'Scythe' Slashes the Competition
Start writing a post

'Scythe' Slashes the Competition

Inside the working of the first book in the 'Arc of the Scythe' series

19
'Scythe' Slashes the Competition
Google

Imagine a world with no hunger, no crime, no disease, no government, and no aging: a real life utopia. Imagine a world where humans have conquered all that there is to conquer on Earth and no questions are left to be answered. This is the setting that one dives into when reading the book 'Scythe' by Neal Shusterman, and right off the bat that causes intrigue. When reading the book, you'll discover that people are able to 'turn a corner,' otherwise known as reverse aging; you can control what your appearance will be like for the rest of your years. Life is so different in this book - one, because it takes place in the distant future - that at one point you will read about a character who dips their finger into disease-ridden waters and then licks it, knowing that the diseases have absolute no effect on them, and they are gleeful about it. Futhermore, there is no death in here... well, not by natural causes anyway.

Here we get into the title of the book; you follow around those who are called scythes, and they act a bit like grim reapers, even though they are still humans. They have no magic ability; they are just trained in many of the different arts of killing so that there remains a balance between life and death. One scythe decides to take on two apprentices, and has them compete for the chance to become a scythe, and the story follows their journeys on this path.

From this point on, there may be some spoilers, so proceed with caution.

It was hard to find something about this book to critique; I found that Neal Shusterman wrote a very compelling first book in this series. He took this dramatic question - what would life be like if humans conquered death - and went to work on writing. Admittedly, I rolled my eyes a bit when Citra and Rowan were starting to have feelings for each other when they barely knew one another - and I don't really feel that they got all that close - but I can let it slide since if I'm putting myself in their positions, they are extremely secluded from their past lives, from family, friends, school, et cetera, so to have another person who is on this journey with you and knows exactly how you're feeling is important. I can accept that narrative. The ending scene itself is something I found ridiculous in a positive sense; I found myself laughing at how perfect Citra's plan ended up being. She got to punch Rowan in the face for breaking her neck but he 'accidentally' kissed her ring in order to gain immunity for a year, prolonging his life, and then he was able to make the getaway. It worked in the sense that I can't wait to read what happens in 'Thunderhead,' but at the same time, it worked out a little too perfectly, and it was silly. I also had an issue with the character of High Blade Xenocrates; he seemed like he was supposed to be a lot more important than he actually was; it's not too great a detail but for someone who goes by the moniker of 'High Blade,' I should expect a more presidential-esque sort of character, but he ended up being manipulated pretty easily. Last thing I wasn't a huge fan of was the fall of Goddard; he's supposed to be the main antagonist of the series and while he lives up to that hype, it felt like he died as if he were Darth Maul (and to be far, he kind of did). I understand why, and the rest of the book didn't suffer for it, but I wish he lasted longer. I'll give Shusterman props for trying something different.

On the positive side, there were so many ups to this book; the first is how quick of a read it was. It's 404 pages long, and the writing itself isn't too complicated; I zoomed through it in three days. Second, you switch perspectives between Rowan and Citra in a way that isn't nauseating; I've read books in the past where every few pages you switch from one character to another to another to another and it gets distracting, but having these two (and occasionally Goddard) is quite refreshing. You spend enough time with both of them to get the feel for their motives and how they psychologically develop into their new roles. They feel like different people, mainly because they are and they go down two different journeys; you almost wonder if you'll be able to trust Rowan by the end with how much he admits to enjoying Goddard's teachings. I wonder how the book would've turned out if Citra went with Goddard and if Rowan went with Curie; would the outcome have been the same, would Citra have been corrupted, would Goddard have lived? These characters, with how they developed, were strong-willed and stubborn, but they were likable; you could feel for them. A third positive for 'Scythe' is how it invokes questions in morals throughout the book. You encounter and get inside the minds of different scythes and how their life's work affects them; some cry at the prospect of killing and others are consumed by sport. You get the hunter perspective with Goddard, and while he is well within the rules (much to his chagrin), it raises the question, is what he doing ethical or is he taking advantage of the system? With Volta, he's conflicted by what his duty is to Goddard, and what he truly wants to do, and in the end he takes his own life because he can't live with the guilt. Faraday may seem poised and dutiful when he gleans, but he still cries whenever he has to. Even in this world where humans control death, we still struggle with the prospect of having to do such a thing, and it's a humbling pill to swallow.

