The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
**This review may contain spoilers**
Back in high school, I was a part of this book club called Project LIT. Project LIT is a national reading initiative with the aim to promote more diverse works and get high schoolers to be more proactive readers. Although I only participated for one year, one book I remember getting for this club was Scythe by Neal Shusterman. I only read about half of the book, and because it was more in the middle of high school, I don’t remember much. I finally decided to pick it back up again this year, and to say the least, I was not disappointed.
Scythe is a young adult dystopian novel set in a near-future America, where illness and war have been rendered obsolete. Everyone is essentially immortal, with the only form of death being doled out by scythes. Scythes are trained for a year before being ordained and a larger part of being considered worthy is if they find no joy in gleaning (killing). It’s meant to be an obligation and not a hobby.
This being said, we follow the apprenticeship of two teenagers, Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch. The two are friendly (with a natural bit of flirting thrown into most YA novels) and are being mentored by the same individual, Scythe Faraday. There is a lot of controversy surrounding his choice to take on two apprentices, as most typically only take on one. The Scythedom (the hierarchy in the system of scythes) decides that in order for it to be fair, Citra and Rowan will be competing for the opportunity to be ordained a scythe. Whoever “wins” will be forced to glean the other as a way to diminish any companionship during or after their apprenticeship.
The entire concept of this book was incredibly interesting to me, and I had a good time reading it. A bit on the longer side, it took me longer to get through it then I may have originally liked, but there was a lot of plot to take in. I will say this book heavily relies on plot-based progression rather than character-based progression. The characters, while relatively interesting, did not develop a lot throughout the course of this novel. There’s still a lot of room for both Citra and Rowan to grow, which has me excited to read the next two books of this series.
The plot was a bit predictable but very well written. It’s easy to tell who the villain of the series is, which isn’t something I mind too much. The primary villains’ views are questionable, but to them, appear to be justified. They are as fleshed out as they can be without having their own perspective, and it was interesting to see how each character (Scythe Faraday and Rowan especially) felt towards them.
Scythe is a bit on the slower side, as it takes its time to progress through the story. To me, it had enough action to keep me interested, so I didn’t really mind the slower pace. There were a couple twists I never would have expected, both good and bad. I loved the experience of reading this book and I’m glad I picked it up after such a long time. I can only hope the next two books in the series, Thunderhead and The Toll, will keep me just as engaged as Scythe did.