Scythe

Scythe

eBook - 2016
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"In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ('gleaned') by professional reapers ('scythes'). Two teens must compete with each other to become a scythe--a position neither of them wants. The one who becomes a scythe must kill the one who doesn't"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [2016]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781442472440
1442472448
9781442472426
1442472421
9781442472433
144247243X
Characteristics: 1 online resource (433 pages)
Call Number: eBook

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Opinion

From Library Staff

No death, no war, no disease. But wait, there's a catch! Scythes are individuals commanded to take certain lives. Commanded by whom? It's more by what—an AI referred to as the Thunderhead. The characters in this YA book are compelling and the social commentary is timely.

Comment
katbee Apr 27, 2018

The further I made into this book, the more I was hooked by a sense of morbid curiosity. This book was different from everything else I have read. A future world that has turned into a utopia rather than dystopia seems rare. I think Neal Shusterman did a great job with lots of good twists. Howeve... Read More »

Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction Finalist

Comment
mdellapenna Dec 08, 2016

Fans of Shusterman will not be disappointed. Another powerful dystopian novel.

Comment
Beatricksy Dec 05, 2016

The world feels as delicate as a wet paper towel: if I poke it too hard, it's going to fall apart into a gloopy mess. There's not a lot of explanation here, and the world is run by, basically, an Internet God that is perfect and omnipotent...sometimes. I guess. So you have to squint past the none... Read More »


From the critics


Community Activity

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d
dstradling
Feb 20, 2021

This is certainly one of the better YA dystopian novels I've read. The characters are all unique, interesting, and believable. Their struggles are meaningful, if a little unrealistic (dystopia, though). The pacing was really consistent, with genuine surprises in the plot along the way.

The sci-fi elements are not explained much, which is for the better because, as with most YA, they would not hold up well under close scrutiny (I'm talking mainly of the nanites. And the regeneration). I would not hesitate to recommend this book to a teen. It explores the complexity of what it means to be young, to be human, and to be mortal.

b
Braedenlanger96
Feb 02, 2021

Good Book 📖

s
SofiaLB_2
Jan 25, 2021

I absolutely loved this coming-of-age-type of book. The relationships that are constantly building and falling in this novel are so intriguing to be apart of. Especially Rowan and Citra's. From the moment they are chosen to be apprentices together, they are bound to be good friends. I would recommend this title if you prefer dystopian and captivating adventures.

LoganLib_Sheridan Jan 15, 2021

This is such a thought provoking book. There are so many interesting concepts discussed in this book and it is a very interesting (and potentially overly-optimistic) imagining of what the future could look like.

I like the idea of a benevolent computer taking care of humanity because people are just too corrupt and this is shown in the scythdom which the Thunderhead has no control over but which is in charge of delivering death to humanity.

The idea of a future where everyone can just live for as long as they like (until they are gleaned) is awesome. Everything is taken care of. You are given a job if you want one. You don't have to worry about money or food. The Thunderhead even provides an outlet for 'unsavouries' and tonists who think mortality was better and follow the teachings and ways of the 'mortal age'.

Despite all of these very big ideas and musings on morality throughout the book it didn't feel 'heavy'. It was engaging and action-packed.

d
Dragonxx
Jan 13, 2021

This is legit one of my favourite books... I read it in about two days. I couldn't put down the book. I love the concept, and the ending was pretty cool. I have both Thunderhead and The Toll (I don't know how I got both of them at the same time because they're so popular) so I'm pretty excited!

b
Bensjammin33
Dec 16, 2020

Very well thought out and interesting. This book was very hard to put down once I picked it up! Follow Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova as the train to become expert life takers. This book can be violent at times so people younger than 12 should refrain from reading it. Other than that this was a really good book!

p
PortTriple
Dec 15, 2020

The book Scythe follows the path of Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch as they train to become scythes, the takers of life in a world of immortality. Humanity has conquered death and illness and are immune to most forms of death and depend on an A.I., the Thunderhead, for all governance and guidance. While the Thunderhead has jurisdiction over the living, the dead are brought about by the human organization of Scythes. Citra and Rowan accept becoming apprentices to the Scythe Faraday however, they are pitted against one another when the scythedom passes an edict saying one may be elevated to scythehood and must glean (the term for killing) the other. The narrative plot of the story is excellent, providing a fun read with a thrilling story line. However, this is also a great read to explore the depths of human nature and the challenges that come with it. Scythes were chosen to be model humans yet there are signs of corruption or scythes who had forgotten the moral basis on which the scythedom was founded upon. While no clear answer is given in the novel, the thoughts that can come out as well as discussions that arise from the novel make Scythe a very worthy read.

d
DOITLIKEAPRO
Sep 26, 2020

Great book, very interesting vision of the future

e
EobardThawne
Aug 04, 2020

This book is a remarkable spin on the dystopian future idea, taking place in a world where death isn’t inevitable. Instead, to control the population, some few individuals, called scythes, are chosen to kill randomly. The story centers on two teenagers, Citra and Rowan, who hesitantly compete for a position as a scythe, while discovering the dangers, alliances, and secrets that come with the mysterious society of the scythedom.

