Review: The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3) by Neal Shusterman

RATING: 9/10


It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.


loved Scythe and adored Thunderhead. But The Toll is just okay for me. Its not too bad but not great. Its only a 9/10 star rating for me.

In this book, we follow the aftermath of the sinking of Endura (the home to the World Scythe Council of Grandslayers and the Supreme Blade) which causes the silence of Thunderhead. Essentially, Thunderhead marks everyone as “unsavory” (people who have broken the law) and refuses to communicate with everyone in the world except for Grayson Tolliver. Everyone is so lost without Thunderhead as they over-relied on this super AI previously. Things get chaotic when Goddard took control of the scythedom and started imposing his own rules of gleaning (or killing) people by breaking the 10 Commandments of Scythes. This causes an uproar among the honorable Scythes from other jurisdictions as well as the Tonists (a cult who believes in a particular religion), who inherently hated Scythes.

The Toll focuses a lot on non Scythe characters, especially Greyson Tolliver who is elevated to the god-like status of The Toll by the Tonists. A lot of side characters were introduced in this book which I think may be the cause of losing focus on the dynamics and interaction between the main characters. There’s also a lack of emotional connection between the characters in this book. Its more plot driven as compared to the other 2 books. The pros in this book is that Neal Shusterman is able to link all separate events together and ultimately lead them to the final ending of this story.

All in all, Neal Shusterman explored so many values and issues in this series: humanity, the value of death and life, power, compassion, conscience, religion, and artificial intelligence. This series deserves an adaptation. With a great cast, I think has the potential to be better than the adaptation of The Hunger Games!

One Comment Add yours

  1. I enjoyed this one, but it was definitely more focused on plot than the characters (poor Rowan has almost nothing to do). But given the overall conceit for the series, I was willing to accept that. Glad you enjoyed the full series!


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