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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

9 Responses to Four Reasons Why I Didn’t Love Scythe by Neal Shusterman

  1. Aw, I really loved this one. I get where you’re coming from with all of your reasons though. I still need to read the sequel too, so hopefully it will address some of these concerns for you! Or you’ll at least like it better. LOL I’ve heard good things, but you never know. :)


    • Chiara says:

      I’m glad you loved it, Lauren! I can definitely see why people adore it, it’s just these things I mentioned that got to me. I’m still super keen to read the sequel and I hope I like it more!

  2. I’m so sorry it didn’t meet your expectations Chiara… I’ve heard amazing things about this book which is why I’m putting off reading this book because right now, my expectations is just too high to be true. I’m pretty disappointed that there is barely any training shown, I’m really curious about that part. I hope your next read would be better!

    • Chiara says:

      Me too :( I sometimes wait until the hype has gone down to read books but I felt like picking this one up so I did! Maybe it was bad timing, haha. The training would have been so cool if it was actually shown! Sigh. Thanks, Tasya!

  3. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way happy you didn’t like this, BUT I’m happy to see a less positive review of it. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, and I kinda want to wait until the third book releases, but I like to hear both negatives and positives about any given book. Anyhow, what really makes me unsure if I want to read this after all is what you said about the antagonist – I *hate* when a bad guy is bad just because. :| Probably will still read this, but will lower my expectations. Fantastic review!

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    • Chiara says:

      I totally get that feeling! When all I see are positive reviews for a book I start to get a bit wary, haha. Yeah, it’s always a let down when someone is bad just because they’re bad. In all aspects of this book I would have loved just a bit more development. Then it would have been an amazing read for me, I think! No problem :D

  4. Kelly says:

    Sadly this was a book I was unable to finish, I tried but just felt a little too generic for me and I found it difficult to connect. The romance is what annoyed me. Why can’t we have more friendships in young adult between varied genders that aren’t romantic? I love books that explore love but there’s just so many wonderful types of love we feel and it’s a shame that we can’t see more of that in big releases or widely published mainstream young adult. I’m really interested to see if the sequel can answer some of those burning questions for you. Sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this one a little more Chiara but fantastic review as always ♡♡♡

    • Chiara says:

      Aw, I’m sorry this one was such a fail for you, Kell. To be honest, I can tell why. There were only a few things that really kept me going, and one of them was to see if it got any better, haha.

      The romance was not even there and yet it was? It was really strange because it felt like the author was going for a friendship but then there’s be lines that hinted at romance. I would have loved them to be best friends, to be honest. It would have been so unique and refreshing in this genre, too.

      Thank you, lovely <3 I have the sequel from the library now so we'll see!

  5. Jaclyn says:

    I know my reply on here is about two years too late, but I wholeheartedly agree. I also felt like Rowan had more of a connection with Volta and kind of hoped the storyline would follow that path instead. All in all it was a decent read but I was hoping for something more.

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