Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1) by Neal Shusterman
Updated: Mar 20
“Scythe” takes place in an utopian society where pain, hunger and even death are now bound to human will.
Who would not wish for that? To live in a perfect society, to live for as long as you want, even to choice at what age to appear?
But even as most of us wish for that, we rarely think what will happen to the Earth if we exclude “death” from the “circle of life”. If humans keep reproducing but cease to face death, the world will face overpopulation.
Thus comes the role of the scythes. They are tasked to maintain the balance between life and death on Earth. The act of gleaning, as it is called, I necessary and only scythes are authorized to execute it.
Scythes are specially selected, their moral values and valour tested over and over again, until they are deemed fit to carry the task. For the scythe is impartial to choice the people who will be gleaned and those to receive immunity.
The education continues for a year as an apprentice and it’s followed by four more years of supervision. But never before has an apprenticeship turned into a competition with a lethal end. The winner will become a scythe, his will be granted lifelong immunity, and the losing party will be gleaned… by the former.
The world, created by Neil Shusterman is complex and very well developed. The book has an unique concept, especially when in comes down to the political system, and it explores a variety of questions tied to morality and the “side effects” of immortality.
One of the main questions for me was tied to the choses one makes when one knows he will live forever. Come to think of it, will you do what you do if you know your time is not limited?
Although I loved this book, I have to admit: 1) I did not liked Citra’s character – her hubris was way too much for my taste, and 2) I predicted the end and that disappointed me a little.
I do however liked everyone else’s characters a lot, as they were very fleshed out and interesting.
I also liked the little glimpses of the journals that scythes are required to write. It gives a look into every character’s unique vision for the true purpose of the gleaning and his job.
The sequel to “Scythe” – “Thunderhead” is already published and is waiting for us all to read.