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Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

504 pages, Hardcover

First published January 9, 2018

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About the author

Neal Shusterman

86 books25.3k followers
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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5 stars
84,795 (53%)
4 stars
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3 stars
14,455 (9%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 21,810 reviews
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
316 reviews115k followers
August 13, 2018
Edit 4/7 - After raving about this book for a video review (which you can find here: https://youtu.be/diBtmttjbSs), I decided to raise my rating to 5 stars. Despite that I didn't enjoy Thunderhead EXACTLY as much as Scythe, I feel the book itself is nearly flawless and one of the greatest YA books on the market. This story is too well-written for me to be comfortable giving it any less of a rating.

A very satisfying sequel!! I didn’t enjoy Thunderhead AS MUCH as Scythe (It is a TOUGH book to follow up) but it was still a great novel!!

I definitely enjoyed seeing how the world of the Scythedom expanded after the conclusion of Scythe. Conflicts deepen, the Scythe divides even further, and there are even more questions introduced on how the Scythedom should be conducted! Also, there is a lot of political intrigue added in the sequel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. As my favorite part of book one was the world, I’m very pleased with how it has continued to develop through the sequel.

Thunderhead introduces a new main character named Grayson into the story who we follow through some previously uncharted territory. While I grew to like Grayson by the end, I wasn’t overjoyed by his introduction to the story. I did not care for him nearly as much as Citra and Rowan and I felt his presence overtook much of the story. I understand the need for his perspective in providing insight on other parts of the story ARC, but it wasn’t my favorite element.

Finally, the ending was PHENOMENAL. I cannot begin to speculate on how book three will move forward with all of the events that happened within the last few chapters of the book. A seriously well done ending with some fantastic cliffhangers. The ending absolutely made up for some of my lesser-favorite parts of the book.

Overall, I enjoyed Thunderhead. There is definitely a bit of “second-book syndrome” going on, but overall a good sequel. I would totally recommend continuing with this series if you enjoyed Scythe!!

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 Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,540 reviews9,969 followers
October 28, 2019

"Scythe Johannes Brahms, you are accused of abusing your position and multiple crimes against humanity."
"How dare you!" Brahms gasped. "Who are you to accuse me?" He struggled, trying to rally strength, but it was no use. The painkillers that were in his system were filling his responses. His muscles were weak and useless to him now.
"I think you know who I am," the young man said. "Let me hear you say it."
"I will not!" Brahms said, determined not to give him the satisfaction. But the boy in black jammed a knee so powerfully into Brahm's chest that he thought his heart would stop. More pain nanites. More opiates. Brahm's head was swimming. He had no choice but to comply.
"Lucifer," he gasped. "Scythe Lucifer."

Rowan is doing his own thing and I just love him! Love him! There wasn't enough of him in the book though.

Scythe Anatasia (Citra) has her own way of gleaning people, which has the scythedom in a uproar. Actually, Rowan and Citra have them in an uproar.

We have the Thunderhead giving us tidbits here and there and he's using someone to try to sort things out.

I enjoyed Greyson in the book. He had all kinds of stuff going on with him and that ending with him! What!?

Actually, that ending, PERIOD! There was some sadness there =( I can't even begin to imagine what will happen in the next book! I hope everything will be okay!!! 😫😫

Overall, I enjoyed it, but I just wish there were a bit more to it. It was a little slow in some areas for me.

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

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

I can't believe what I just read

This is quickly becoming my favorite series EVER

I actually thought I will not enjoy this book as much as the first one because the first half was a little boring but the second half was the best thing that I have ever read and that's why this piece of writing deserves a million starts.
I can't remember the last time I was so invested in a story in this way.
I have so many emotions over this book and these characters that I don't know how to express them.
I'm not ready to read the next one because who knows what expects me there.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,211 reviews19.7k followers
December 31, 2019
My original review still stands. Shusterman played us. Hard! That ending is one of the best and psychotic endings I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

I can't wait to see what Shusterman's brilliant mind has come up with for book three. There is SO much to look forward to!



My mind! What does this all mean? How will everything be resolved in the third book?!

I thought I could review this, but I can't really. So just pick up this series, I implore you.


Book one obliterated me.
This book will probably finish me.


I’m not even halfway through Scythe and I just ordered the sequel because the book is that stupidly good!
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews9,007 followers
December 5, 2018
5+ Stars – EXCELLENT!

Update 12/5/2018 - Should have won the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy Category! In my heart, it is the winner!

First of all – that cover . . . beautiful! It is one of my favorite covers of the past few years. An improvement on the cover of the first book – and that cover was pretty awesome, too. This cover makes you want to read this book even if you have no idea what the book is about. In this case you can judge a book by its cover!

A fantastic continuation of the story from book one; I would have to say it is even better than the first. The author has done a great job of carrying the story over, keeping it fresh, keeping it creative, and not losing any momentum. With that in mind, I can easily say this is one of the best sequels I have ever read. (i.e. Empire Strikes Back is to Star Wars: A New Hope as Thunderhead is to Scythe).

I am trying to come up with other positive adjectives so I can describe this story. The suspense and action are perfect. So many questions answered and so many new ones to leave you hanging. Great pacing with no filler. The chapter breaks with thoughts from the Thunderhead are very HAL from 2001; insightful, thought provoking, and totally creepy. The climax and the ending – just WOW! Outstanding stuff all around.

If you read the first book, definitely read this one. If you haven’t read any of this series yet, why are you wasting your time reading my reviews and clicking around on Goodreads!?!? Get outta here! Go check this out ASAP!
Profile Image for Nicole.
514 reviews14.3k followers
August 3, 2023
Ale mnie zmiażdżyło to zakończenie.
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
288 reviews561 followers
June 21, 2021
"Don't mess with Texas"
"Eventually wisdom and reason will prevail."

This is, as best as it could get with a second book in a series. Thunderhead builds upon the solid foundation laid by Scythe, and sets the stage to a whole new series of events. I loved everything about this!

"There is a fine line between freedom and permission. The former is necessary. The latter is dangerous."

The first book of the series proved to be such an interesting read, which made me dive in to this one immediately. Author picks up where he left things off with Scythe, where Rowan had gone rogue and Citra became a scythe, and proceeds along the two plot lines for the first half of the book. The clear and immersive style of writing, the intriguing and unpredictable nature of the plot, are even better than the first. The plot is more complex, supported by a whole lot of new characters, including one main character. The somewhat simplistic representations of the characters which bothered me a little in Scythe has been completely fixed with this second book. Both Citra and Rowen are much more interesting, while the new, third main character being even better. Same goes for the villains, with their machinations far improved, instead of being limited to Goddard's mass gleanings like before.

"The end doesn't always justify the means, dear. But sometimes it does. Wisdom is knowing the difference."

The plot does take a significant change in direction from Scythe, but I found that to be a good thing. As the author had already exploited everything he could about Scythedom with the first book, it would've felt repetitive if the story continued only around the scythes. But, as the title implies, the focus is being re-directed to Thunderhead, and the aforementioned third new main character. It's difficult to explain more of the plot without mentioning the villains, which would introduce a major spoiler, so I'm going to stop at that.

"It is sad to live and die without knowing the truth of one's existence."

And that ending! Last few chapters are absolute pandemonium, until things ended with startling cliffhanger. Those who found Scythe's ending to be not eventful enough, will find that Thunderhead more than makes up for it. This series keeps getting better and better!

"Finding easy scapegoats for complicated problems had been a human pastime since the first mob of cavemen struck someone down with a rock."
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
548 reviews34.7k followers
August 30, 2020
”The Thunderhead had managed to achieve something unique in the history of humanity: a bureaucracy that actually worked.”

Well, ain’t that the bitter truth? *lol* What a swipe at politics and society! Neal Shusterman sure knows how to criticize humankind and I’ve yet to read a book in which he makes no use of his –admittedly very accurate - verbal barbs. XD I love all the thoughts that go into his books and it’s really more than just a little amazing to see them on page. Still, no matter how nice all the theories, teachings and doctrine that went into “Thunderhead” this book was one hell of a ride!

And this even though it started pretty slow and felt like not an awful lot of things were happening. I mean yes, there happened A LOT but at first glance it was a really slow start. If you ask me I think this was mostly due to the introduction of the Thunderhead and how it operates and thinks. In “Thunderhead” we finally got to see the Thunderhead’s personal journal entries and for an entity that’s supposed to be omniscient and impartial it sure as hell seems to have its favourites and preferences, which was great! *lol* It kind of reminded me of AIDAN in Illuminae and as you all know I loved that AI to bits and pieces! <3

Another thing that was intriguing to follow were not only the internal conflicts in the scythedom, but also the different ways to live under the watchful eye of the Thunderhead. This time around we got a better glimpse at the Tonist cult and an insider view of the people that don’t fit into the norm of the Thunderhead’s perfect world: The “Unsavories”! I guess their name already says it all and the irony of the Thunderhead giving people a chance to be criminals and outcasts of society wasn’t lost on me. I mean it even has a plan for people that don’t want to play by its rules. You either gotta love it for its thoroughness or hate it for always being in control. ;-P

Taking all this into consideration we had all the necessary ingredients for a powder-keg that only waited for someone to strike a match. And boy, did this tinderbox catch fire!! Anyway, enough of me trying to tempt you to read this book! Let’s head to my spoilery spoiler section before we reach the point of no return. *lol*

The characters:

Welcome to my characters section, which in all honesty should probably be renamed into rant section because I love to rant about books and therefore spoil like crazy! XD So if you haven’t read the book yet, you better don’t linger and run out of this madhouse as fast as you can! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;-)

Scythe Anastasia aka Citra:

”In all instances, though, their method of death had been their own choice. For Citra that was crucial, for the thing she despised most about the scythedom’s policies was the indignity of having your death chosen for you.”

First of all I’ve to say that I loved Citra’s gleaning method! I think if I’d have to be a Scythe I would have chosen a method like that too. It’s compassionate and fair and it gives people who think they are invincible and immortal a chance to get used to the idea of actually dying. I loved that she gave them one month to get their affairs in order and even went as far as to let them choose her method of gleaning. That way their fear of dying wasn’t as overwhelming as it could have been and they even got a chance to say goodbye! So yes, Citra is one hell of a Scythe and I’m still rooting for her! I had such high hopes for Scythe Anastasia to defy the new order and to become a leader of the old guard and then... well then the ending happened and I was left speechless and reeling! Like WTH!!?? ARGH!! I’m still not over that ending!!! Guess I’ll need to go back to the woods and scream a little before I can continue to write this review. *lol*

”This is what the scythedom was incapable of understanding. They were so focused on the act of killing, they couldn’t comprehend what went into the act of dying.”

Scythe Lucifer aka Rowan:

”If there was one thing that Scythe Faraday had taught him, it was to live by the convictions of his heart, no matter what the consequences. And if there was one thing Scythe Goddard had taught him, it was to have no heart, taking life without regrets. The two philosophies forever warred in Rowan’s mind, rending him in two. But silently.”

Oh gods! How I suffered with Rowan! I loved that he became Scythe Lucifer and went after corrupted scythes and even though I’m aware that it was a bad thing to do I can’t help but feel the same way Rowan does. By killing those scythes he did something good and managed to prevent a lot of damage yet it still wasn’t good enough. In the end his emotions got the better of him and he was caught by Scythe Rand and Goddard, which killed me! Seriously! To know he was in their hands gave me all sorts of anxiety and I dreaded to read those chapters! You’d think Goddard hurt and messed up Rowan enough, but no! He had to hurt him even more! AKDFASDFJAFJ! My poor boy! He deserves so much better than he ever got and I swear if things don’t end well for him in the last book I’m going to be devastated! It’s enough! Neal Shusterman, you hear me?! It’s enough! Stop breaking my boy! *sobs* T_T

”As they die, I think of their victims. The men, women, and children that they have gleaned – because the scythes that I end don’t glean with remorse, or the sense of responsibility that a scythe is supposed to have. Instead, I’m the one who feels compassion for their victims. And that frees me from feeling any remorse for the twisted scythes that I end.”

”Over the past two years, Rowan had been physically beaten, psychologically flayed, and emotionally battered. But he had survived it. What hadn’t killed him had made him stronger – more resolved to do what was necessary to fix what was broken. But now it was he who was broken. And there weren’t enough nanites in the world to repair the damage.”

Scythe Curie:

”Guard your conscience, Anastasia, and never let it wilt. It is a scythe’s most valuable possession.”

The Grande Dame of Death was once again amazing in this one and I really, really, really wanted her to become High Blade! She would have deserved it; she should have had that job! Scythe Curie should have been the one who went out of this alive but URGH!!! Scythe Goddard did and this in such a conniving and horrible way I still can’t wrap my mind around it! WTH??!! I can’t believe Curie is dead and that he got away with it. I just can’t. *shakes head* And I think what gets me the most about this all, is that Scythe Curie and Anastasia tried to play it fair. They stuck to the rules and wanted to weather it out, and then... GAH! You’d think two weeks would be enough to get over this book, but nope. I’m still not over it! XD RIP Scythe Curie you were one of the best and you will be remembered, no matter what Scythe Goddard does! >_<

”As she laid the woman’s head gently down, the other scythes followed her example, and began gleaning with such heart, compassion, and love that it did bring enormous comfort, and at the end, people were crowding around them, asking to be gleaned next.”

Scythe Goddard:

Then he rolled closer, and whispered, “I am your eagle, Rowan. And I will feed on your misery day after day for eternity. Or until your suffering bores me.”

In German we’d use the word “Weltenbrand” to describe what went down on those last 100 pages but since this word doesn’t exist in English I’ll have to translate it freely and hope that it will suffice: a world on fire or the world going up in flames. So yeah, that’s basically what happened at the end of “Thunderhead”! And Scythe Goddard was responsible for all of it which is the reason I’ll go all “Queen of Hearts” now and demand: OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!! Ironically this already happened at the ending of the first book and despite everything this bastard of a man found a way back to life! I hate him; I hate him so much my heart is burning with the fierce desire to kick his ass into another universe! HOW COULD HE GET AWAY WITH ALL THIS!?? Why is he freaking High Blade now!? Why could no one stop this from happening?! How is it possible no one saw what he did?!!! HOW DARE HE TO DESTROY ENDURA??!! AHHH!! I think I’ll go cry with the Thunderhead now... my emotions are still all over the place! I’ll never forgive Scythe Rand for bringing Goddard back. NEVER! T_T

Goddard paused to look at him in abject disgust that for a moment decayed into regret. “You could have been among the greatest of scythes,” Goddard told him. “You could have been by my side, redefining our presence in this world.” He shook his head. “Few things are sadder than squandered potential.”

Greyson Tolliver:

”His hair, his clothes, and those baby horns at his temples might have fooled someone else, but his slim build and body language gave him away. And his eyes. An odd cross between deer in headlights and a wolverine about to attack. The kid lived in a constant state of fight or flight.”

