her training to be a professional ballet dancer. she finds writing about herself in third-person strange.

  • I’m so glad that you liked this one! I love Neal’s Unwind novel so I really want to check out more by him! Great review!

    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  • Oh I cannot wait to read this book! The synopsis is really promising and I’m glad to hear you liked it. The omniscient POV sounds interesting and I don’t think I’ve met with this kind of narration so I’ll see how I’ll like it. 🙂

  • I read it last month and LOVED IT! It’s so thought-provoking and deep and entertaining!

  • Ever since I watched the video of you talking about this book, I’ve been wanting to check it out myself. And after reading this review, I know for sure that I SHALL get this book! I love reads where the romance is put aside and not really focused on – and if they progress slowly, it’s a bonus (because I find that too many books have too-sudden romances and they just don’t cut it anymore!). Also, for it to impact you and have you thinking about issues of life and death – even more of a bonus.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!’
    With love, Iween | http://wendystrucked.wordpress.com

  • ohwow, I KNEW this would be amazing. This sounds like it’s similar to his Unwind dystology (which is my first and currently my fave book by Neal Shusterman). Thought-provoking books are ultimately a MUST READ for me. I really NEED to grab a copy soon!!

    czai @ the Blacksheep Reader

  • SCYTHE was actually my first ever novel from Neal Shusterman, and I was surprised by how much I wound up liking it! It did definitely take a while for the action to pick up and for me to truly become intrigued. But once it clicked, I was flipping pages as fast as I could! Such an interesting concept and very curious what will happen next.

  • I haven’t finished reading this book yet, and I was also skeptical because I’d read one too many bad dystopian novels last year, but I was really loving it! So glad you loved it too 😀 Fab review!

    Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles

  • I want to read this book so bad! I love Neal Shusterman. This was a great review, too! Thanks!

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook