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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.

435 pages, Hardcover

First published November 22, 2016

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About the author

Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script.

In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his own hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell. His books have received many awards from organizations such as the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association, as well as garnering a myriad of state and local awards across the country. Neal's talents range from film directing (two short films he directed won him the coveted CINE Golden Eagle Awards) to writing music and stage plays – including book and lyrical contributions to “American Twistory,” which is currently playing in Boston. He has even tried his hand at creating Games, having developed three successful "How to Host a Mystery" game for teens, as well as seven "How to Host a Murder" games.

As a screen and TV writer, Neal has written for the "Goosebumps" and “Animorphs” TV series, and wrote the Disney Channel Original Movie “Pixel Perfect”. Currently Neal is adapting his novel Everlost as a feature film for Universal Studios.

Wherever Neal goes, he quickly earns a reputation as a storyteller and dynamic speaker. Much of his fiction is traceable back to stories he tells to large audiences of children and teenagers -- such as his novel The Eyes of Kid Midas. As a speaker, Neal is in constant demand at schools and conferences. Degrees in both psychology and drama give Neal a unique approach to writing. Neal's novels always deal with topics that appeal to adults as well as teens, weaving true-to-life characters into sensitive and riveting issues, and binding it all together with a unique and entertaining sense of humor.

Of Everlost, School Library Journal wrote: “Shusterman has reimagined what happens after death and questions power and the meaning of charity. While all this is going on, he has also managed to write a rip-roaring adventure…”

Of What Daddy Did, Voice of Youth Advocates wrote; "This is a compelling, spell-binding story... A stunning novel, impossible to put down once begun.

Of The Schwa Was Here, School Library Journal wrote: “Shusterman's characters–reminiscent of those crafted by E. L. Konigsburg and Jerry Spinelli–are infused with the kind of controlled, precocious improbability that magically vivifies the finest children's classics.

Of Scorpion Shards, Publisher's Weekly wrote: "Shusterman takes an outlandish comic-book concept, and, through the sheer audacity and breadth of his imagination makes it stunningly believable. A spellbinder."

And of The Eyes of Kid Midas, The Midwest Book Review wrote "This wins our vote as one of the best young-adult titles of the year" and was called "Inspired and hypnotically readable" by School Library Journal.

Neal Shusterman lives in Southern California with his children Brendan, Jarrod, Joelle, and Erin, who are a constant source of inspiration!

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
June 11, 2019
I struggled with rating Scythe because I initially liked the concept. A post-mortality society sounded interesting, but I just can't overlook how boring it was. I'm someone who finishes the average YA book in a couple of days, and this one was a painful week-long process.

In this future world, natural death is a thing of the past. The Internet is an all-powerful sentient being called the Thunderhead and all knowledge has been acquired. There is nothing left to learn. People have nanites in their blood that heal them and mask pain and, if they do die, they can be revived quickly and painlessly. However, in order to solve population issues in this utopia, appointed "scythes" perform random gleanings - true deaths from which one cannot be revived.

After demonstrating their strength and compassion, teenagers Citra and Rowan find themselves the newest apprentices to Scythe Faraday. Only one of them can become a scythe when their year of apprenticeship is up. Then the stakes get even higher when the scythes decide that the winner will have to glean the loser.

I think a whole lot about this world and the workings of it haven't been thought out very well. The morality is very black and white, making the characters equally so - the villain is a cackling, plain evil mad man - and so many things are left unexplained because it doesn't suit the plot to delve into them. Why, for example, are scythes simply allowed to kill people in any way they choose? Why have that rule in a supposed utopia? All it means is that the "good" scythes will choose quick, painless deaths, and the "bad" scythes will cause as much pain and fear as possible.

Similarly, a major decision the scythes make in the book seems so silly and contrived. Why do they do it? Just for shits and giggles it seems. Pretty much everything done by the evil characters is done simply because they can. They start firing flamethrowers at groups of people because YAY!

But, honestly, I think these things were trying (and failing) to add some excitement to a story that was actually quite dull. For the most part, Scythe is a 450-page apprenticeship, and it creeps along at a snail's pace while Citra and Rowan are learning important scythe lessons. An interesting concept dragged out far too long. Also, that reveal was so obvious. I was literally waiting for it to happen.

And, though it's not a romantic book, the romance that predictably surfaced between Citra and Rowan was devoid of any chemistry and felt so out of place. There was nothing, in my opinion, pulling them together. They seemed like friends at best, but they didn't even have much platonic chemistry. In a way, this reminded me of The Crown's Game - male and female competitors pretend to actually be trying to win but really don't even bother because ROMANCE.

In fact, I never really warmed to either Citra or Rowan. Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie were far more interesting characters and it was a shame we didn't get to see much of this world from their perspectives.

I can't say for sure, but I wonder if this ultimately didn't work because it wasn't that much of a dystopia. The utopia really did seem like a utopia to me. Everything bad and angsty that happened felt unnaturally thrown in to shake things up - pointless rules left unaddressed, and the Scythe Council being deliberately stupid - when really this society didn't seem that bad. I think Shusterman actually created a utopia that was, uh... utopian, and then was left without a nasty story so he had to orchestrate one. That's how it felt to me.

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Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
316 reviews115k followers
September 4, 2018
5/5 Stars!! One of my absolute favorite books I have read in a while. A MUST MUST MUST READ. I can’t even begin to string coherent words together for a review. I love everything about this novel.

Check out my video review!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d37f6...

TW: murder/death, suicide

The world of Scythe is fascinating. With so many advances due to technology and research, it becomes a plausible future for our society which is equal parts interesting and terrifying. This story poses a lot of thought-provoking conversations about morality and mortality. It is by far one of the most complex and well-developed YA worlds I have experienced in a very long time. My brain was running wild throughout the entire story.

The world and the plot of Scythe are my absolute favorite parts of the book. I’ve seen many reviews claiming the story is boring, and while I can somewhat agree that the pacing is slower in the beginning, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time while reading. There are so many plot twists, all unexpected that completely fed the plot-driven reader in me. Every time I accepted the story was going in one direction, it would take a complete 180 which made for an exhilarating read. I’m thoroughly shook with how much I adored this story.

I also really loved the characters. Citra is super strong and intelligent, while Rowan goes through some serious development in a morally-grey way. I think they have a great dynamic, though I feel their romance was one of the weakest parts of the book. There was so much potential to see them grow together, yet I don’t feel we really got to see WHY they were so loyal to each other or WHY they were so attracted to each other. I thought they were really great friends who had a great chance of growing into something more, but the story sort of skipped over the development of feelings. I’m very hopefully things become more natural in Thunderhead because I can see so many good things to come with their relationship.

Scythe was amazing. I cannot stop thinking about it. Please please please read it!!

I received a free copy of this book from Simon & Schuster as a part of a paid YouTube campaign. I had no obligation to review this book as a part of that campaign and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Maggie Stiefvater.
Author 81 books168k followers
February 6, 2017
Pretty much a perfect teen adventure novel. In a conflict-free world where humans have conquered death, elected Scythes must cull the human population. Two teens find themselves volunteered as apprentice-Scythes, and discover that of all the things that Scythes can kill, corruption is not one of them.

1. Over the years, I've heard many books touted as the successor to Hunger Games, but SCYTHE is the first one that I would really, truly stand behind, as it offers teens a complementary reading experience to that series rather than a duplicate one. Like Hunger Games, SCYTHE invites readers to both turn pages quickly but also furrow their brows over the ethical questions it asks. Tone-wise, I would place it solidly between M. T. Anderson's FEED and Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series.

2. Over the years, YA has come to encompass a wide age range — one that I feel tends to skew ever older and sometimes forget the folks who are growing out of middle grade, but slowly. SCYTHE strikes me as a true teen novel, one that I will happily thrust into the hands of even reluctant 12-14 year old readers to show them what awaits them in genre fiction. It asks enough difficult questions to stick in the mind, but it never asks them at the expense of pacing or story. Although it's a series-starter and the end is tantalizing, it does feel like it satisfyingly stands alone (as is evidenced by its new Printz Honor sticker — the Printz is very rarely awarded to series books as the novel's merit must be contained entirely within the volume awarded). Moreover, it is very light on the romance, something that younger readers often prefer (and somewhat difficult to find in YA).

3. Over the years, I have grown too lazy to make note of when sequels come out. I've made a note on my calendar for this one, though — November 2017. I look forward to another good time.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,211 reviews19.7k followers
November 3, 2019
“Have we ever had an enemy worse than ourselves?”

Reread! This book was genius. That is all.



I’m blown away by what I’ve just read.
I’m pretty sure I became high whilst reading it. And now, I’ve been left exhausted by all the excitement!

Hello to my favourite new author.

I'm going to try and review this. Possible verbal diarrhoea ahead.

This story was ridiculously clever. I was not expecting to enjoy it, since I haven't been the biggest fan of the dystopia genre since The Hunger Games and the Divergent series. I stupidly assumed that it would be something along those lines.
Assuming is the dumbest thing I could’ve done. Lesson learned.

This is an intricate story that dissects our society, where in this plot-line our current world has passed and the population is just reminiscing on it, whether that’s in a positive or negative light. This is all whilst they're living in a state of utopia. The future.

This book took a fresh and unique spin on the genre and I've fallen in love with it again. More so the author and his craft.

It follows two main characters: Citra and Rowan who have been selected to join the Scythedom as apprentices, led by Scythe Faraday. Their role is to become skilful at 'killing' or 'gleaning' as it is referred to in this world, as the Scythedom do not believe in killing, but ending your life when it is 'supposed' to end according to their order.

I don't want to give too much away of the plot as it is best to go in blind, because the surprises that awaits the reader are darn good! But we follow these characters on a journey that puts into question and pushes their values, beliefs and morality. My head was spinning by the during it and after it!

The world-building is pretty much perfect. We are introduced to it slowly and it is built upon as the story progresses in a way that does not get too overwhelming for the reader, but rather where the reader grasps it perfectly and falls right into it.

A lot of that had to do with the writing. It was pretty much mesmerising and told in the form of a narrative (coupled with some insightful journal entries), which created this illusion almost where I believed that the world actually existed. Or that it is not too far off from our world becoming as such. It boggled my mind.

As for the characters, Rowan was the most complex. I enjoyed the fact that we had two different characters on two sets of journeys, following individual experiences and it brilliantly overlapping. The roles they took on questioned everything they believed in and formed their character for better and worse.

It was an incredibly enjoyable and immersive reading experience. What becomes of people and a society when others have been given too much power and aren't scrutinised for it? How does one ensure that morals and ethics are kept in line with what’s appropriate? Who decides what’s appropriate?

There were so many questionable variables that were explored that are parallel to our current climate.
It was absolutely thrilling to read.



Please deliver. The last book I read butchered any form of emotions I had so I need you to revive it.


Because the bookish-enabler known as Nani pretty much put a spell on me and so I bought the book.

I swear the hype better be real for this. My heart is too weak to handle disappointment.
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
288 reviews561 followers
June 20, 2021
"Good afternoon, good people. Your lives are about to change in a fundamental way."
"Be good or the Grande Dame will get you"

Even with all the hype behind this book, which is further supported by a very high rating, I was not expecting a lot from Scythe. The description of the book says, that it is about a future world, where humanity has conquered everything, including death, which didn't appear particularly original, nor intriguing, for, I feel like these concepts have already been thoroughly explored by many authors. This book is anything but that! I loved almost everything about Scythe.

Citra was well know for her temper. It often arrived before reason, and left only after the damage was done.

Let's start with the characters. I liked them all. Most of the main characters were interesting, vivid, and had a nice range of personalities. It would have been even better if the villain, Goddard, had some more complexity to his character, but he served his purpose as far as the plot was concerned. However, if I had to select a weakness in this book, it would have been the characters. They were not bad by any means, but do fall behind compared to other aspects, as everything else was near perfect. That being said, considering the way things ended, there is a lot of potential for some of the characters to develop in next books.

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

But, what stood out the most in Scythe was the plot-line. It felt original, and used a very fascinating concept to move along. I'm certain, that most readers are going to be absorbed after the first couple of pages. Shusterman's writing style is quite good. From the outset, it was evident that he has got his plot figured out perfectly, considering how the events unfolded in a smooth flow. The author never rushed anything, nor lingered more than necessary, to give a nice pace to the story.

"People believe what they want to believe."

Though the underlying concept could have been expanded in a myriad directions, he has chosen his paths carefully, to make everything seems more realistic, and not too overwhelming. There were plenty of twists - including two or three major ones that I really loved - to make sure nothing was predictable. Building up of suspense until the end was well managed, leading to a very satisfying end. I was surprised not to see any cliffhangers at finish, but even without that, most of the readers will probably jump to the next immediately. There is a lot of unexplored territory to investigate! Base on this first promising book, I'm expecting many great things from this series.

"Death makes the whole world kin."

Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,540 reviews9,969 followers
December 22, 2017
Re-Read on Audio because the 2nd books comes soon =)

Here's the youtube video of the book. It's pretty awesome!


I freaking love this book!


Citra and Rowen are two teenagers who get the pleasantry of meeting the honorable Scythe Faraday. No one wants to run into a scythe, much less talk to one or spend any kind of time with one. They have the ability to kill you if they see fit. That is their duty. But Citra and Rowan had the chance to meet this particular scythe and they were both not very pleasant to him. In some cases this could mean they would be gleaned depending on the unpleasantness, but Scythe Faraday was taken with these two individuals and brought them both under his wing as apprentices. Of course neither of them wanted to be apprentices and possibly become scythes themselves. Although there could only be one and it's not the norm for a scythe to take on two apprentices, but such is life.


To be a scythe you have to give up many things, but they are necessary in this new world where there are no illnesses and you do not die. So there has to be an executioner if you will. There are some evil scythes in the book that enjoy the killing and this goes against their creed but everything works out at some point.

I love these characters. I loved them so much. Citra and Rowen are just awesome and Honorable Scythe Faraday is awesome too. Even though he is a killer and has lived hundreds of years, he's a nice man and JUST READ THE BOOK!

Some things happen and Citra and Rowen get separated and are training under different scythes. Citra is under Honorable Scythe Curie and Rowen gets the evil Scythe Goddard <--- I'm not even calling him honorable. He's a twat!

There is a lot more going on in the book and reasons for this that and the other but you can read all of that for yourself.

For me, the book was awesome and that's all I care about. And that ending . . .


MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Kai Spellmeier.
Author 6 books13.7k followers
November 13, 2020
( • . •)
/ > 📕Kelly, can u handle this?

( • . •)
/ > 📕Michelle, can u handle this?

( • . •)
/ > 📕 Beyoncé, can u handle this?

( •- •)
📕< \ I don’t think Kai can handle this


( • . •)
/>📕<\ Kai handled it.

and here is what he says:

Scythe was fun but not perfect. I enjoyed the dystopian world and the concept behind it: what if, instead of an apocalypse or WWIII, humanity's future turned out to be a bright one? Death is conquered, humanity has turned immortal, diseases have been wiped out, and where you might have been killed in a car accident in the "mortal age", now, you are can be revived in an instant.
To keep overpopulation in check, Scythedom has been created. At a young age, a few chosen ones are trained to "glean" people, to end their immortal lives forevermore. Citra and Rowan, the main characters, are two of the chosen ones. They are thrown into a world of corruption and deadly secrets.

What I like the most about this book turns out to be its biggest flaw at the same time: the pacing. It's quite fast-paced, which makes it an exciting read because so many things are happening. Then again, because so many things are happening, they become unbelievable, they feel forced and a little exaggerated. I would have loved to see a much slower setup. It would have given Citra and Rowan more depth, it would have added to the world-building, it would have left more room for them to develop a relationship that might eventually turn romantic. At this stage, the feelings they have for each other seem almost staged, because neither character was given enough time and room to really let their personality shine.

Furthermore, I think the Scythedome aka the society of Scythes would have needed a little tweaking. It is such a corrupt system - which, of course, this book is all about - that its existence or creation does not make sense to me in the first place. The Scythes, who are supposed to be wise, well-trained, and therefore very respected people, are actually naive, gullible, and easily manipulated. It did not seem credible to me.

And one last issue that I had with this world: if this is the peak of humanity, why is everything still divided into male and female? A gender-revolution must have happened centuries ago. Where are the non-binary characters? Why is everybody still so very straight?

Okay, I know I talked a lot about this book's flaws and it may seem that I did not actually enjoy it but, on the contrary, I really liked it. It was a new take on dystopia, it had lots of interesting characters (e.g. Scythe Curie or Volta) and great plot twists. I was hooked from the first page and liked where the story went from there on.

I wonder if we will really get to see the film adaption of this book. You can never really tell because so many rights are sold, so many books are optioned for films or TV shows, so many scripts are written, but most of them don't even make it as far as a casting. And if they do, it is not guaranteed that the adaption will be good - most times they aren't. I would still love to see it happen. All we can do is wait and see.

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Profile Image for Irina.
98 reviews153 followers
October 28, 2020

From all the reviews I expected this book to be good but not this good.
I went in completely blind and this know anything about the plot and it was the best decision because you can't explain a book like this.
At some points I felt so stressed while reading becaude of the plot twist that I just had to put down the book and have a breather. This book was just crazy from begging to end and now I just can't wait to read the next one.
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
548 reviews34.7k followers
February 23, 2020
“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.”

Every once in a while there comes a book I’m not prepared for and I guess this year this nomination goes to “Scythe”. I read the blurb and the idea sounded intriguing, all of my fellow goodreaders seemed to enjoy it and so I didn’t even hesitate when I decided to put the book on “My Book List 2020”. So much to the thought process that led me to read this book.

What I didn’t know and therefore didn’t take into account was how invested I would be! I mean HOLY FEAKING MOLY!!! This was one hell of a freaky ride and even though my mind is reeling faster than a rat race I still loved every second of it. There were plenty of moments I thought I’d go bananas and even though the plot twists in “Scythe” weren’t as brutal as in – let’s say “Illuminae” – they were still pretty ferocious! Like, really, really, fierce. *lol*

I lost count of how often I went all “WHAT??!! NO!!! THIS CAN’T BE TRUE!” and “ADSFJKLMNÖAKDJASKDFJ” because I just couldn’t put my exasperation into words! If you take a closer look at my updates while I read the book you might get an idea though! ;-P Still, regardless of my crazy reactions this book was nothing but amazing! I loved how it made me think and question the decisions of the MCs and I adored that even though at first everything in this world seemed to be black and white it ultimately turned out to be all different shades of grey! From light grey to dark-grey and everything in between. Okay, admittedly there was one character that was completely black but I’ll get to that in my characters section.

So without further ado, let’s get ready to rumble!

The characters:

Beware! You are about to enter the all-seeing and all-knowing Thunderhead! Nothing is secret in here and spoilers will hit you at every corner! If you’re not ready to know it all you better retreat and come back another time! ;-P

Citra Terranova:

”You see through the facades of the world, Citra Terranova. You’d make a good scythe.”
Citra recoiled. “I’d never want to be one.”
“That,” he said, “is the first requirement.”
Then he left to kill their neighbor.

I just noticed that this is the only quote I wrote down when it comes to Citra! Which is pretty strange but then again I think nothing gives a better first impression about her character than this statement. Citra doesn’t want to be a Scythe and when she starts her apprenticeship with Scythe Faraday she always seems to ask the right questions. Citra was a really interesting character because she never took things for granted. There was always her curiosity that caused her to second guess decisions others made and I loved to watch how she grew into her role! I’m sure she’ll make a really good Scythe and I have absolutely no doubt that she’ll glean with compassion. Citra was lucky to have Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie as her mentors and boy did I wish Rowan would have had the same training! >_<

Rowan Damisch:

”Can you at least give him a few minutes to prepare?” Rowan asked.
“Are you telling me how to do my job?”
“I’m asking you for some mercy!”

