!!!!! Scythe very well could be my favorite fall release. Seriously, it is one of the most perfect books I have read. The story is engaging, the characters are well-developed, the conflict is relatable to current events, and writing that makes you wish you were in high school English class so you could write an essay on all of the beautiful elements.
The growth of civilization was complete. Everyone knew it. When it came to the human race, there was no more left to learn. Nothing about our own existence to decipher. Which meant that no one person was more important than any other. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, everyone was equally useless.Scythe is set in a utopian society where the human race has finally figured out the answers in the universe, including how to live forever, but continues to procreate. As you can imagine, this causes a bit of a population control issue. Enter the Scythes, a body of reaper-esque humans tasked with gleaning a subset of humans to keep the Earth liveable. The Scythes function on their own set of rules, separate from the Thunderhead, the omniscient cloud-based AI which oversees the rest of humanity.
The Scythe CommandmentsMore and more Scythes are needed as the population grows, which is where Citra and Rowan enter the scene. Both are recruited as apprentices and get an inside gander of the life of a Scythe. Seems great to have immunity from death for yourself and your family, as well as having a purpose, right? Being a Scythe is the ultimate responsibility, something they'll both pay dearly for as the story moves on.
1) Thou shalt kill.
2) Thou shalt kill with no bias, bigotry, or malice aforethought.
3) Thou shalt grant an annum of immunity to the beloved of those who accept your coming, and to anyone else you deem worthy.
4) Thou shalt kill the beloved of those who resist.
5) Thou shalt serve humanity for the full span of thy days, and thy family shall have immunity as recompense for as long as you live.
6) Thou shalt lead an exemplary life in word and deed.
7) Thou shalt kill no scythe beyond thyself.
8) Thou shalt claim no earthly possessions, save thy robes and thy ring.
9) Thou shalt have neither spouse nor spawn.
10) Thou shalt be beholden to no laws beyond these.
In a profession where conscience is a liability, who would want one?
Humans are still humans, bound to special laws or not. There will always be loopholes and interpretations, which are handled by a body of governing Scythes. One Scythe in specific takes liberties with the rules, which is the focal point of most of the plot.
Neal Shusterman pens this story with absolute grace and poetry. This is a story of death and morals and love and what it is to be human. The way he explores technological impact makes his world seem absolutely plausible - and I am absolutely terrified.
by Neal Shusterman
Published: November 22nd 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
In 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.