10 hours 32 mins | Simon & Schuster | Sci-Fi/Dystopian | 11/22/2016
I picked up Scythe when it was a daily deal on Audible. I didn’t know too much about it, I didn’t even know it was a YA book, I thought it was a middle-grade book or a graphic novel.When I dived in I found another one of Shusterman’s expansive worlds dealing with ethical and moral issues in an unconventional way.
Scythe takes place in a world much like our own…except everyone is immortal. With natural death a thing of the past, death now must be dealt out by the hands of a select few highly-trained individuals known as Scythes. It’s a daunting task because even though death comes in human form, fundamentals of death are still intact. When a Scythe comes for you it is swift, resolute and inescapable.
No one wants to take on the horrific task, but when teenagers Citra and Rowan are chosen to be apprentices they have no choice but to comply. Together they must train and learn to maneuver through the changing politics of Scythehood
Shusterman has a tough hill to climb with this book because you, as a reader, have to buy into an immortal society where it’s accepted that Scythes must exist to glean (read: kill people) at their choosing. Even though this is an accepted part of society the fear and sadness is still very present. The death scenes are tragic though most are fade to black. Though they can be shocking I think showing people’s fear and emotional pain is necessary. I had a tough time with Shusterman’s popular novel Unwind because this element was missing.
This is another engrossing read from Schusterman. The ending felt a little rushed but the story remained imaginative. The ending brings everything full circle, so it can totally be read as a stand-alone, a rarity in these YA days.
I’m on a roll with male narrators and seeing as there is a female protagonist I kind of side-eyed Greg Tremblay as narrator, but he is masterful. He does a particularly good job with a Scythe named Goddard who is the benevolent possibly sociopathic and slightly flamboyant Scythe, who has begun to take too much pride in his bloody work. Tremblay gives him a voice that is both sweeping and glib.