Book Reviews

Book Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

SPOILER ALERT: There are a couple of spoilers given in this review. I apologize, but I found it very hard to talk about the book without giving anything away.

Title: Thunderhead Book Cover
Title: Thunderhead Series: Arc of a Scythe Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Utopia Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers Format: Paperback Pages: 504 Source: Personal Collection

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?


If you’re looking for a second novel in a trilogy or series to frustrate the crap out of you, this one will do nicely. I’m not even kidding.

In this second book, we see that Citra is getting along fairly well as a Scythe and the Rowan is playing a bad-guy-who-is-actually-a-good-guy role. I kind of figured that would end up happening, but that’s isn’t the frustrating thing.

We also see the return of Scythe Rand and Scythe Goddard. No, I won’t tell you more than that. You have to read the book to understand. But trust me, when it happens you’ll be frustrated, annoyed, and a bit awestruck as it is a big on the ingenious side.

Thunderhead has a plot that takes no time to get going and honestly, this book was the fastest read of the three so far. I read this book in just over 24 hours – it took me over a month to read Scythe and finish it because I just wasn’t invested in the story (and because I was in a reading slump). Now? I’m invested. Holy cow am I invested.

It’s hard to review Thunderhead without giving everything away, because pretty much everything I could talk about would be a spoiler and I’ve already given a couple of those out. So all I’m going to say is, it will frustrate you. You will get pissed off about the ending. And you’ll definitely want to read The Toll after it’s over to find out what happens next.

This one is fast-paced and edge-of-your-seat good, which is why I gave it 5 stars. Let’s hope The Toll is too.