Monday, February 13, 2017
Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publishing date: October 2016.
Setting: the future
Conditions: there is no war, famine, disease, the effects of aging, or misery. Humanity has conquered all evils, including death.
The only problem: overpopulation.
The solution: Scythes are the only people permitted to end the lives of others. They do it to maintain population control. They are commanded to kill.
Citra and Rowan are the book's protagonists. They are two seniors in high school who were selected to become apprentices to a scythe. Neither of them want to become a scythe but they have no choice. If they don't go through the training, their families will be gleaned. With their apprenticeships their family members will receive a year of immunity from being gleaned. In addition, Citra and Rowan are set up as competitors, only one will emerge as the winner to be selected as a full scythe. In one year they must master the art of taking a life.
Shusterman, author of Challenger Deep and the Unwind series, won a Printz Honor for Scythe. The book is that good.
Is a Utopian or dystopian tale? Like most Utopian societies there are still lots of dystopian undercurrents running throughout the story. In Scythe that undercurrent is how to kill people and maintain the population. Some scythes are ethical, others are not.
My reading experience: the beginning of the book is so interesting. What a unique and, frankly, dreadful plot. But after about 100 pages I started to lose interest. As calloused as this sounds, I was getting used to the scythe killing people. My reading lagged and dragged. Then, plot twist. Whoa, I didn't see that coming. Not at all. I was on full alert, again. My interest piqued. But once again it dropped until the next plot twist. See photo below. The plot twists were all unexpected and game-changing. my advice to readers---if you find your attention waning as you read, just keep reading. In fact, read faster, if you can.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Edition: Print, checked out from my school library.