Greyson was such a sweet character! I really liked him and I loved the way he was introduced. The Thunderhead seems to care about him deeply and my heart broke for him when it used him to save Scythe Anastasia and Scythe Curie. It was obvious the way the Thunderhead chose for him was more than just a little difficult, but he still decided to go down that path because he trusted it to do the right thing! Greyson was such a loyal soul, it hurt so much to see his struggle! I really felt for him when he was lost and stranded at the Tonist cult. His entire life, his career, just everything! He gave it up in order to help the Thunderhead and all he got back was pain. T_T I wonder what he’s up to now. I mean after everything that happened he’s probably the only person the Thunderhead is speaking to, so I’m really curious what will happen next! XD

The Thunderhead:

”I see their fine deeds, as well as their foul deeds, which seem to be on the rise. And each time I witness a cruel act by a corrupt scythe, I seed the clouds somewhere in the world, and bring a lamentation of rain. Because rain is the closest thing I have to tears.”

You can say what you want but I think the Thunderhead has feelings and isn’t as indifferent as it claims to be. I mean hell! It switched off the lights for 1.3 seconds just to let Greyson know that it actually cares about him!!! And he didn’t even see it!! ARGH!! Despite its principle not to get involved it actually got involved fairly good! *lol* It’s a pity it didn’t have cameras on Endura or it would have been able to thwart Scythe Goddards attempts at a new world order right from the start. *sighs* And believe me when I say that I screamed alongside the Thunderhead when Endura sunk and Rowan and Anastasia died in the sea. I still can’t believe that ending!!! What is the Thunderhead going to do now? Can it work against Goddard without going against its own principles?! I really dunno. >_<

”Please...,” he begs.
And so I oblige. I reach out into the electrical grid, and douse the lights. Not just in the chapel, but throughout all of Wichita. The lights of the city blink for 1.3 seconds. All for the benefit of Greyson Tolliver. To prove beyond a shadow of doubt how much I care, and how heartbroken I would be for all he has suffered, if I had a heart capable of such malfunction.”

The relationships & ships:

Citra and Rowan:

”Justice? The scythedom doesn’t know what justice is anymore.”
“Some of us do, Rowan. I have to believe that eventually wisdom and reason will prevail.”
Rowan reached out and touched her cheek. She allowed it. “I want to believe that, too, Citra. I want to believe that the scythedom can return to what it was meant to be... But sometimes it takes a necessary darkness to get there.”

I still love those two and I wish they wouldn’t have had to deal with so many things! They should have been a happy couple but I guess Neal Shusterman wanted them to be star-crossed lovers and boy, star-crossed lovers they were! XD Their struggle with their roles and the expectations that came along with them felt real and always broke my heart but I think that ending broke it even more! I can’t believe this book ended like that! I just can’t!!! How could it end like that?!! I mean ADKFASKDFJASKDF! The only consolation is that they died in each other’s arms and were together when everything went to hell! Well, and the fact that they’ve a chance to be found and to be revived. The only question is WHEN??! ARGH! I can’t stand the thought of Goddard doing as he pleases and getting things in a complete mess. This ending and the injustice of it all... it’s killing me, I swear! T_T

”When he took her in his arms, it suddenly didn’t seem to matter what was going on outside of their tiny, sealed universe. In these terminal minutes of their current lives, it was just the two of them finally, finally giving in to their ultimate act of completion. The binary at last becoming the one.”

Scythe Rand & Scythe Goddard:

”Ayn fought back every last emotion threatening to overtake her. She just shut them down cold. It was either that, or fall apart in front of him. She would rather self-glean than do that.”

Stupid Scythe Rand! Why the freaking hell did she ever think it would be a good idea to bring Scythe Goddard back!?! She should have let his head rot in hell! I hate that cold and calculating bwitch and I hope she goes down like a stone in the sea! No one needed Goddard back and I have no idea why she did it? Is she really in love with him?! They never gave me that kind of vibe and I just don’t understand it. Yes, she obviously loved Tyger, yet she still killed him in cold blood! I’m sure Tyger would have taken her gladly... how could she be so stupid!?? I don’t get this woman AT ALL! But I get the distinct feeling that in one way or another she might not only be Goddard’s rise but also his fall. Hopefully he takes her with him. I’d even pay their tickets to hell. Don’t worry, it’s my treat! ;-P


“Thunderhead” might have had a rather slow start but it certainly went out with a bang! XD Just like its predecessor it had a lot of twists and turns. Some of them I saw coming from miles away and others were so sudden they felt like a punch to the face! Neal Shusterman knows his stuff and he’s not afraid to use his skills to his advantage! ;-) Did I enjoy this: Hell yeah! Am I going to read the next book soon: Definitely! I guess I just gotta lick my wounds for a little while longer, though. *lol*
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,316 reviews44.2k followers
June 17, 2021
4.25 stars, one of my favorite fictional characters are back! Welcome back Citra and Rowan! They’re tougher survivors and they are more connected to the Scythedom madness. Now it’s time to meet with fantastic AI Thunderhead! He is genuine, caring, polite but also righteous, smart, professional enough to achieve the requirements of his position.

I think this is another delicious feast for me which I skipped to devour for so long and finally decide to taste vivid, exciting, adventurous tastes of books and take this serious into my hands!

This is another full throttle, entertaining, heart throbbing ride and this time my heart so much faster than the I’ve read the first book. BABOOM! BABOOM! Already a bomb dismantle team arrived at our home! I told them hundred times that frightening voice was coming from my heart not from my husband’s stomach who tried to take a few bites from my dried, stony pasta particles (if you accidentally throw my pasta somebody’s head, they can give the person a quite effective concussion!)

I think I’m honestly addicted to Scythedom and I’m so glad to read how it expands and develops itself and as the conflicts divide the sides and hostility shows itself significantly. Now the politics join into the equation thanks to Citra, she’s doing her best to achieve her new job title, improving herself more and getting more righteous, stronger and wiser character than her first book version which I loved it.

But you may ask me why I didn’t give five stars if I enjoy this thrilling ride so much! First of all: I didn’t like to see Rowan and Citra’s storylines’ separation but it was necessary and impressively enjoying. So I don’t mind as long as their relationship is getting stronger. They still complete each other and are focused on their own different tasks. As Citra deals with the politics which requires so much brain power, tactical games and patience, seemed like white collar worker position, Rowan turns into a vigilante, a wild punisher to murder the scythes who chose the wrong side. I loved to see the mentally and psychically growing of these amazing characters and I love them more than ever.


Why was this book sooooooo LOOOOOOOGGG? It still riveting page turner but I’m sure some parts can be edited and most of the action parts could be told in shorter depictions which help the book’s pace to fasten more so the readers didn’t need some small breaks and enjoyed their scary crazy train ride!

And the other thing is our new introduced character Grayson. Sorry but I didn’t connect with him till the end of the book. I got the author’s intention to balance the characters’ improvement, Grayson’s role was crucial but it was hard for me to accept a brand new element to this already compelling and mind-bending equation. And I also had second thoughts about the parts of Tolliver’s story. It was okay but it also slows down the pacing. I wanted to skip the parts and saw what was gonna happen next!

Of course ENDING DESERVED TOO MANY APPLAUSE, BRAVAS, CONFETTI RAINS AND MORE APPLAUSE! The author slams the book against our faces and says: “That’s how you write the sequel bitches! Any questions! I don’t think so!”

I got my answer with this stunning, nail-biting, exciting ending and I’m more curious about the next book. I gotta have it ASAP! I’m wearing a cascade right now because I’ll hit my head to the wall as a punishment why I took my time so long to read those masterpieces. I think my real punishment was waiting too long and spending my time with wrong choices of books but after I finished this one, I started to see double. It would be side effect of the long pages or (my husband smiled so meaningfully when he served my wine glass, what if…oh no…he served me pineapple juice all the time and I was so focused my reading and I didn’t get the difference, yikes! So all night long, I was sober! Dammit!!!!)

Okay, I’m all set for the third book! Bring it on! And of course traitor husband before starting my reading I'm coming for you!
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
May 13, 2021

Death must exist for life to have meaning.
The Scythedom is still reeling.

In a stunning change of events, both Citra (now scythe Anastasia) and Rowan survived the trial by death...but unfortunately, it was not a cause of celebration.

In response, Rowan has taken up the mantle of Scythe Lucifer - and he has gone completely rogue. Any scythe that has abused his or her power is subject to his judgement.

Citra, a junior scythe, is under Scythe Curie's wing - where she learns compassion and kindness for those who she gleans.

But there is something nefarious afoot. Something so terrible that even the Thunderhead has to get involved.

The Thunderhead - (think Alexa but intelligent and everywhere) is expressly forbidden from interfering with the scythedom thanks to its programming.

But as the stakes rise and humanity faces its first, true danger in decades...the Thunderhead decides that it needs to do a bit of...interfering...with the world. For the good of it, of course.


Just. Damn.

Anyone else feel their heart literally just fall out of their chest when that ending came around?

Anyway, this one was pretty dang good.

I loved the pacing and the way the mystery unfolded before my eyes. It was absolutely stunning and incredibly gripping.

The Thunderhead is my new favorite character - I love its trickery and kind-heartedness.

Ahh. I just...I just can't continue with this review. I NEED to move on to the third!

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads
Profile Image for Helen 2.0.
417 reviews919 followers
August 21, 2023
Without context, the word Thunderhead could mean a variety of things; for instance, it sounds like it it might be:
-the newest Scandinavian metal band
-a kind of migraine
-something you may overhear a group of college boys bragging about on the subway
-a pagan shrine to Thor

But stupid jokes aside, in Neal Shusterman's world Thunderhead is the ultimate cloud collection of human knowledge, given consciousness and the task of governing Earth. It is a benevolent ruler, having eradicated death, disease, crime, unhappiness and other generally unpleasant affairs.
I am protector and pacifier, authority and helpmate. I am the sum of human knowledge, wisdom, experimentation, triumph, defeat, hope, and history. I know all that it is possible to know, and it is increasingly unbearable.
Because I know next to nothing.

The only thing beyond the Thunderhead's control is the scythedom, a body of around 12,000 individuals worldwide who murder by profession. This is the immortal world's solution to overpopulation.

Thunderhead is a lot like Scythe, with a little more variety thrown in. Instead of following Citra and Rowan exclusively, there are now several new characters and viewpoints from which to experience the story.
Most notably we're introduced to Greyson Tolliver, a regular young man who risks his future out of loyalty to the Thunderhead, the only parent he's ever known. Greyson gives a little fresh air to the story and stepped in when Citra and Rowan's plotlines became stale.

Overall, the Arc of a Scythe series is no longer just a story about scythes, and the evolution is a definite improvement. I'm 100% psyched for the release of book 3 (whenever that may be).
Profile Image for ❄️BooksofRadiance❄️.
614 reviews764 followers
November 14, 2019
Second time reading and that ending!!!

Still worth every stars.


First read: 26/4/18

Hot damn. That ending.

Shit absolutely and unequivocally just hit the fan but... no worries. It’s only a year right?

The cruelty...

I pondered for days over how to rate this (needlessly it seems) because I finally came to my senses.
There’s nothing to overthink here because I am so fucking speechless that I don’t know how I could give this anything less than what it deserves.

NS is. A. Genius.
The symbolism, the intricacies of the overarching plot and the religious imagery that took root in book one and brilliantly and ever so subtly intertwined in this book is simply... awe inspiring. Everything was artfully constructed.

All I can say is: read between the lines. Shusterman is onto something here.
Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,560 followers
February 5, 2018
I am dead! This book killed me!! That ending!! Dead. All I will say is that this is becoming one of my absolute favourite series ever. The wait for the next book is going to be brutal.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.8k followers
November 9, 2019
its 2018, so can we just go ahead and put forth a movement that says cliffhangers qualify as cruel and unusual punishment!? i mean, i will start a petition and everything. whos with me??? because there is no way the ending to this should be legal. its the very essence of torture.

okay. now that i got that out of my system, lets talk about everything other than the last 30 pages. im pretty sure i am in the minority when i say that i didnt think this was better than scythe, but i didnt think it was worse either. if anything, i found them both to be quite equal and consistent, which i find to be rare in a series.

as with scythe, i thought the writing and storytelling was wonderful. the originality and creativity of this story was beyond phenomenal. i loved the new characters and visits from old ones. im so very excited to see how the series will continue.

if there was one thing i would change about this it would be rowans character arc. i was desperate for him to get some sort of break or absolution for having been dealt a crappy hand in the first book. i was pleading with everyone to see that the reason he is the way he is was because he was forcibly placed in a horrible environment and his behaviour is a product of needing to survive. i understand how the continuation of his unfortunate circumstances helped move the plot along, but goodness. the boy just needs some TLC in his life. is that too much to ask?! i swear, the next book better have rowan healthy and happy, or else i will start another petition.

so you better watch out, shusterman. lol.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Heather.
404 reviews16.9k followers
January 5, 2018
Holy freaking crap this was amazing. So many twists and turns and so thought provoking! So amazingly good!
Profile Image for ♛ may.
807 reviews3,839 followers
October 16, 2018


wowowowoowow, okay my dudes, lets get this straight, if you loved book 1, READ THIS RIGHT NOW. if you hated book 1, READ THIS RIGHT NOW.

This. Was. Everything. That. Book. 1. Wasn't.

im actually so amazed, like the characters, the development, THE PLOT TWISTS. THE REALIZATIONS, it was ALL SO. GOOD.

i don't even have words beyond WHERE IS BOOK 3

this is going to be me @ anything related to this book for the rest of the decade
Profile Image for demi. ♡.
206 reviews275 followers
November 5, 2019
❥ 5 / 5 stars

Question (10 points)
Is the romance in this book / this trilogy necessary?
Answer —> No.

Everything in the story is already perfect on its own. Even if there’s no romance between Citra and Rowan or other couples, it‘s still completely fine and the book itself can easily make me love it without that.

Therefore, I see no reason why Neal Shusterman need to include romance in the trilogy if he cannot make it good enough or make it at least believable.
(It’s harsh. I know. But if you ask me, I think this is the only weakness of Arc of a Scythe.)

However, since he already tried and it would be cruel if I let it affect the rating, I decided to look at the whole picture instead and yeah, unsurprisingly, it deserved 5 stars. ★★★★★

P.S. I like that plot twists always intrigue me. So, keep doing that. :)
(I admit that sometimes it’s kinda too much for my heart but it’s what make the book fun, right?)

P.P.S. Despite P.S., still damn you, Neal!!! How come you killed one of my favourite characters?! Though I like unexpected things, this is utterly unforgivable and I won’t stop being pissed at you. EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) : review
Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) : review
Profile Image for Christina Loeffler.
143 reviews17.3k followers
November 26, 2018
5 MILLION, Shusterman revived me only to slay me again stars!!!

Full review featured on my blog Recipe & a Read!

So if you'll recall for my review of Scythe (book one in this series) Shusterman did a bang up job of literally slaying me with his sheer genius. Well folks, he's done it again - only this time the magnificence of this story literally revived me heart and soul only to kill me once again. You may be asking yourselves: Christina, you're saying this book literally killed you - can that actually be a good thing? YES, YES IT FREAKIN' CAN. Thunderhead did not suffer any form of "sophomore slump" here at all and it's continuation into Citra and Rowan's story is just as enchanting, if not more so. 

