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What: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman

Who: Walker Books

When: February 2st 2018

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Walker Books Australia for review.

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.

While I did enjoy reading Scythe, I never quite fell in love with it. And here are the four reasons why:

1) I wanted more

I had heard so many amazing things about Scythe that I went in expecting something amazing. And I didn’t really get that. The premise was incredibly interesting and unique but I felt like the execution was a little subpar. The story is supposed to be about two teens learning to be well, killers, and their ‘lessons’ weren’t even shown. There were massive time jumps, and the only real aspect of their training we got to see were the three trials, which weren’t even really that interesting. So yes. Scythe had amazing potential, but for me it just didn’t quite reach it.

2) I never connected

Neither Citra nor Rowan ever made me feel. And for me to fall in love with a book I need to actually care about the characters because otherwise what happens to them is not my problem. So the fact that I never felt connected to either of the protagonists was one of the main reasons why I couldn’t fall in love with Scythe. The writing never made me care about them as people, and the characters just weren’t fleshed out enough for me to really get to know who they were.

3) Citra and Rowan’s relationship

Now, I did not need this to be a romance, and to be honest I would hesitate to call it that. But for me, there was nothing there. They said all of about ten sentences to each other in the book, and yet those small interactions were supposed to make me believe that these two really cared about each other. I didn’t buy it. I needed more of them getting to know each other, and becoming friends, and if this was a romance, well I damn sure needed to see that in any quantity because it definitely wasn’t there.

4) The antagonist’s motivations

Of which we were given nothing of. I didn’t even know why this bad guy was bad. I mean, in his diary entries all it said was that he wanted the ability to kill without parameters. But why? You can’t just give me an antagonist that does everything the “good guys” do but in a higher quantity and with more pain and expect me to hate him to my core. I mean, yes, he was evil but why. And how did he have his little minions? How did he convince them that his way was the best way? What were his motivations? Who was he? These were all left unanswered and I was just supposed to hate him because he was evil. Yeah, that’s not enough for me.


All in all, I did enjoy Scythe. But I just never fell in love with it like I wanted to, and the above reasons all played a part in why. I’ll probably read the sequel in hopes that some of my issues with Scythe are resolved.

© 2018, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

use of ableist language, mass murder, multiple murders, graphic violence, attempted suicide, suicide, explosions, sexual harassment of a minor, murder of family member, reference to torture, blackmail (using family member’s safety), death themes

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Posted on: July 11, 2018 • By: Chiara

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