I LOVED ROWAN!!!! Mostly because I could relate to him so much! That boy had guts and whilst Citra asked the right questions he refused to make the wrong decisions. <3 I hated that he became Scythe Goddard’s apprentice and I felt so damn sorry for him! I wish he would have gotten a nice Scythe like Curie but of course he had to end up with Goddard. =(( I swear I felt so much with him. He had to survive his apprenticeship with that despicable man and all the time he knew that he’d eventually die at the hands of Citra in the end. For Rowan there was no doubt that she’d become a Scythe and it broke my heart!!! T_T His constant fight against becoming a monster was so painful to watch. It were his circumstances that forced him to act in a way he never wanted to and it were his circumstances that made him the man he became at the end. Gosh, my heart is still bleeding for him! There is so much good in Rowan and no one is able to see it because they only see Scythe Goddard’s training. It’s so unfair, I can’t even!!!!! ADFLKASDFJASLKDFJASDLKFSAJDF! Erm, yes, I guess it’s obvious that I still feel very strongly about this! *lol* My poor boy! *sobs* Also Scythe Volta… I’ll never get over his death. He was so broken at the end. T_T

”Numb. Rowan could feel himself growing numb – and while it might have been a good thing for his beleaguered sanity, it was not a good thing for his soul.”

”And Rowan found himself smiling. Something had torn loose inside of him. He didn’t know whether it was a good thing or not. And while part of him felt like falling to his knees and hurling up breakfast, another part of him wanted to howl to the moon like a wolf.”

”He was too quick. He hurled himself like a fireball down the center aisle. The scythes closest to him leaped into action, trying to stop him, but he kicked and spun, and sliced and flipped. No one could get a hand on him. To Scythe Anastasia he seemed some deadly force of nature.”

Scythe Goddard:

”Let’s clarify,” Goddard said calmly. “We are not here to barter and bargain. We are scythes – which means that by law, anything we want we can take. Any life we wish to end, we will. Simple as that. You have no power here. Do I make myself clear?”

I ABSOLUTELY HATED THIS MAN!!! With the fierce fire of a thousand hells and the burning eternity of the sun!! ARGH!!! Just to think about him already makes me angry! How dare he to play god? How dare he to kill for pleasure?! In his hands Scythedom became nothing but a brutal sport! He misused his power in the worst possible way and I was not okay with his training methods! Those people they killed for sport were still living, breathing and feeling human beings! Just because they could be revived doesn’t mean that it was okay to slaughter them like that. His teachings were so unacceptable and morally reprehensible, I have no words!!! The problem with Goddard was that between his madness and his wish to feel pleasure when he did this job, there were still moments when his words rang true and appealed to people like us who still live in a world in which you feel pain and die. I mean if you can live forever and never have to worry about death when you do something stupid, are you even capable of enjoying your life? Isn’t every day just like the last? There comes a certain thrill with being mortal and I suppose they lost this after the Thunderhead and Scythedom were invented. So maybe people like Goddard were a homemade problem of the invention of those two? I dunno. Boy, this book made me think so much. >_<

”Take great satisfaction and pleasure in this, Rowan,” said Scythe Goddard, “or you’ll be nothing more than a killing machine.”

”We are angels of death,” said Scythe Goddard. “It is only fitting that we swoop in from the heavens.”

Scythe Faraday:

”Ha!” said the unsavoury, puffing up at his strategic triumph. “I’ve got immunity for a year – and you can’t undo it! I know the rules!”
Scythe Faraday was unfazed. “Yes, good for you,” he said. “You have three hundred sixty-five days of immunity.” And then, looking him in the eye, said, “And I’ll be seeing you on day three hundred sixty-six.”

I really liked Scythe Faraday and the way he taught Citra and Rowan. If there would have been more Scythes like him they probably would have never had the trouble with Scythe Goddard. Faraday still had compassion for the people he gleaned even though I’ve to admit that I sometimes didn’t like the way he did it. I understand that he wanted to give every person an individual death because in our world people die from various and different reasons and he wanted to keep close to the origins of mortality. I would have never been able to drown someone though. It’s a cruel way to go and if the people you glean are already afraid of you it would have been merciful to gift them with a quick death. I mean the moment a Scythe tells you that you’re going to be gleaned you feel afraid, you feel all those feelings you eluded for decades, maybe even centuries. So they ARE scared shitless and worry about their family and friends. With the prospect of imminent death they become so very human again and I couldn’t for the life of me, glean them with a painful or cruel method. So yeah, I suppose even Scythe Faraday had his grey sides.

”Never lose your humanity,” Scythe Faraday had told him, “or you’ll be nothing more than a killing machine.”

Scythe Curie:

”The killers are rising to power,” Scythe Curie said. “And if they do, the days of this world will be very dark indeed. It is left to the truly honourable scythes to stand firm against it. I look forward to the day you join in that fight.”

Judging by the way Scythe Curie acted I would have never believed that she and Scythe Faraday had a romantic relationship! They did though and that was quite some revelation. *lol* I admit at first I was no big fan of her. I mean the first test Citra and Rowan had to take was so unfair! All the others got questions that had to do with their apprenticeship and Citra and Rowan got really personal questions no person in their right mind would have answered truthfully in a room full of Scythes! Like seriously! How could you even ask them a question like that!? I mean okay, Rowan’s question would have been easy to answer but still, I understand why he didn’t want to yell it out into the world. XD Still, the more I got to know Scythe Curie the better I began to understand her motives. I was glad that she didn’t only believe Citra but also helped her to escape into another country. The machinations of Scythe Goddard were quite effective but in the end Citra’s reputation was restored and no one believed that she killed Faraday. Jeez! His suicide was a surprise and that Citra was accused of murdering him was just the icing on the cake! I never saw those plot twists coming!

The relationships & ships:

Citra & Rowan:

”They were partners; they were adversaries – and Rowan found it increasingly hard to parse his feelings about her. All he knew was that he liked watching her write.”

Their relationship was doomed right from the moment they met! At first they had to compete for an apprenticeship neither of them even wanted and then they were sentenced to kill whoever failed to get said apprenticeship! Which was so UNFAIR I CAN’T EVEN!!!! Hell, was I angry when I read about the decision of the Conclave. How dare they to force them to make each other their first gleaning? ARGH!!! There were so many obstacles that got in their way and all I wanted was for them to be happy! No matter what happened, no matter how much they grew apart they still loved each other and this made all the difference! They trusted each other even though others didn’t and I loved them for their faith! <33 That moment when Rowan broke Citra’s neck though!!! AAKDFSAFJDSAKFDJ! I can’t believe he actually did this and I can’t believe Citra saw through it!!! And that FREAKING ENDING??!!! I was just glad I wasn’t on my lounger at my parent’s garden. Otherwise I would have swallowed about a thousand gnats. Yes, I was so gobsmacked I wasn’t able to close my mouth! *lol* Citra saving Rowan by getting his blood on her ring was such a calculated and smooth move I couldn’t help but be in awe of her genius! Just brilliant! Also they said I love you!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!! *dies a thousand deaths*

”It’s good to see you, Citra,” he said. “But it hurts to see you. It hurts a lot, and I don’t know what to do about it.”