Scythe is an absolutely incredible book based on a seemingly absurd but at the same time fascinating idea. Neal Shusterman takes an otherwise completely unheard of possibility and makes it stunningly believable. The story is unbelievably complex but thrilling and will keep you on the edge of your seat. An electrifying ending, and possibly the best book I have ever read.

h
Herbivore_Reader
Jun 10, 2020

Not worth the hype, in my humble opinion. While it made a compelling story that kept me reading, and I can see the value in reflecting on the positive role of death in making room for the living, ultimately the story lacks much merit. The basic premise was never really justified.

It just doesn't make sense to have the society the story describes. (Okay, in a future where all disease is cured, we would have to have a system for letting some people die anyway, but why not just decide not to revive a certain percentage of those that get "deadish"? Why would you need special scythes running around killing people? Why would the artificial intelligence (the "Thunderhead") separate itself from that process, and that process alone? I was waiting for the author to explain that conceit, and it never came.)

Reading it as protests against police violence heat up, I was waiting for the author to make the connection between scythes and those that have a monopoly on violence in our society (police), but that social critique never came.

I also found other things to be irritated within the story like, for example, the lack of cultural awareness in the scythe names. Western scythes name themselves after scientists or engineers, like Marie Curie and Robert Goddard, but the one Chinese scythe is named "Scythe Mao" after the dictator Mao Zedong? And, the one Japanese scythe was named "Scythe Hideyoshi", presumably after Toyotomi Hideyoshi (his family name is actually Toyotomi, so it should have been "Scythe Toyotomi") who formalized the class system of Japan? It's like the author didn't know that there are SO many awesome scientists and philosophers of the East to choose from!

Read it if you want some entertaining distraction but there are many better young adult novels which are fun reads and will stand the test of time to boot.

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Age

Add Age Suitability
d
dstradling
Feb 20, 2021

dstradling thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

b
Bensjammin33
Dec 16, 2020

Bensjammin33 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

d
DOITLIKEAPRO
Sep 26, 2020

DOITLIKEAPRO thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

e
EobardThawne
Aug 04, 2020

EobardThawne thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

w
white_dove_785
May 17, 2020

white_dove_785 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

FriendsDragonsCats44 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

m
mauve_seastar_22
Mar 18, 2020

mauve_seastar_22 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

b
blue_llama_853
Mar 17, 2020

blue_llama_853 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

n
NicePerson_290
Mar 14, 2020

NicePerson_290 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

d
Dopey_Dovewing
Jul 01, 2019

Dopey_Dovewing thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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Quotes

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"Remember, good intentions pave many roads. And not all of them lead to hell."

m
Marleny_Martini
Apr 04, 2019

"Guilt is the idiot cousin of remorse."

m
Marleny_Martini
Apr 04, 2019

"Outside the rain finally began to fall, surging in fits and starts. “I love the way it rains here,” he told her. “It reminds me that some forces of nature can never be entirely subdued. They are eternal, which is a far better thing to be than immortal."

m
Marleny_Martini
Apr 04, 2019

"Everyone is guilty of something, and everyone still harbors a memory of childhood innocence, no matter how many layers of life wrap around it. Humanity is innocent; humanity is guilty, and both states are undeniably true."

j
jmath_
Mar 08, 2019

"We become settled in the inconsequential drudgery of our lives, until suddenly we look at ourselves in the mirror and see a face we barely recognize begging us to turn a corner and be young again"

r
rslars001
Sep 06, 2018

“Well, she could learn self control tomorrow. Today she wanted pizza.”

JCLChrisK Nov 30, 2017

No one rages against the system anymore. At most, they just glare at it a bit.

s
shayshortt
Apr 26, 2017

She wanted to believe she wasn’t capable of it. She desperately wanted to believe she wasn’t Scythe material. It was the first time in her life that she aspired to fail.

Summary

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z
zacarias_jessica
Jan 16, 2020

In a world where we take life for granted behind computer screens and instagram accounts Scythe has come along and reminded us that life is out here waiting to happen.

Imagine a society where if you put yourself at risk of death an appointed Scythe gleans you. This is all done to control overpopulation. Sounds to me like insurance companies except they don't kill you they just up your payment. Natural death is old school and in this post-mortal age two friends are chosen to be Scythes. The Scythenom appoints them as apprentice scythes until their final test: to glean each other. Who will win?

I enjoyed reading this book because damn can you imagine? The advanced technology used in the story seems like it could really happen. Not the gleanings of course but the artificial intelligence, the way humans deal with disease. It really made me wonder.

f
fiacono2
Dec 21, 2018

fairly good sci-fi about these people who are the designated gleaners of society, they choose who and how to lessen the population, and of course the corruption that occurs in a society where someone is all powerful over everyone else, and of course the good guys who always follow the rules

s
shayshortt
Apr 26, 2017

It has been three hundred years since humanity turned the corner, leaving behind the Age of Mortality. With the arrival of infinite computing power, a benevolent AI known as the Thunderhead emerged to rule this new deathless society. But although accidental death is a thing of the past, humanity still lives on a single finite planet, and so population growth must be limited. This task was deemed to require a human conscience, not to be entrusted to a computer, and so the Scythedom was born. Citra and Rowan have been selected to apprentice to Scythe Faraday, a job that neither of them wants. But there is corruption at the heart of Scythedom, and the Thunderhead is powerless to intervene. Reform must come from within.

Notices

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n
NicePerson_290
Mar 14, 2020

Violence: There is a lot of death.

n
NicePerson_290
Mar 14, 2020

Sexual Content: People mention sleeping together.

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