Release date: November 22nd 2016
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.
I have loved everything I’ve read by Neal Shusterman so I did go into this one with high expectations. And I got everything I wanted from it and more. It was dark, it had a great dynamics between characters, it was twists that were surprising, and it was very enjoyable to read.
The book was mostly told in the alternating POVs of the two Scythe apprentices, Rowan and Citra. I liked how different they were from each other so it was interesting to see each of them approached being chosen as an apprentice and their training. I enjoyed seeing them change and grow as they learned more about what being a Scythe meant and how it affected what they thought they knew. I also liked the changing dynamics between them. They went from strangers to competitors to friends to competitors again. I thought their ever-changing relationship was really well-done and very believable.
The concept of the world in this book was really interesting. Technology existed so death was no longer an issue. People could be reset or ‘turned’ from old age or saved from any accident. The only way to die was to be ‘gleaned’ by a Scythe, a necessity to keep control of the growing population. I liked seeing all the different Scythes and that each other had their own styles, their own methods. Some were compassionate, others more blood-thirsty. They had their own system for choosing new Scythes to initiate and had rules they were supposed to follow so no Scythe could have a bias against a specific group of people or else they were punished for their stats not falling into acceptable ranges. It was all really interesting and done in a way where their political talk wasn’t boring.
I got completely absorbed into the story. I loved the addition of the journals all the Scythes kept as insight into their views, and I loved that there were many entries from different Scythes included. I’m excited to see where the series goes and, besides being an entertaining read, it completely cemented Neal Shusterman as one of my top auto-buy authors.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.