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



Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.


“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.”

They say Scythe is “a true successor to The Hunger Games”. To me, Scythe outshines The Hunger Games. Another 5/5 star read before 2019 ends!

Like Hunger Games, Scythe is considered as a dystopian YA novel. In this world, technology is so advance whereby death is no longer possible. Anyone can be revived at a revival center or “turn a corner” (which means to be younger). However, this causes the world to be overpopulated and a social class called Scythe was created to solve this problem. Scythes’ duty is to “glean” (or kill) people and they are bound by the 10 Commandments. In other words, you can’t die of illness or accidents in this world. You can only die if you are “gleaned” by a Scythe.

“Human nature is both predictable and mysterious; prone to great and sudden advances, yet still mired in despicable self-interest.”

With such a social setting, we follow 2 young main characters, Citra and Rowan, in their journey of becoming a Scythe as they were both chosen to be apprentices to a Scythe. Throughout this journey, we see the flaws in Scythes i.e. while Scythes must glean with compassion, conscience and without bias, there is a group of Scythes which enjoy the urge of killing and they are considered as sadists. With this main plot line, Neal Shusterman explored the meaning of death, life and conscience. While we may live in a utopia where the word “death” is considered as archaic, life may become stagnant and eventually we require “death” to move on. This story also explored how we should handle death and the manner of taking one’s life if we are given the power to do so.

Not only that the world building of this story is strong, the pacing of this story is also great. There are so many plot twists and revelations. The dynamics and relationship between Citra and Rowan, between these young characters and their respective mentors i.e. Scythe Farraday, Scythe Curie and Scythe Goddard, are engaging and easy to follow.

In a nutshell, to all the fans of Hunger Games out there, you will find more satisfaction in Scythe!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I was blown away by how much I enjoyed this trilogy. It goes to so many interesting places, and I love how carefully the author considered various repercussions of removing death from our way of life. Enjoy the rest!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. khaijian says:

      Just completed the second book and yes I’m blown away too!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s