He thought he could not be more impressed by her. She had just proved him wrong.
“I love you,” he said.
“Same here,” she responded. “Now get lost.”

Scythe Goddard & Rowan:

”That’s such a load of crap.” Rowan said, not even caring what response it might evoke.
Goddard merely raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps … but you can’t deny this is a turning point in your life, and every turning point must be marked by an event – one that burns itself into you as indelibly as a brand.”

O_o Their relationship was sooo twisted and it blew my mind big time. And their dynamic? Well, it was crazy! I mean Goddard was Rowan’s mentor and taught him all the wrong things, yet Rowan refused to become the killing machine Goddard wanted him to be. He became a killing machine with a conscience instead and I still don’t know if this is good or bad. Rowan certainly didn’t choose the easy path and I loved how he defied Goddard whenever he got a chance. Also one of the strangest things about their relationship was that Goddard actually seemed to be awed by Rowan’s skill. He was proud of him the way a parent would have been and he sort of admired him as well?! Their relationship was so weird… Poor Rowan, I guess in the end he partly became what he never wanted to be. The suicide of Scythe Volta was such a shock but what shocked me even more was how Rowan slaughtered Goddard and his followers. That chapter at the Tonist cult was so … OMG!! Hell, he killed them all and made it look like it was an accident! He killed Scythes and no one could prove it! JEEZ! He gleaned them and made sure that nothing of their remains was left so they couldn’t be resurrected again! ADLFASDFJSALDFJASLDFJALSDFJSALDFJ! I think I’ll never get over this! I love Rowan so much but this was so, so… wrong. ARGH! Also his name as a Scythe! Scythe Lucifer!!! So perfect but also so GAH! Seriously, I just can’t put my emotions into words. *pulls at hair*

”We could have been called reapers,” Goddard said, “but our founders saw fit to call us scythes – because we are the weapons in mankind’s immortal hand. You are a fine weapon, Rowan, sharp, and precise. And when you strike, you are glorious to behold.”

”I am what you made me,” he told Goddard. “And you’re right: I enjoyed that. I enjoyed that more than anything I’ve ever done in my life.”


The more I think about this book the more I get agitated! “Scythe” blew my mind in the best and worst possible way and I think it’s undeniable that it was thought-provoking as hell! It is one of those rare books that still resonates in your head even though you finished it weeks ago! It poses the right questions but leaves the answers up to you and I don’t know about you, but I for my part, am hooked! Suspenseful, mind blowing, thought-provoking and extremely unsettling! Ladies and Gents, this is the real deal! ;-)
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,316 reviews44.2k followers
May 10, 2022
I skip the auction part! Five gazillion stars! Sold!

This is deliciously mind blowing, entertaining, heart throbbing, visionary, intelligent, powerful and fantastic page-turner!

Can you hear the banging sounds? That’s me again! I’m so angry with myself to wait too long for reading this precious, amazingly yummy masterpiece at my tbr mountain( this is officially highest place on the earth. At the weekends I start to rent my tbr list to the climbers to exceed their records!)

Citra, powerful, straightforward, brave, disciplined and Rowan; loyal, honest, smart, depressed. I love how they compete each other. I think their romance parts are a little haphazardly developed because I still have doubts how they attracted each other and fell in love so quickly. But I love their story’s riveting progression. Especially the parts when they are separated and instructed by different scythes, I love to see how they grow instantly and start to carry the big burden of the profession they were chosen to perform!

The structure of the Scythedom and 10 commandments of Scythe world are impeccably builded. We’re talking about a future world already solved the crucial threats: There are no wars,hunger, plagues. If you have an accident, pushed down from stairs or crashed by a truck, don’t worry, they can fix you! But nobody wants to live in over populated world because resources are limited and somebody should be GLEANED! And scythes are for this job! So they’re both playing God as decision maker and grim reapers! What a fantastic job, I should check out my resume! (Kidding! I’ll never be fair by starting gleaning or cleaning my irritating neighbors!!!)

I haven’t read something provocatively intriguing, testing your conscious and your beliefs, values about human’s lives so intensely! Shusterman is a magician who easily touches the words, developing amazing, futuristic design and creative, exciting story-lines which you pray it never ends and in the meantime makes you curious what’s gonna happen next!

And of course I couldn’t expect more than this cliffhanger and surprising, witty ending!

Do I want to spend more time in Scythedom! Yes please, this is best holiday deal a person can get!!!
Profile Image for Helen 2.0.
417 reviews919 followers
August 14, 2023
Aug 2023


Jan 2018: Spontaneous reread in anticipation of Thunderhead :)

the thought process went a little like this -

Me: I should focus on my planned reads for this month and not get behind when we’re only 3 days into the new year!
Insidious inner voices: ssssssssssscythe!!!
Me: you make some really good points


Scythe defies all YA tropes and is incredibly quotable. What more can you ask for?

Exhibit A:
"I think all young women are cursed with a streak of unrelenting foolishness, and all young men are cursed with a streak of absolute stupidity."
"Welcome to life as a god," Scythe Volta said to him. While behind them the building burned to the ground.

The story takes place in a world beyond natural death, where disease and aging is eradicated and accidental death can be reversed in a hospital. It's a pretty great place to live, overall.
The concept of a B seat, where one had to sit between two other airplane passengers, had been eliminated along with other unpleasant things, like disease and government.
The only way to die permanently is to be murdered ("gleaned" is the euphemism used) by a Scythe, a socially condoned killer whose job is to keep the population in check. All of earth is ruled an AI called the Thunderhead, both an omniscient database and a conscious benevolent entity; the only thing not controlled by the Thunderhead is the Scythedom, which has a self-governing body reminiscent of the current US Congress. The action kicks in when two teenagers, Rowan and Citra, are chosen to become Scythe apprentices.

If, at this point, you're thinking, "Oh of course, I know this story type. They'll fall in love and it'll be star-crossed and I've definitely read this kind of book before." STOP. This book is full of surprises and ass-kicking plot twists that will blow your mind. Obviously since it concerns professional killers there is quite a bit of moral and philosophical talk, but it only adds to the unique value of Scythe.
Profile Image for Nicole.
514 reviews14.3k followers
July 25, 2023
No witaj, przyszła ulubiona trylogio!
Profile Image for Sabaa Tahir.
Author 22 books32.2k followers
February 10, 2017
I didn't know what to expect going into this book, and wanted to read it because 1. Neal Shusterman is an incredible writer and 2. Anything with a scythe on the cover has my interest.

