Book Review: "Scythe" (Sue Engel)

Book Review: "Scythe" (Sue Engel)
Posted on 05/03/2017

Wausau Daily Herald
04/30/2017 - Page A04

SUE ENGEL

FOR USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN

The year is 2042. Humans have vanquished death and the post-mortal Earth has become, "A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery." It has remained the only habitable planet.

Earth has become a utopia ruled by the omnipotent "Thundercloud," a super, incorruptible, data-driven, logical computer program that determines how goods are distributed, how jobs are to be done and personal data monitored, etc. The only thing the Thundercloud doesn’t have control over is Scythedom. People have become immortal and can choose to "turn the corner," allowing themselves to physically regress to a younger version of themselves.

It is the duty of Scythes to maintain the world’s population control. They determine who lives, who dies and by what means. It is a heavy burden and one that is to be taken on with the utmost sincerity, compassion and efficiency.

Scythes are the most honored and feared members of society.

With the population exploding, the Scythedom realizes that its kill quotas are not keeping up with growth and more apprentices are needed.

Scythe Faraday encounters two young adults, Citra and Rowan, he feels would be worthy to train.

It is important to choose apprentices based on their ethics, compassion and moral stance against taking a life.

The last thing a Scythe should be is someone who enjoys killing. Citra and Rowan realize that only one of them will be allowed to become a Scythe and that their training will be competitive. As much as they try to keep their distance from one another, they are attracted to each other. The more they become enmeshed in the world of Scythes they realize that corruption is beginning to eat away at the core of this honored society.

A group of rogue Scythes with a charismatic and power-hungry leader have been committing mass executions, killing over their quota and speaking out against the rules they find are too restrictive for their bloodlust and brutal activities.

Prolific and popular young adult author Neal Shusterman has written a thought-provoking, futuristic dystopian tale that begs reader! s to question death, society, human error and ego. "Scythe" has earned a Michael L. Printz Honor award as one of the best-written young adult books of 2017 by the American Library Association. Hand this highly suspenseful, sci-fi thriller to teens who enjoy dystopian books such as "Divergent" and "Hunger Games"; they will not be disappointed.

About the book

Title: "Scythe"

Author: Neal Shusterman

Published: 2016

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pages: 435

Genre: Dystopian

Audience: Young adult

Rating: Four stars (out of five)

Sue Engel is the library director at Horace Mann Middle School in Wausau.


Engel