Death must exist for life to have meaning. 

Ok, ok, onto the review. So I'll start by saying if you haven't read the first installment of this series - I literally can't suggest it enough. It's skyrocketed itself onto my favorites shelf and is now one of my go-to recommendations for ALL readers. No matter your genre of choice I can promise you, you wont be disappointed for having read this. Thunderhead picks up right where we left off at the end of Scythe with Rowan on the run, having gone rouge and calling himself "Scythe Lucifer" and Citra- now Scythe Anastasia beginning her first year as a Junior Scythe under Scythe Curie. 

The same things I loved about book one are carried over, only with a few new twists. In book one we're continually given journal entries of various Scythes (Faraday, Curie, Goddard etc) and it gives a unique look into the minds and souls of these famous Scythes. I loved the journal entries as it added a depth to the characters that I think would've otherwise been lost. However, in this installment - the journal entries are from none other than the Thunderhead. I found myself rapt by its thought processes and as the story progressed, I realized that while the majority of the story is told from other POVs - our MC in this installment is the Thunderhead. By doing this Shusterman breathed new life into this story and added a fresh and exciting take and outlook on a world I already found incredibly intriguing. 

There is a fine line between freedom and permission. The former is necessary.  The latter is dangerous—perhaps the most dangerous thing the species that created me has ever faced... While freedom gives rise to growth and enlightenment, permission allows evil to flourish in a light of day that would otherwise destroy it... And the unfortunate truth is, people devour it. Society gorges itself, and rots. Permission is the bloated corpse of freedom.

The conflicts that were presented in Scythe carry over seamlessly into this second installment. The rift within the Scythedom between the new-order and the old-guard are deepening into a fissure of epic proportions. Things are bubbling over and the political and societal implications of the deepening rift within the Scythedom created even more questions one must ask themselves when reading this book. The world building that I adored in the first installment carried over and Shusterman added yet another layer with more political intrigue. 

While this isn't an all-out, race-to-the-finish read, I absolutely couldn't put it down or step away. The finesse that Shusterman shows in his delicate, intricate and beautiful world building and story development is some of the best I've ever seen. New characters, new questions and new problems are seamlessly brought into this installment and nothing else suffers for it, nothing is left in the wings or forgotten for the sake of something new and exciting. 

Ours is a perfect world--but perfection does not linger in one place. It is a firefly, by its very nature elusive and unpredictable.

I feel connected to these characters, I care about what happens to them, what happens to their world. To be able to create empathy with even one character, to me, shows the mark of a phenomenal writer - but to be able to create such connection to them all? I don't even know how to put that into words to fully express the beauty of this series. I am truly blown away, the only complaint I can levy against Shusterman is that he's not writing fast enough because I.NEED.THE.NEXT.BOOK. That freaking ENDING ya'll. I'm normally really not a fan of cliffhangers - I find them to generally be cheap shots to ensure people buy the next book. However, the ending to Thunderhead left me utterly breathless. It was a perfect ending, to a perfect book and created the perfect need within me to find out how this story will grow and develop in the next installment. My heart breaks for these characters, for the Thunderhead itself. I will be thinking about this story for a long time to come and I will auto-purchase the third installment of this the moment I am able to. 

If you want to take away one thing from my review for this book: pick up the dang thing and READ IT.
Profile Image for benedicta .
257 reviews139 followers
August 18, 2023
4.5⭐️ okay. okay. where to start?

This one didn't have any real mcs and that threw me off a bit in the beginning. It was obvious book one had so much more action but this was just as enlightening and addictive.

I missed my babies- Citra and Rowan so much like we just got crumbs 😭 and Daddy Faraday didn't make much of an appearance, I was disappointed.

Is it weird I enjoyed getting a detailed backstory of Thunderhead? I didn't care for Greyson's storyline but I was drawn to Tyger's personality and character storyline. Hope book three is better🤞🏼💖

update: i came back to bump up my rating despite everything i didn't care for because that last 20% just stole my breath and your girl can't stop thinking about it 😭😭😭
Profile Image for Ishmeen.
383 reviews154 followers
June 18, 2018
If I use the term shook like I usually do to describe what I’m feeling right now, it would seriously be an understatement for this book. I loved every. single. page. and I am so glad that it loved up to my expectations of being just as great as Scythe which was one of my favourite reads of 2017 ❤️

I used to think that I wasn't really into dystopia anymore but I reckon it's Neal Shusterman's mind blowing writing style that has made me fall in love with this world! Also can we please come up with a petition to save Rowan Damisch from anymore harm?? I MEAN READ THIS:

“His eyes had a careworn coolness to them as if he had seen more than he should, and had stopped caring in order to save what was left of his soul.”

??? HOW MUCH MORE PAIN WILL HE GO THROUGH!!! PLEASE that boy deserves to be happy, my heart hurts for him so badly 😭😭😭 Citra has become a queen like yaaas gurl you show 'em how things are done 👏🏻The character development in these two since the start of Scythe has been so damn good I'm in awe!! I also loved reading about the Thunderhead - an AI that cares so deeply for humans and grieves for them??

"... I seed the clouds somewhere in the world, and bring a lamentation of rain. Because rain is the closest thing I have to tears.” You got me hooked real good.