This turned out to be a fascinating book that made me think much more deeply about death, but more importantly, about modern life and how the challenges we face in it are what make it worth living. Neal creates a truly original utopian world that looks great on the surface, but has a pretty nasty underbelly (like all realistic utopias.) The politics in the world of Scythes is intricate and realistic and well done. The characters were quite distinct (it's a dual narrative) and their development is portrayed very honestly. Though there were a few plot devices I wasn't quite sure about at first, they all smoothed out in the end to make for a book that's fast-paced, but also deeply thoughtful. Definitely recommend this one.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
721 reviews1,121 followers
September 2, 2019

“Humanity is innocent; humanity is guilty, and both states are undeniably true.”

This book got me through my 2 hour long delay at the airport on my way back from Turkey. I’d heard such good things, I had pretty high hopes, and I was not disappointed.

In a world where humans have conquered death, Scythes are chosen to glean which effectively means to methodically kill people, to ensure that the Earth’s population doesn’t overrun. All matters of life are now controlled by the Thunderhead – a conscious AI that handles all food and wealth distribution, medical care and anything else required for living on Earth.
Rowan and Citra are chosen by Scythe Faraday to be apprentice Scythes, to learn what it takes to become a Scythe, and Faraday will select one of them in the end to become a fully pledged Scythe. However, the Scythedom is full of corruption, and the other Scythes decide that to spice things up, the winner must Glean the loser.

Rowan and Citra are now in a battle for their lives, and as the evil within the Scythedom grows, there is worry for its future. Scythes than Glean hundreds or thousands of people at a time, Scythes that deliberately choose unnecessarily cruel methods for their Gleaning, Scythes that have begun to lose their humanity.

This was such a unique concept. It’s pretty dark, but so believable; a dystopia handled with enough fear and detail to weave an intricate tale of what would happen to humans if we no longer had natural death.

4 stars!
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
May 13, 2021
Humanity has reached the great plateau - there's truly nothing left to do. They've conquered world hunger, disease, war....even death itself.

The world is at a standstill and there truly isn't a thing left to do.

But...such begs the question.

If the world is plateauing...how would you deal with population control?

The answer is scythes - the only approved way to render someone dead - not deadish, but actually dead.

Citra and Rowan are both chosen to be apprenticed under the honorable scythe Faraday. An older scythe who teaches them the art of gleaning - with heavy emphasis on respect and honesty.

And as they learn the practice, they begin to understand and appreciate the nobility and strength that one needs to undergo such a career.

However, something nefarious is underfoot. Not all scythes are as good as Faraday...in fact, some of them are just plain murderous.

All in all, I was pretty dang impressed with this book.

It started really slow - and it was almost to the point that I was going to put it down and just not deal with it for a while...but then...wow.

The book turned around so well at the halfway point and then boom-boom-boom - one sucker punch to the gut after another.

It was absolutely amazing.
I literally could not want for any more.

Now excuse me, book 2 is calling my name!

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews9,006 followers
May 29, 2017
This book was a very pleasant surprise! Since the YA library of fiction has become saturated with dystopian tales, it is often hard to find originality. Because of that, the stories quickly become boring because we have "been there, done that". That is not the case here!

Key pros:
- Unique story, well presented
- Great characters
- Action and suspense
- Little (if any) filler
- Left me wanting more

Key con:
- St. Louis is not the capital of Missouri

If you are a fan of YA - especially YA dystopian fiction - you owe it to yourself to check this out. I am 99.9% sure you will love this, too.
Profile Image for Ikram.
211 reviews1,281 followers
March 14, 2018

Human: Did you hear that?
Me: Yeah, that was just the sound of my expectations shattering on the concrete after jumping from the tenth floor.


Where do I even start?

Somebody please explain the hype to me because I honestly don’t get it. Usually when I dislike a popular book, I can at least see why other people might enjoy it. This time however, I do not see it.

Okay! Before anyone bites my head off, let me just explain everything I disliked about the book.

The writing style

"Rowan let out his breath, not even realizing he had been holding it." 


Somebody glean me before I glean myself.

➨Why is this sentence still a thing? Why is it still legal to use? I thought the human race had moved on from this. I thought we were making progress! *Lets out a breath she perfectly knew she had been holding*

If it wasn’t for the hype, I would have DNFed it right after reading that sentence. You just can’t expect anything good to come out of a book that has the holding breath sentence, that’s just not possible. I should have known better.

➨There’s also something about the head-hopping/ omniscient narration(?) that just rubbed me the wrong way. We kept randomly jumping from one character’s head to the next and this might be just a personal preference thing, but I did not enjoy it at all.

The Romance
➨It’s been a while since I read a romance that felt this cringy. To be fair, it takes a lot for me to like the romance in any book. What can I say, I have high standards when it comes to romance (blame Colleen Hoover). But, I can tell you this isn’t me being picky about my ships. The romance in this book felt extremely forced, insta-lovey and just weird at times. I basically skimmed most of the second half of the book, but I swear there was something in there about her licking his blood.

The Plot
➨Even though this book is essentially about murdering people, it’s surprisingly uneventful. I found myself bored out of my mind for a good chunk of the book and that’s just something I never expected based on the premise.

➨The amount of plot holes in this book is just concerning. There were a lot of things that didn’t add up and so many ‘rules’ of the world that were just ignored whenever convenient. UGH.

➨Also, every single “plot twist” in this book can be seen from two miles away. Without glasses. In the dark. Just sayin’.

Overall, Scythe was not for me. If you’ve enjoyed this book, please let me know in the comments what aspects of it you liked. I would genuinely love to know.

Thanks for reading! Please share your thoughts.

I remember loving Unwind by Neal Shusterman so I'm very excited to dive into his newer series. I've heard great things about it so let's see how I feel about it.

Profile Image for Cindy.
407 reviews116k followers
June 6, 2017
- The world-building is surprisingly unique and deep for a YA dystopian novel. Shusterman goes beyond the dystopian hook and explores the dynamics of an immortal society that implements controlled deaths.
- My favorite parts were the journal excerpts from the scythes - they really strengthen the theme of the book and ask readers to think more critically about morality.
- The side characters (Curie, Faraday, and Goddard) and their different ideologies are interesting to read about - more so than the main characters themselves. I'd be willing to read standalone books from their perspectives.
- Very quotable.

- The main characters and their dynamic are basically the Diet Coke version of Katniss and Peeta. Their romance is completely unnecessary and they would have fared better as childhood friends.
- The universe is portrayed as very black and white, where scythes are either obviously good or bad. There aren't any gray areas, which would have helped make the story deeper.
- The inner turmoil that Rowan faces is told but not shown. He constantly frets about turning evil and enjoying his misdeeds, but never actually does so - this eliminates any tension of his character turning bad because he still stays pretty vanilla.
Profile Image for Christina Loeffler.
143 reviews17.3k followers
November 13, 2018
5, I am dead now and this review is my eulogy, never has a rating been easier stars!!!

Full review along with a recipe for my Mimi's chicken noodle soup on my blog Recipe & a Read!