I could go on and on with more about the positives of this book, but this will give you a taste of what's to come. The positives outweigh the negatives in this one, and if you find yourself needing a good book to read, I'd give 'Scythe' a chance.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

The decision-makers of Yale's law students have invested in therapy dog sessions in order to reduce stress. In 2011, Yale Law Library had a sign-out sheet for their certified library dog. The 30-minute sessions were equipped with unconditional, stress-busting puppy love.

Law Librarian Blair Kauffman stated that the free, three-day pilot pet therapy program at Yale Law Library launched as "a positive addition to current services offered by the library."

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

3 Couples From 'The Vampire Diaries' Who Deserved A Happy Ending More Than Damon And Elena

Unfortunately, not every couple got their happy endings on "The Vampire Diaries."

161

If you are just now tuning into "The Vampire Diaries," then beware of spoilers.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

I Just Spent $300 On The New Xbox For My Boyfriend, And It Was Worth Every Penny

Happiness is important, and sometimes money helps, not gonna lie.

43

As everyone probably already knows, the new Xbox Series went live for preorder yesterday, and while they cost a good chunk of change, I bought one for my boyfriend. This would normally not be something I would have the extra money for, and to be honest, probably wouldn't want to buy, but I still ordered it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

5 Couples Get Real About Canceling Their Dream Weddings Because Of COVID-19

"It definitely reinforced that as long as we have each other, we can make it through anything together."

2369
Courtesy of Georgia & Mike Bernstein

There isn't one person the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hasn't affected. While COVID-19 is risking everyone's physical health, it's also destroying the world's economy and personal finances, weakening mental health, wreaking havoc on education... and, well, the list goes on.

Among the many things being impacted is love.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

A Couple's Wedding In Peru Was Postponed By COVID-19, But A Lifetime Of Love Is Worth The Wait

"We'd prefer to wait and have the wedding that both of us have always thought of."

1557
Courtesy of Rory Semple

During their first semester at Instituto de Empresa (IE Business School) while working on graduate degrees in Madrid, Spain, soon-to-be-newlyweds Rory and Gigi met when they were placed in a workgroup together — and the rest was history. Now, four years after their relationship began, the couple's fall plans to get married in Perú, where Gigi is originally from, have since been postponed by COVID-19.

Though things haven't always been easy for the pair because of immigration, starting a skincare business together, and now, canceling their dream wedding because of the pandemic, they have always worked together as a team (maybe we should all be in a workgroup with our future spouses).

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

A Bumble Couple's Wedding Was Canceled By COVID-19, But Nothing Could Come Between This Perfect Match

"The whole purpose of all the stress and time and tears was that we love each other and that was all that mattered."

1606
Courtesy of Shanna and Kaihla

Shortly after Kaihla's sister made her a dating profile on Bumble (despite her fear of being catfished), she matched with Shanna, and their chemistry was quickly undeniable. So much so that only a month and a half into dating, Shanna told her best friend "I think I'm going to marry her," and eventually, the nonprofit worker and elementary PE teacher duo proved this to be true.

In the fourth episode of a new docuseries called "Pandemic Weddings" by SoulPancake, the couple opens up about how they met, the difficulties of canceling a non-refundable wedding of their dreams (that took a year and a half to plan), as well as the pain of having family members who didn't support their marriage use the pandemic as a convenient excuse not to come.

Keep Reading... Show less
Bobbie Hall

This fall was my boyfriend and I's two-year anniversary! In the past for special occasions, we've typically gone out for a movie and dinner or just did something fun in general. However, in the year of COVID, we didn't really feel safe doing something like that.

Instead, we wanted to try something new that kept us significantly more socially distanced. Luckily, I found a TikTok trend a few months ago that gave me the perfect idea! The Target TikTok trend blew up all over for couples and friends alike. It seemed like a fun activity for us but also a good way to get each other gifts that we might not have thought about.

Keep Reading... Show less
Roman Holiday

In case you're tired of searching for new movies worth watching, consider going back in time for date night and watching a romance classic (or 30).

From black and white films to colorful '90s chick flicks (many of which I've watched alone or with significant others), the list below features romantic thrillers, rom-coms, historical romance, or just classic romantic stories for any given decade, here is a list of movies you need to add to your must-watch list ASAP.

Keep Reading... Show less

If there's one thing everyone's talking about right now, it's voting — in real life, on social media, and yes, even on dating apps.

And rightfully so! Because is there really anything sexier than someone who cares about using their voice to be the change they want to see? In my opinion, no... not much, honestly.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments