eBook - 2016
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Two teens are forced to murder—maybe each other—in the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ("gleaned") by professional reapers ("scythes"). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe's apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do. Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe's apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice's first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], 2016.
ISBN: 9781442472440
Characteristics: 1 online resource.


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2018-2019 Gateway Readers Award Nominee

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JCLShannonG Dec 04, 2018

I couldn't put this one down. It was a tough read because of the psychological toll it takes on the reader, but it was so captivating.

Did anyone else notice that on the cover the space between the scythe blade and the robe is the shape of a face?

JCLJoshN Oct 24, 2018

This was not an easy book for me to get through, much like The Hunger Games wasn't easy for me. Not just because there's A LOT of killing in the story, but because of the psychological toll it takes on the characters. Still, I stuck with it and can't wait to read the second book. The characters are great, the plot twists are jawdropping, the prose is stark and beautiful, and it's a fascinating picture of a utopian future where people can't and don't die. How do you manage population control? And how does a life free of disease, lasting injury, and death affect a person's mind? I have a feeling this book will haunt me.

Oct 03, 2018

YA Dystopians are never meant to give you warm fuzzies and this one is true to form. I am actually pretty squeamish in real life but I found myself really normalizing the gleaning along with the main characters. The Thunderhead is the cloud that control human existence and makes the world "a better place" and I feel like I can see why people would choose to let it. Neal Shusterman has a way of taking real worlds technologies and extrapolating them out to their terrifying conclusions.

Oct 03, 2018

This book was amazing! Kept me intrigued the entire time. I couldn’t help but read page after page. I will say that this book has definitely spoiled me. I’ve tried to read similar books but have yet to find one that checks every box quite like this one. I am hoping that Thunderhead will be no different. Great read, highly reccomend.

Jul 26, 2018

Shusterman does a great job telling a story! I really enjoyed his writing and getting to know Citra and Rowan.

Jun 20, 2018

If there’s one thing I’d recommend, it’s to not read this book. Once you do, you’ll never be able to read another dystopian novel without comparing it to this one; and nothing will ever exceed the expectations that have been set. All things aside, Scythe was amazing. This book will have you questioning the values of morality and mortality. Shusterman’s writing has amazed me, with the thought provoking gleaning journals that were the highlight of every chapter, and the plot twists that will shake you. In this dystopian world, immortality has been gained. To control the population, scythes are trained to kill, and once the scythe comes for you, there’s nothing between you and death. Citra and Rowan are both taken as apprentices to Scythe Faraday, who picks them in hopes they will glean with compassion, as he does. But the new order scythes are approaching a different way of gleaning; and this apprenticeship will change Citra and Rowan in more ways than one. Everything about this book leaves me speechless, and the concept of the Thunderhead is mildly insane but 100% intriguing. Keep the next book handy, though! Rating 5/5 @jewelreader of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

I picked up this book, read a few chapters, and then accidentally returned it with the others before I could finish. Those few days of waiting to pick it up again were brutal. But I did finish it, and I have some things to say. Positive: I really liked how the plot picked up from the middle and arced nicely. The ending was phenomenal!! However, one thing I would have liked to see written better is the relationship between the two protagonists. I dislike how there wasn't any dialogue in the first bit but suddenly, the two are infatuated with one another. Kind of a problem I noticed with a lot of male authors, but maybe its the books I read... Still worth investing time in though! @Siri of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

claralex800 May 23, 2018

Other people (with three-star ratings) have already gone pretty deep into what I would have to say about this book (about the typos, there was a comma in the middle of a word in the copy I read) so I'll just summarize. It wasn't amazing, but I couldn't stop reading.
The other Neal Shusterman books I've read (the first two Unwind books) made me feel sick and angry. "Scythe" mostly made me feel sick, though it was also pretty funny (which is a weird combination, I know). The background characters, and the main characters sometimes, were ignorant and sycophantic, which accounts for the "sick" part. The funny came from some of the lines, especially one from Rowan's journal.
Several of the plot twists were predictable, and the head-hopping within a chapter was pretty annoying. There were plot holes that were filled in later (like dying by fire) and some that weren't (like why people are okay with being controlled by little robots in their blood--okay, maybe that isn't a plot hole, but you'd think that someone would have rebelled by now). Despite this, I wanted to know what happened, so I read to the end. And I will be reading "Thunderhead".