Christina Loeffler (Jones) – Born: September, 21 1989. Died: November, 6 2018. Cause of Death: Scythe by Neal Shusterman.

Ok, ok, all jokes aside I’m obviously not dead because I still have to finish the second installment of this series! However, this book SLAYED me with it’s sheer magnificence and brilliance. The world building was epic beyond all reason, the character development was top notch, the forward progression was steady without sacrificing any other areas of the story and the writing was spectacular.

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.

Scythe takes place in a distant future where humans have cured the earth of nearly all strife. Disease, aging and even accidental (or purposeful) death has been completely eradicated. The one issue that is left in question is population control. Enter: Scythes. Scythes are trained in the art of death and are charged with the “gleaning” (killing) of citizens of the world in order to keep the population in check. Earth is now ruled by an AI named the Thunderhead (developed from the cloud) and the only thing the Thunderhead has no control, say or sway in – is the Scythedom.

This premise is what initially drew me into this read and what kept me the most intrigued throughout. The unique vision Shusterman puts forth with the Scythedom and the Scythe’s in general is absolutely riveting. Each Scythe has their own moral code, their own compass for how they choose which citizens to glean and how to glean them. The development into this world and the choices made by it’s characters is absolutely inspired.

Without the threat of suffering, we can’t experience true joy.

Our main players in this read are Citra and Rowan – both young, vibrant and ballsy teens who are chosen by Scythe Faraday to apprentice to be Scythes. Citra nor Rowan particularly want to become Scythe apprentices but they ultimately take the leap and begin a journey that is full of incredible twists and turns. If you’re thinking to yourself any of the following: A) obvi they fall in love B) I am not really into YA or Fantasy, I don’t think this is going to be up my alley or C) meh, I can already tell how this is going to end – let me tell you, you are dead ass wrong my dude – this is not a predictable novel.

While this is ticketed as young-adult, and it is without a doubt a fantasy novel, you’d absolutely be missing out if you didn’t pick it up. It defies all of the traditional YA / Fantasy tropes that so many novels fall into and was a complete and total slam dunk. The development into Citra and Rowans story lines were just as compelling as the world building. This isn’t an all out race to the finish with cheap thrills along the way – this was an incredibly in-depth look into a unique world that had its twists and turns expertly placed and that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Innocence is doomed to die a senseless death at our own hands, a casualty of the mistakes we can never undo. So we lay to rest the wide-eyed wonder we once thrived upon, replacing it with the scars of which we never speak, too knotted for any amount of technology to repair.

If you can’t tell by now, I am completely enamored with this book. There is a subtlety here that surprised and impressed me. The lessons that can be taken away from this story are numerous, and their depth was incredible. I found myself pondering the questions and situations presented and asking myself if I would make the same choices given the same circumstances. I read this one with my husband and it’s a real treat to be able to discuss the ins and outs of the moral dilemmas presented and I highly suggest reading it with others because the discussion was almost as much fun as reading it!

Along with the development into the Scythedom, the world, and our main characters we also learn that there is upheaval going within the Scythe’s ranks. There is the old-guard and the new-guard and soon Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another as the fight to hold on to morality in the face of immortality collapses upon one another. The story lines, the characters, the world and the development into this entire book was so solid I’m not sure I have even one complaint to make. Scythe asks difficult questions and doesn’t spoon feed the reader the answers, but rather allows the reader to meditate on the moral dilemmas presented on their own.

Death makes the whole world kin.

In the end, I have been completely taken by this book. I immediately requested the next installment from the library and moved it ahead of some other scheduled reads because I just can’t step away from it. If you love good books, regardless of your typical genres – I can’t suggest picking this one up enough!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.8k followers
June 21, 2018
i honestly had no expectations for this book whatsoever, so i think its pretty safe to say that this was so much better than i thought it would be! and i can definitely understand the hype - the concept was just so fascinating. maybe its because i havent read a dystopian novel in quite some time, but i found this to be so interesting!

the writing was so nicely done, as well. it was quite crafty in a way - i felt like there were so many little cliffhangers throughout the book that i had the immense need to just read without stopping. however, i could have done without the journal entries before each chapter (i actually started skipping them once i realised they werent relevant to the immediate plot).

overall, this was quite enjoyable, and im so glad the second book recently came out because now i dont have to wait to find out what happens next!!

4 stars
Profile Image for Bibi.
1,288 reviews3,230 followers
September 7, 2020
A world where natural death is obsolete thereby requiring a dedicated use of "Sycthes" (who are the only ones authorised to kill) and while most Scythes honour the process, there are a few bad apples who use their powers for evil.

And so the killing ensues. Mass killings, done in the name of upholding the law and on I read until, subconsciously, gradually, I found myself falling into a state of despair. It took a good 2 hours before realizing I didn't really need to read this book (why would anyone want to read about the art of death and gleanings?).

I can't describe the overwhelming melancholy this evoked, and for my sanity, I have to set this aside. DNF @ 45%
Profile Image for ❄️BooksofRadiance❄️.
614 reviews764 followers
January 5, 2023
Third time reading and still damn perfect. Minus the ‘romance’🤷‍♀️ which was unnecessary to begin with.



This month has been nothing short of ‘surprise the shit outa’ Nani, month’ and I’m here here for it! Please, keep ‘em coming. The good ones that is; I don’t want to leave anything to chance.

People, this was cray!!!
And to think I looked down my nose at it for over a year. I could be such a pea-brain sometimes.

What I absolutely loved above all was the world. The utterly believable, meticulously woven, intricately fleshed out world that left nothing to chance.

What a sobering and terrifying thought that it could, one day, all come to be true. All of it; I could picture it as I was reading and nothing felt too far fetched nor fantasy-esque; except, of course, for the death conquering thing. Death, I’m afraid, is just an inevitable consequence of life and conquering it. Just. Ain’t. in our future. And thank heavens for that!

Anyhow, I also loved the characters, more so the side cast than the leads, if I’m being honest.
But out of Rowan and Citra, the two MCs, I thought Rowan’s (shaky) journey was one of the best parts of the novel. His storyline was so much more compelling and memorable because of his internal conflicts. I just had such profound empathy for the poor dude because he was in the throes of intense inner conflict.
He had doubts, misgivings, second thoughts, apprehension, fear, guilt pangs, remorse, the whole nine yards; which is exactly why I loved him so. I’m quite tired of the all-knowing, fearless, brave hero who could do no wrong.

Citra on the other hand was almost the exact opposite of Rowan and my emotional connection with her was nowhere near Rowan’s.
I liked her just fine; she had a sense of justice but she was your everyday YA heroine - a sharp-witted, strong-minded impulsive heroine, which - kudos and all but in comparison to Rowan and his character growth, her storyline pales almost in all aspects. Emphasis on almost.
She didn’t go through half the hardships he did, thus, there was little growth there.

