Scythe by Neal Shusterman

imageIn 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.


There are no more countries, wars, politics, disease, hunger, poverty, everything that humans could learn has been learned.and everyone is immortal.  People have the ability to heal and to ‘turn the corner’ and to revert genetically to a younger age.  because of this people are still having babies and the only way to die is to be gleaned by a scythe.

Citra and Rowan are taken as apprentices by Scythe Faraday. It’s the first time that a scythe has chosen two apprentices and it doesn’t sit well with the conclave.  He chose them for their unwillingness to become scythes, and teaches them the art of gleaning but done with sympathy and humanity  as a first priority.  Scythes are above the law, well there is no real law anymore and they are the only part of society with a governing body with rules and regulations, 10 to be precise. Because they are above the law they must do things the way it is set out in their laws and that means to not kill indiscriminately.  There  is a quota system set up so that a balance is maintained.  But as Citra and Rowan attend their first conclave they start to see that all isn’t straight forward in the society and that, like in any other governing body, there are things behind the scenes  that don’t bode well for not only them for for the world as well.

This deals heavily with morality, how not to become the monster when you are in the middle of them.  It’s a great theme to have with the things going on in society as it is today and I thing that Mr. Shusterman did it in a wonderful way of the topic of the book. there is plenty of brutality in the story, just as there is in real life and it makes you question just how you feel about what is happening around you and what you will do to try and end it.  It’s a different take on your average YA Dystopian book in which youngsters are given the powers over life and death, mercy or pure evil in how they accomplish their duties.  It’s part of a series but it’s doesn’t  leave you on a cliff edge like some other series do but leaves you on a gentle slope. An incredible beginning to what will be a thrilling series.  If you loved his Unwind series you will love this one.


4/5 stars




Buy: Amazon UK


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