TO LIVE UNTIL SOMEONE DECIDES IT’S YOUR TIME TO GO ~ Scythe by Neal Shusterman [and Thunderhead]


Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)TITLE: Scythe
AUTHOR: Neal Shusterman

RELEASED: November 22, 2016
PUBLISHER: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
FORMAT: Paperback

GENRE: YA Science Fiction

TRIGGERS: Murder, suicide

In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes’ apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser.

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July was all about science fiction, a genre I don’t necessarily read often since my preference is – and maybe always will be – fantasy and contemporary. But that doesn’t mean I won’t dip my toes in other genres once in a while! And since the boyfriend was basically harrassing me to read Scythe, I put it on my July TBR so here we are. Time to review this book – and mention the sequel I read by now as well.

The good

The thing that grabbed my attention when deciding to buy this book was, easily, the concept of people being able to live until a scythe kills – or, using the terms of the book, gleans – them. It’s a weird thought, being able to live until that happens, but an intriguing one anyway.
The whole idea was executed absolutely perfectly. The world-building didn’t leave any room for questions since Shusterman succeeded at answering every single one you could possibly have. That’s a skill not many others are able to master so clap your hands! He deserves the applause!

The formatting wasn’t really unique. A weird thing to mention, unless you know my main knowledge of science fiction novels consists of The Illuminae Files. You could say science fiction in general has a lot to live up to since I absolutely loved those books. It made me wary of reading more since.. those are unique. Did it matter reading Scythe? Not at all!
The switching of POV’s between our main characters – Rowan and Citra – with sometimes the addition of another person’s POV made it easy to read and gave tons of information, background and details I didn’t expect to get. The addition of journal entries written by other scythes added even more to that. I honestly loved reading those since it gave insight in side characters you otherwise wouldn’t have gotten.

Hope in the shadow of fear is the world’s most powerful motivator.

I preferred Citra’s POV. That mainly has to do with Rowan’s feeling detached since he closes himself off from a lot of things when she doesn’t do that at all. It didn’t make reading his POV any less fun, though, since I think it’s a hard thing to do – write a character that detached on purpose. It can’t have been easy but Shusterman did it beautifully. It definitely added to Rowan’s depth of character as well so another win on that front.

The pacing of the story was superb as well. I kept reading and reading because things kept happening. There were times I didn’t even notice how much I had read until I put the book down for a break. I was that lost in the story and don’t we all love it when that happens?

“Rightmindedness is overrated,” Goddard said. “I’d rather have a mind that’s clear than one that’s right.”

A small mention about Thunderhead, since I read the sequel by now: I loved all the POV’s! There are new POV’s added; I won’t mention which ones because of spoilers but I enjoyed them a lot. The ending of Thunderhead though.. Like.. I’m glad I only read this books now since the release date of The Toll isn’t that far off anymore, haha.

I can’t say these two books are new favorites, but they’re definitely at the top of science fiction I’ve read so far! Definitely recommend if you’re interested in the idea of living forever, only dying when someone else decides it’s your time to go. Not to mention being inside the mind of someone training to execute those deaths / gleanings.

Have you read this book / these books? What did you think?
Do you read a lot of science fiction? What’s your favorite one?
How would you feel should you be able to live until someone else decides it’s time for you to die?



12 thoughts on “TO LIVE UNTIL SOMEONE DECIDES IT’S YOUR TIME TO GO ~ Scythe by Neal Shusterman [and Thunderhead]

    1. Yuuup! My boyfriend read the books before I did (and then annoyed me for months on end to read them), but he actually had the nerve to throw Thunderhead across the room due to that cliffhanger. xD I was MAD. Until I read the thing myself and had the same urge.. xD

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review, Kathy! I haven’t read Scythe yet, but it’s definitely something I want to get to as a self-proclaimed fan of sci-fi 😅. My only hesitation though is that I’ve started and put down a couple Neal Shusterman books in the past and really don’t like DNFing books. I’m glad that you enjoyed the story because it really does sound like an interesting concept! As for your last question at the end there, I think I’d be pretty pissed if I was perfectly healthy and someone decided it was time for me to die hahaha.


    1. Thank you!
      Ooh, why did you DNF the other ones? I haven’t read anything by Shusterman except for Scythe and Thunderhead, so I don’t even know about his other books (yet). I’m not ready to look it up either. I need The Toll first, haha.
      Haha, right?! Although I can imagine if you’ve lived over 150 – 200 years, you can be at a point where you’re “Yeaah, kill me PLEASE”? Idk. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Okay, so I was searching on Goodreads to find the names of the books I DNF but I think I confused Neal Shusterman with another sci-fi author 😅. Hahaha I guess I have no hesitations picking Scythe up then! Also, I can totally imagine getting to an age where you’ve lived long enough to not care anymore hahaha


    3. Now I’m wondering which author you struggle with though!
      Exactly! Like.. In a way I can imagine needing decades and decades to get tired of living, but.. imagine all the things you could DO without the fear of dying. All the places you could see. [All the books you could read?! 😛 ]

      Liked by 1 person

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