All in all, a damn fantastic read that threw me for a loop. I’m still SO SURPRISED at how much I enjoyed this.
Profile Image for Samantha.
441 reviews16.8k followers
April 20, 2021
4.5 stars

TW: suicide; death of children

While there were a few things that felt a little two dimensional, I overall really enjoyed this discussion of a utopian future that uses ordained “reapers” as the only means to death in society and what that means for both society and the people in this organization. There were a number of twists I didn’t see coming, and it even ended in a way that it could be read as a stand-alone, which I appreciate.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
554 reviews60.6k followers
September 20, 2017

It seems to be a thing for me. I love the ideas of Neal Shusterman but I'm never sure I end up loving the books.
I'm not sure I will continue the series but if the premise intrigues you, give it a shot!
Profile Image for emily.
255 reviews2,199 followers
January 27, 2019
ok. so here's the deal.

i think my main problem with this book were the characters: citra and rowan are literally so bland, there's nothing remotely interesting about either of them. i'm just glad i didn't get to the romance part yet because JESUS CHRIST i don't know if i could've handled it.

also, the whole concept of the book might sound good but i feel like it was executed kinda badly?? some of the things are just way too far-fetched and unbelievable to me. i don't know. i liked the idea but i felt myself being kind of detached from the whole thing.

i can see myself giving this one more try in the future (esp bc the movie rights were sold, yes, you get that COIN sir neal shusterman), but for now i don't have the energy to read a thing that isn't that enjoyable to me.

and that's that on that!

rating: ★★
Profile Image for Evgnossia O'Hara.
102 reviews206 followers
June 16, 2018
See this review on my BookTube channel here. It's in Greek but, I plan a lot of interesting things in English as well :)

Review was originally published on my Blog Through the Chapters

I’m in minority given the high ratings and the positives reviews on this book, but I want to be honest regarding my reading experience and the truth is that I struggled reading Shythe. The premise was interesting, but it was the only interesting part of the story. You might as well read the synopsis and mark the book as “read”.

So, it is a story about a utopian community where people have conquered hunger, disease, war, misery and even death. The only way to control the increase of population is by having people, also known as Shythes, to kill other people. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe. Basically, the whole book – 435 pages – is about their apprenticeship and a controversial love story.

The Shythes are divided into two categories. The empathetic ones, who glean (a term they used instead of murder) because they have to; quickly, painless, demonstrating their soft-hearts for sobbing after the execution of their victims. After the “mandatory” duty, they attend the funerals to show off their superiority and to remind humanity, that this is the way the things work. And thus, implying their “unwillingness” to act in these patterns and stressing their roles as means, since they care about the greater good of the society – the freaking hypocrites.

“It is the most difficult thing a person can be asked to do. And knowing that it is for the greater good doesn’t make it any easier.”


“Will the scythe who replaces me be as compassionate and fair?”

Is it possible to be compassionate and fair when it comes to the deprivation of human life?

The second category consists of the evils, the serial killers, the psychopaths, who usually are involved in massacres (Jesus freaking Christ). Oh, did I mention that they have a “system” to choose the next victim? A lame “system”, which can somehow excuse the fact they are cold-blooded killers and not the angels of death, who were chosen to maintain the stability. However, the reality is much simpler. They were chosen to kill, just to spice up the peaceful existence in the utopian world they existed. I see them as assassins, who had been selected by a perverted “government”, to keep the people under control and fear. To feel their unlimited power and to enjoy the act of killing other people, because they just could, without any impact.


What about the romance? Sorry, was there any romance? The main characters were indifferent to me. I won’t even refer to that kiss. The confession of their feelings seemed rushed and forced to me. How did they fall in love since there wasn’t even a platonic chemistry between them? Sorry, but it is not enough for me when it comes to romance.

One of the reasons I picked this book up was the expectation of some really awesome plot twists. Yes, I agree that my mind was blown due to the amount of cliché twists I witnessed. I saw them coming from a mile away, given the fact I’m myopic.


Finally, I want to point out the frustrating behaviour of the ordinary people, who consider “Shythes” as celebrities. They admire them, they meet them with applauds on the “red carpet”. The “ordinary”, immortal humans entertain themselves by watching indifferently the blood bath the murderers create. The utopia they are living in made them heartless, apathetic towards their fellow beings, as soon as they have their immunity, and therefore safety for a year or so. They have transformed into a crooked community, which is trying to gain the patronage of the shythes by bribing and serving them. The aforementioned are painfully familiar and the most intimidating part of the story, since it describes perfectly the real world. They (we) know, they (we) understand, and still they (we) do it.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you won’t glean me due to my extremely negative review.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,487 reviews79.1k followers
January 31, 2020
OOP. This was our February buddy read on Instagram, and I finished the entire book before the month technically started. 😳😳😳 Needless to say, this was impossible to put down, and I'm itching to sneak off and start Thunderhead immediately. If for some reason you haven't read this series yet, may I humbly recommend the audio version? Greg Tremblay is an incredible narrator and brought the reading of this story to the next level.
Profile Image for Cecilia.
289 reviews292 followers
December 7, 2022
Creo que he leído el libro en menos de un día, al terminarlo quede así: ¿ya se ha acabado? Y es que me dejo con ansias de ¡¡¡necesito mucho más!!!

Decir que la historia me ha encantado es poco, el mundo futurista en el cual nos sumerge el autor es demasiado fascinante; es decir, en resumen la humanidad ha conseguido eliminar las enfermedades y con ellos ya no existe la muerte natural, por tanto, para que el mundo no colapse y pueda seguir funcionando deben aparecer los "segadores".

Respecto a la construcción de los personajes, estos han sido bastante bien logrados, en donde consigues encariñarte con unos y odiar a otros, y esto solo al pasar unas pocas páginas. En cuanto a los protagonistas, ambos aprendices para llegar a ser segadores, nos encontramos con Rowan, quien es bastante impopular tanto a nivel familiar como académico, pero que a través de su preparación consigue una evolución impresionante llegando a ser alguien fuerte, metódico, intentando no dejar su parte moral de lado. Por otro lado, nos describen a Citra, como alguien madura, inteligente, competitiva, empoderada y que ha contado con todo el apoyo familiar desde su infancia.

Con ambos protagonistas llegue a empatizar desde el primer momento, sufriendo con ellos a los largo de la historia, esperando que se desarrolle ese romance que casi no llega a ocurrir; no obstante, debo admitir qué considero a Rowan como el personaje mejor desarrollado.

En conclusión, es una distopia oscura, cruel, compleja, pero que nos hace reflexionar, a través de los pensamientos de los personajes, acerca de la vida, la muerte, la moralidad, el poder y la ética.

Es la primera vez que leo al autor, pero pretendo leer los otros dos libros, ya que necesito saber cómo continua esta historia!
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