Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia
Publication Date: November 22nd, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
I love Neal Shusterman. I mean, honestly. I wish I could poke around in his brain in an attempt to figure out how he comes up with these things. I remember reading something once about how Stephen King is amazing because he just has all these bizarre stories marinating in his head, just waiting to be plucked out and put on paper. It’s true of King, it’s also very true of Neal Shusterman. He just has this way of taking real world topics and approaching them in such new and thought provoking ways. In Unwind he took a controversial subject like abortion/adoption and turned it around in his hands and looked at it from all angles. Walking away from that read, I still can’t figure out where he stands on the topic, and it didn’t even really matter. He just wanted to dissect it.
Neal Shusterman did the exact same thing with Scythe, except this time it was a dissection of the increasing, and problematic, population of humans on the planet. He asks the question, what would happen if we cured illness and death, and we all lived forever? I mean, ultimately it is what we’re shooting for even if we don’t say it. Aren’t we so afraid of illness and death that we find all the ways we can to extend life for as long as possible? And if we succeed in curing all illness and avoiding death, how do we keep the population down now? Well, we glean, that’s how. And I’m pretty sure that’s how Scythe was born.
I wish I had his brain.
Writing a book like this raises all kinds of questions. If we can live forever, what makes a Gleaned death permanent? And how about Scythe’s who aren’t born with natural ethics and compassion? Or my favorite, if you could live for 1000 years how much of life becomes mundane? What do you live for?
Never fear, because in his subtle way Neal Shusterman talks about all of this. His characters trail through all these deeper thoughts as they navigate this world.
Speaking of the characters, don’t look for anything conventional. This isn’t a typical love story, because the romance isn’t even a side story. It’s a footnote. But, that’s what works. There is so much more going on, things that are more important than love. Still, I adored Citra and Rowan together, and I loved them just as much apart. (Surprise surprise, I loved Rowan in particular. Especially near the end.)
Lastly, I loved both Honorable Scythe Faraday and Honorable Scythe Curie. I think Faraday hit me more in my feels, because I could sense his goodness. His compassion. It was Curie’s thoughts at the end of each chapter that really resonated. Those were the spots that made you pause and think.
I love stories that make me question and think. That’s why I love stories by Neal Shusterman.
Thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: = A-
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