Book Reviews

Book Review: Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Title: Scythe Book Cover
Title: Scythe Series: Arc of a Scythe Genre: Juvenile Fiction Publisher: Simon and Schuster Format: Paperback Pages: 433 Source: Personal Collection

In a world in which the only way to die is to be killed by a scythe, Citra and Rowan compete to earn a position as a scythe’s apprentice–a competition that will see the loser die by the hand of the winner.


When this was chosen as the book for the Barnes & Noble YA Book Club for December, I was a bit disappointed. Up until December, all of the books had been new releases, so it didn’t make sense to me for them to choose Scythe. Then I figured maybe they’d do all three from December through February, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. I’m glad they did choose it though, because I wouldn’t have ever picked it up otherwise.

For me, the book was hard to get into. It just seemed like it was very boring and slow to get going. Once it did get going, it was a great book. But wow, the book was just slow to get going. I get why it was slow to get going – after all, we had to have some sort of reason why Scythe Faraday would choose Citra and Rowan as his apprentices, but I wish it would have moved a touch faster.

Once it picks up though, it picks up. It’s hard to put it down after a certain point in the book because now you’re invested and honestly – you need to know what the heck is going on around that place. I don’t want to give anything away but – yeah, you’re not going to expect plot twist number one – and plot twist number one sets the stage for the rest of the book.

As for characters, I liked Citra a lot, didn’t care much for Rowan. I found him to be rather a pain in the butt and wasn’t all that fond of him. I liked Scythe Faraday a lot, loved Sycthe Curie, and would cheerfully have yeeted Sycthe Goddard right out of the story if I could have. I also actually kind of liked Sycthe Volta. The rest of Goddard’s flunkies needed to be yeeted with Goddard. And finally, High Blade Xenocrates needs a spine… I’m just saying.

The plot twists in this book are what make it so great. You get several and each time, it’s hard to telegraph what’s going to happen next. One of them shocked the heck out of me because I thought I’d figured it out and then BOOM – completely different! Holy cow. And let us not forget the ending – that is one heck of an ending to a book.

I just started Thunderhead, so you can expect a review for that one soon.