Book review – Scythe (Spoiler Free)

“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.”

  • Title: Scythe
  • Author: Neal Shusterman
  • Genre: YA sci-fi
  • Pages: 435 pages
  • Publication date: November 22, 2016

666666666666666666666666666666666666666666663333333333333333333333333333+++++++++++++ — My dog leaning on my laptop

Reading Scythe has been a long time coming because I’ve been wanting to read it since 2016. Yet I’ve never gotten my hands on a copy until 2023. Partly because—surprise—I almost never buy my own books. Haven’t been since…2023, late 2022. Partly because I currently have over 350 books in my to-read pile. I can’t keep up.

Scythe takes place in a world where humans have reached immortality. They can even reset their clocks and live their younger years again. Scythes are the only ones who can end lives anymore. They live to a code, gleaning (the new word for killing) a certain number of lives a year to keep population control.

Scythe Faraday has taken in two apprentices instead of one—which is unheard of. Neither Citra nor Rowan want to be a scythe, but not wanting the job is part of the job. However, there is a rift in the scythe community that pairs the two against each other. Only one will become a scythe. And both want the other one to have it.

This book has a fascinating world with the concept of humans conquering death. No more diseases. No more wars. It’s not too many generations away from where we are now, but already their world has changed so much. The worldbuilding paints a clear picture of a distant yet near world that’s all under one community.

The characters throughout this book are good too. I like the different ways Citra and Rowan grow as humans with what’s thrown at them. Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie stood out the most though. Each of the scythes are memorable in how they approach their job and their morals in a different way. And they each seem to have something on the other, using information in a way to gain.

My main critique was how Citra and Rowan fought for each other in what the words said a romantic way but in what the story said a platonic way. It was like the words—mostly not from them—wanted to point toward a mountain while they were in a forest. It didn’t seem as put together.

Overall, I’d recommend this story, and I’m interested to see what happens next in this world.

Score: 8.5
Average rating on Goodreads: 4.33/5

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