May 17, 2018

I don't even know what to begin with. There's simultaneously too little and too much to say. I don't know if I'm disappointed or pleasantly surprised. I think I'm both, somehow.
I'm sure that not all copies are this way, that some proofreader realized the horrible mistake that had been made and fixed it, but my copy was littered with typos, incomplete sentences, and improper punctuation. It begs the question, especially considering the glaring worldbuilding inconsistencies and plot holes: was this book proofread at all before publication?
The first half of the book was so insanely boring and slow. So much could have been done in it, like clarifying the world or building the characters (like actually giving them any physical descriptions, for one thing), but instead it was used to force a completely unnecessary cringey love story in which 16-year-olds acted like they were 11 or 12 around each other.
The themes of this book were in direct conflict with one another. At times, there appeared to be a level of grey morality and ambiguity which I appreciated, because it opened the door for greater discussion about what constitutes right and wrong, and whether morality is subjective—but then Shusterman introduced the Thunderhead as a morally correct entity incapable of making mistakes or errors, which implies black and white morality. So which is it, Neal? Which idea are you pushing? Which theme are you attempting to advocate? The effects of perfection, social stagnation, immortality, the potential for decadence and moral disregard for human life, and government-sanctioned ritual killing on human nature were barely explored, if at all.
I absolutely loved the journal entries, though! Those were great!
The world was very poorly built in my opinion. It wasn't until more than halfway that any clear understanding of what exactly the Thunderhead was was explained, and even then, I'm still confused.
Also, it wasn't ever made clear how far familial relations extend for Scythe immunity. Sometimes it was those living in the household, other times it was immediate relatives.
The governmental system, law enforcement, and the nature of the human condition were totally vague the entire book. People were all seemingly completely content in their lives with an AI at the helm of the whole world. There was a running joke of how there's no government, but obviously, there is, since every single society requires one.
The Tonists felt tropey, contrived, and frankly, offensive. Religions likely wouldn't just disappear in the advent of immortality, and I really doubt the one that emerged would be about sound, especially given the world Shusterman created. I can think of many possible religions, and yet none were used.
As a sci-fi, it was just poorly done. He threw out some fancy mumbo-jumbo and expected me to accept that this is a sciencey world? I could barely remember it was in the future until he reminded me with words like "chickenoid" and "Israebia".
Citrus: Citra was really annoying. When she wasn't being a brick, she was a hollow log. She was self-centred and petty.
Rowan Whitethorn: I actually really liked Rowan. It was basically solely his scenes that drove me to finish the book.
Obi Wan Kenobi: Good ole Scythe Faraday was somewhat of a wooden plank, but he was pleasant and I liked him.
The Dark Lord: Goddard was very tropey, and occasionally very interesting, but ultimately just tropey.
(I tried to think of more funny alternative names, but I couldn't come up with any)
Curie: Her physical description was literally just the leader of District 13 in the Mockingjay movie. She was interesting and I liked her.
Volta: I really liked Volta. He was very thought-provoking and I appreciated him.
Overall, I liked it enough, and I'll probably read the sequel, but I'm so disappointed in all the missed opportunities.

May 16, 2018

Truly, a very good book. Although it is written for an YA audience, older readers will enjoy it perhaps even more, as the names of the scythes are all interesting. Some inferences to the Age of Mortality may escape the younger readers. All of this is done without sacrificing the plot or the thoughtful questions the premise of the novel raise. Very well done, and I am looking forward to the next novel in the series. A sampling of reviews gives the second book even higher marks than the first one.


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Sep 26, 2018

burgundy_wren_15 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

May 17, 2018

mikeguylol thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

LoganLib_Kirra Feb 04, 2018

LoganLib_Kirra thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Apr 06, 2017

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Jan 22, 2017

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Sep 06, 2018

“Well, she could learn self control tomorrow. Today she wanted pizza.”

JCLChrisK Nov 30, 2017

No one rages against the system anymore. At most, they just glare at it a bit.

Apr 26, 2017

She wanted to believe she wasn’t capable of it. She desperately wanted to believe she wasn’t Scythe material. It was the first time in her life that she aspired to fail.


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Apr 26, 2017

It has been three hundred years since humanity turned the corner, leaving behind the Age of Mortality. With the arrival of infinite computing power, a benevolent AI known as the Thunderhead emerged to rule this new deathless society. But although accidental death is a thing of the past, humanity still lives on a single finite planet, and so population growth must be limited. This task was deemed to require a human conscience, not to be entrusted to a computer, and so the Scythedom was born. Citra and Rowan have been selected to apprentice to Scythe Faraday, a job that neither of them wants. But there is corruption at the heart of Scythedom, and the Thunderhead is powerless to intervene. Reform must come from within.


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