Toll Chimes Out with a Terrific Ending

tollHello all devoted banaholics! Today, in what could very well be the last sermon review of the year, I’m gonna be sharing my thoughts on the last in this dystopic YA trilogy. Many of you might be familiar with the cutting-edge concept of Scythe and the resounding success of its sequel Thunderhead: humans have achieved immortality has been reached, so a select group of people are in charge of population control aka killing people off. Now it’s safe to say, the Toll was largely a booming triumph, but I can’t say this will entirely be a ringing endorsement, so maybe cover your ears if you’re not here for any negativity.

First of all, I found it a bit slow to get going. The opening felt largely like it was reminding the reader what had happened in the last book and setting up new characters, which was fine… I just felt like I was waiting for it to really get going.

However, once the story hit its stride, it was tense, gripping and the toll on our main characters was immense. Highlight for minor spoiler: I have to say I was really grateful when our heroes returned to the fold- the story just wasn’t the same without them! And the romance was one of the best things about this book! I just loved the way this series forged connections between characters.

The world was still one of the books strengths… though some parts were so far left of field they went a little off the deep end for me (alas, I’m not into new age zealotry, but whatever floats your boat I guess). That said, there were things I appreciated even more in this finally instalment. Especially the names of all the Scythes- from the more on the nose ones like Curie, to the clever twists on Goddard, but mostly the one I liked all the more was Rand after having read her work this year.

Now to get into more *spoilers*. There were a few other issues that left me pondering. While I think the Thunderhead had an interesting role as a god-like figure, as Krysta @Pages Unbound points out, presenting the AI in a questionable way, I still felt like it was too positive an outlook. Though the characters overcome their human overlords, this doesn’t exactly fulfil that typical dystopic YA trope of undoing all the authority. We’re still left with this benevolent dictator, which they fly off into the sunset/space with. I wasn’t quite decided on whether I liked this outcome- especially since I ended up questioning why the main villain was even still the main villain (I just didn’t feel like he had a strong enough motive other than “MWHAHAHA I WANT TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!”). Personally, I just think the Thunderhead could’ve taken over the role of villain in book two and been done with it.

Anyway, back to non-spoilery section, that was just my personal take. Despite all this, I found the book very compelling. The plot launched into some high stakes drama and really had lift off as we got into the last part of the book. Thus, I still recommend this series and give you these commands:

Thou shalt take my gripes with a grain of salt 😉

Thou shalt read this series

Thou shalt enjoy this series

Thou shalt find it hard to put these books down

Thou shalt continue to think about this series long after you have turned the last page

So sayeth the Great Ape 😉 Now I shall award it the honorific bananas:

Rating: 4/5 bananas


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

15 thoughts on “Toll Chimes Out with a Terrific Ending

  1. I loved this series. I just finished The Toll the other day and man, I really feel like it was so well done. I don’t think I quite agree with you about wishing Thunderhead was the main villain, in fact, I thought it was semi-refreshing to have the AI in a dystopian NOT be the enemy. I mean I guess it sort of was but, like, it wasn’t the worst one out there, you know? Either way, I think this series is going to be one I recommend over and over again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really agree with you! that’s fair- I think I’m half programmed by sci fi (and just in general more of a fan of freewill/freedom) to have ever completely got behind the idea of the thunderhead as ultimately good. But I do hear you- it’s a refreshing take. That makes sense! But yeah- I agree- I’d definitely recommend this!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A great review. I agree that it was a bit slow to start, and the ending did not go in the direction that I expected at all. I actually kind of like that Schusterman kept the Thunderhead as a benevolent being, it defied tropes in a nice way. I like that he didn’t focus on AI taking over the world, but rather how human nature will always be our own downfall

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember reading Shusterman saying that he wouldn’t call his work dystopian because he was creating an actual utopia. I thought it was unique to have the AI truly solve problems for humanity. But, alas, humans cause their own problems even in utopia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is such an interesting point- I didn’t know that! I did think that element was really unique… but I guess I’m also programmed by sci fi to find it creepy 😉 (actually I still think that version of a utopia is creepy- cos let’s just say I’m not a fan of freewill and freedom going out the window- which shows how easily convinced I’d have been by Milton’s Satan 😉 ) Anyhoo, it’s a really interesting concept, even if I’m not convinced that a utopia could exist (very deep and thought provoking though!)


  4. I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with
    the layout on your blog. Is thios a paid theme or did you
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  5. I didn’t read through the spoiler section, but I loved the rest of your review!! ❤ I'm glad that this was still a mostly satisfying conclusion to the series for you! I cannot wait to read it soon! I'm so happy to see that the romance was one of the best aspects of the book, and I'm excited to see how thrilling and high-stakes the novel is once I tackle it!


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