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Reader Reviewed
Scythe by Neal Shusterman


Part of the Arc of a Scythe Series
NewGen - YA Fiction   Fantasy   If You Like...You'll Love   eBook Favourites   
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Wow! This was a gripping, thought-provoking read. Totally compelling, Scythe is a dark, original take on the ultimate power – the power over life and death.

Death and disease have been eradicated and life can continue quietly without fear of death or illness. Revival centres are on hand if you suffer an accident and even a fall from a thirty-nine-storey building will simply require a few days speed-healing. Unless you are chosen to be gleaned by a Scythe. These elite humans are given the task of choosing their victims in an effort to maintain the population. Citra and Rowen are strangers until they are both chosen to be apprentice scythes. Thrown together in an isolated and strange world they soon strike a bond. As they undertake the arduous and difficult training they begin to discover that not all is as it seems and even a 'perfect' society suffers as corruption infiltrates those of power and a new generation of Scythes begin to breakout.

With a cruel turn of events Citra and Rowen discover that only one of them can become fully ordained as a Scythe and then must glean the other. As their feelings grow stronger they each search for a way to save not only themselves but also the reputation and sanctity of the Scythedom.

The subject matter is handled sensitively and although at times can be brutal there is no gratuitous violence. As I began reading I was fascinated by the idea behind the story and was soon pulled in, unable to stop until I found out what would become of Citra and Rowan ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Clíona McKeown-Bittles  - 'Neal Shusterman's writing is both brilliant and fascinating as he explores the intricate world of the Scythes. I can't wait for the next instalment!'
  • Sophia  - 'Amazing story, loved reading it and couldn’t put the book down. Hope to see more from this author.'

  • Natalie Hunter - 'Scythe was an amazing book, giving us a look at what a world without death would be like and the idea of the Scythes was incredibly well thought out and left the reader always wanting to learn more.'

  • Megan Chambers - 'This book was amazing! The world it is set in was fabulous and I’d definitely recommend this book to everyone! I can’t wait for the rest of the series!'

  • Izzy Read - 'A science fiction novel with an almost fantasy twist, exchanging natural death with Grim reaper figures in society.'


Scythe by Neal Shusterman

A dark, gripping and witty thriller in which the only thing humanity has control over is death. In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ( gleaned ) by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes' apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity of what they do.Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe's apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice's first task will be to glean the loser.


This powerful tale is guaranteed to make readers think deeply. Publishers Weekly (starred review)

This first volume in an anticipated trilogy offers forbidden love, mass murders, cool philosophical musings, and a well-developed futuristic society-plenty to guarantee interest in the planned two followups. BCCB (starred review)

Shusterman starts off this series in dramatic fashion as he creates an engrossing world that pulls readers in and refuses to let them go... A truly astounding, unputdownable read and a fast-paced beginning to an excellent sci-fi series. A must-have. School Library Journal (starred review)

Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman's dark tale thrusts realistic, likeable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions. A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning. Kirkus (starred review)

Scythe owes an obvious debt to Unwind (2007) and its sequels, and this succeeds as a sort of shadow companion to Patrick Ness Chaos Walking trilogy: instead of exploring the ways in which men are monsters , this deals in what happens to men when there are no monsters. When our reach does not exceed our grasp, when comfort is more easily obtained than struggle, when our essential humanity doesn't burn out but becomes slowly irrelevant, what becomes of us? Readers will find many things in these pages. Answers to such unsettling questions will not be among them. Booklist (starred review)

About the Author

Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script.

In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his own hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell. His books have received many awards from organizations such as the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association, as well as garnering a myriad of state and local awards across the country. Neal's talents range from film directing (two short films he directed won him the coveted CINE Golden Eagle Awards) to writing music and stage plays – including book and lyrical contributions to “American Twistory,” which is currently playing in Boston. He has even tried his hand at creating Games, having developed three successful "How to Host a Mystery" game for teens, as well as seven "How to Host a Murder" games.

As a screen and TV writer, Neal has written for the "Goosebumps" and “Animorphs” TV series, and wrote the Disney Channel Original Movie “Pixel Perfect”. Currently Neal is adapting his novel Everlost as a feature film for Universal Studios.

Wherever Neal goes, he quickly earns a reputation as a storyteller and dynamic speaker. Much of his fiction is traceable back to stories he tells to large audiences of children and teenagers -- such as his novel The Eyes of Kid Midas. As a speaker, Neal is in constant demand at schools and conferences. Degrees in both psychology and drama give Neal a unique approach to writing. Neal's novels always deal with topics that appeal to adults as well as teens, weaving true-to-life characters into sensitive and riveting issues, and binding it all together with a unique and entertaining sense of humor.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st February 2018


Neal Shusterman

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Walker Books Ltd


448 pages


NewGen - YA Fiction
If You Like...You'll Love
eBook Favourites

Science fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Romance & relationships stories (Children's / Teenage)



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