Scythe was cutting edge!

scytheWell, start with an amazing concept, add some awesome characters and an intriguing plot, and you’ll have yourself an interesting read. Scythe certainly ticked a lot of boxes for me. What was truly remarkable about it was how unique the premise felt: in a world where no one can die, the unpleasant job of population control falls to the Scythes.

I feel like this is one of those rare books where the world building lends itself directly to the premise- and boy was that aspect well done. Everything felt so well thought out, from the fact that the years are named after animals (I was happy to see the Year of the Ocelot in one diary entry!), the euphemism “gleaning” for killing was a sharp idea and the fact that a group of scythes was called an elegy (like a murder of crows, an unkindness of ravens etc- get it? Anyway, I thought it was cool). I also really liked the way the Commandments for Scythes were worked out, starting with Thou Shalt Kill.

It was also cool how the book turns its blade on our own society, indicting the fact that no one reads, they just watching cat holograms (or in our case videos). And of course there was a great deal of logic to the idea that immortality would make humanity inhuman. I did like a lot of the philosophy overall. There were a few things that I thought were more questionable, such as the fact that if the Thunderhead is basically a God, and is entirely good, is this an argument for a benevolent dictator? That sort of idea makes my rebellious spirit squirm- but I guess for an answer to that, I’ll have to wait for the next book.

The characterisation was effective and done quickly. I found Citra had more hard edges, but I softened to her as the story went on. Rowan appealed to me more, especially his cleverness, and I found myself empathising with him more as he got deeper and deeper into trouble (no spoilers). The other characters were quite interesting- but the one that struck me the most was Goddard- who made an excellent villain.

I did spend a lot of time wondering where on earth the plot was going- but that’s not a bad thing, because I really didn’t see a lot of it coming. I did think that some ideas were presented and then taken away too quickly, which meant the pacing could be all over the place. And that was one of the main sticking points I had with this novel. And then of course there was the unavoidable issue with the whole premise: sometimes it feels like the stakes are very low because everyone is basically immortal. It’s a bit of a catch 22- because I really do like the concept- but I can’t deny the issue I had with it. This was offset a little by highlight for spoiler having the threat of their having to glean each other hanging over them- but for some reason I never quite felt like they were fighting to the death.

Overall though, I thought it was a great book:

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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So have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

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82 thoughts on “Scythe was cutting edge!

  1. Nancy says:

    I really liked Scythe but the sequel Thunderhead wasn’t as strong. I am hoping the author keeps it to a three book series, because if so I will finish it, but add more books and I’ll lose interest.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    Great review for this book, and I’m glad you enjoyed it as well. I’ve recently read Scythe myself and actually loved it. It was the first book by Neal Shusterman I picked up but it definitely won’t be the last.
    I do agree with what you said in the spoiler section though thinking about it. When Rowan and Citra were training under their different Scythe mentors is never felt like a massive competition hanging over their head. It just seemed to highlight the difference between the old way and the new way.
    Do you plan to pick up Thunderhead soon, I actually enjoyed it even more than Scythe so I’ll be interested to see what you think of it.
    Again great review. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pajamapopcorn says:

    This is one of my favorite series in recent years! Also, see the Unwind dystology as another magnificent Shusterman find. 🙂 Loved Scythe and all the questions it raised about morality and such. If you liked Scythe, I’m sure you will really like Thunderhead, as it just gets more intense and the ending is, well, let’s just say it’s worth it. 🙂 Can’t wait for number 3 coming soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Oh me too!! 😀 So glad you agree! Ah I’ve already read it- but I still haven’t touched Toy Makers on my kindle- I’m still upto it if you are? (I’m sorry for being so slow about everything- I forgot about it with everything this year!) ❤

      Like

  4. Jheelam says:

    The cover looks awesome. For some reasons, it reminds me of “The Handmaid’s Tale”. May be all that red did the trick. Enjoyed reading your review. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. katsobservations says:

    This really reminds me of a series that Neal Shusterman wrote, the Unwind series. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, but it also deals with the concept of death and is also a metaphorical criticism of today’s society.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Norrie says:

    I can’t believe i still haven’t read this. I mean, what am I waiting for?! This is awesome!!
    Altered carbon also had this theme with the inhumane immortals, and i find it fascinating 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lucindablogs says:

    You and your terrible puns 😝 this book kept popping up as a recommendation for me a while ago but for some reason I passed over it. Maybe it’s worth revisiting? Ps my favourite collective noun is a dazzle of zebras. You’re welcome 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Winged Cynic says:

    I’m really torn on whether to read this book or not because on the other hand, I’ve seen bloggers give it a 1-star rating for the stuff you mentioned (the pacing, the shallow exploration of concepts), but then one of my favorite bloggers mentioned how she’s obsessed with it. 😂 I feel like you did a great job outlining what you did or didn’t like about this, so fantastic review!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Angelica (TheBookCoverGirl) says:

    I’m so glad you liked this one! !I keep telling myself that I’ll read it and I never pick it up! I haven’t heard a single bad thing about this book! The only thing I have heard said is that others haven’t quite liked the pacing as much as much, but like you, they have really enjoyed the charcters. I tend to focus more on character anyway so I’m hoping I like it!

    Liked by 1 person

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