I found that as I was making my way through the chapters, I was so lost in the world that I genuinly didn't want the book to end. The ending came too soon and now the wait for the next book is going to torture me but I am already looking forward to rereading Scythe!

NOW THAT ENDING. It tore me apart. My emotional spectrum experienced everything from grief, numbness and shock to relief, curiosity and excitement. I was warned about the ending having an effect on me but boiiiiii I did not anticipate how deeply it would affect me lmao I am still reeling y'all. I just know that this story will stay with me for a very long time and I would definitely recommend everyone to pick Scythe up since it's one of the best decisions I have ever made 😌

Buddy read with my faveee ❤️
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
721 reviews1,121 followers
March 26, 2020
Hell yes this was awesome!

Also that ending?!? So glad I’ve got the next book already so I can just get started 😊

4.5 ⭐️

“Guard your conscience, Anastasia, and never let it wilt. It is a scythe’s most valuable possession.”

This was a fantastic sequel to Scythe, I loved it!

So Citra (Scythe Anastasia) and Rowan (Scythe Lucifer) are living more or less entering separate lives. Citra is being trained by the infamous Scythe Marie Curie and Rowan is on the run.

Soon Rowan discovers a terribly dark secret within the Scythdom but is powerless to stop it. And when Anastasia and Marie’s lives are put at risk the entire Scythdom becomes a danger zone.

I love the sections of writing in between chapters that are told from the Thunderhead’s POV, the world Shusterman has built is honestly incredible.

There’s not a great deal I can say because of spoilers, but this book was absolutely addictive and I cannot wait to pick up The Toll.
Profile Image for April.
146 reviews259 followers
March 13, 2018
And always with those jaw dropping cliff hangers🙌
Profile Image for Cecilia.
289 reviews292 followers
December 7, 2022
Nimbo es la magnífica continuación de Siega; llegando incluso a superarla. Esta entrega está llena de sorpresas, con un ritmo ágil y de fácil lectura; en donde de forma continua van apareciendo eventos y sucediendo acontecimientos que hacen que no puedas parar de leer; queriendo saber siempre que va a pasar en el siguiente capítulo.

Respecto a la trama, está se centra en la división entre Nimbo y los segadores; estos últimos a su vez se encuentran fragmentados en “los de la nueva era” y “los de la antigua orden”; dejando entrever lo que conlleva las ansias de poder, la política, las cribas excesivas y sin consciencia ni moral, entre otros. Lo interesante, y lo mejor, de este libro es que Nimbo toma participación al ir narrando la historia desde su visión, además de sus pensamientos y reflexiones vinculadas con los sucesos que van aconteciendo.

En relación con los personajes, se mantienen los del libro anterior, y se introducen nuevos, como Greyson Tolliver, que harán más interesante la trama y el hilo conductor de está. En cuanto a la relación entre Citra y Rowan, si bien esta se desarrolla de forma paralela y secundaria, se ve una clara evolución en estos; existiendo una confianza ciega entre ellos aun cuando sus caminos se han desviado. Sin embargo, a lo largo de las páginas leídas esperaba un poco más del tan ansiado desarrollo del romance entre los protagonistas, el cual queda en segundo plano.

¡¡Por último, ese final inesperado que te deja con ganas de conocer que pasará en la última parte de esta trilogía!!
Profile Image for Iryna *Book and Sword*.
447 reviews641 followers
August 12, 2018
4.5/5 stars (rounded down) - now if only Goodreads would introduce half star ratings, then I wouldn't have to go breaking mathematical rules to round down, when I am clearly supposed to be rounding up!

“An arrogant head of state gives permission to all nature of hate as long as it feeds his ambition. And the unfortunate truth is, people devour it. Society gorges itself, and rots. Permission is the bloated corpse of freedom.”

​I think I've found another favorite author. I had a feeling after I've read Scythe, but I wanted to read his second book to make sure that it wasn't a fluke, and it wasn't.
I love Shusterman's writing style, I applaud his ability to twist and turn a story and I admire his ideas and thoughts that he puts out in his books.

If I may recommend, I would definitely advise that you purchase the Barnes and Noble exclusive edition (if you are able) because Shusrteman's commentary made the book even better. We got to go behind every chapter and see the logic and the heart behind his creations. I love how he lets his characters drive his show, and I loved how honest he was in his commentary.

I think I liked Scythe just a tiny bit better than I did Thunderhead. Not because Thunderhead was weaker or anything, but because Scythe literally blew my mind with its turns and twists. I was able to guess some of them in Thunderhead, which I was quite proud of.

“It’s my pleasure to be your displeasure.”

Once again I applaud the author who managed to write a book that doesn't contain any usual ya book tropes (the ones that I hate so much)- no soppy romance, no love triangles, no "almost sex passion make-out scenes". This is what good, no scratch that, great dystopian is.

​Thunderhead managed to seamlessly introduce new characters, and while I didn't care much for Munira, although I am sure she will be much more important in the next book, I loved Greyson from the very first pages. His story arc was the most interesting and the most tragic in the book, I even found myself wanting Greyson to have more page time, because I grew to like him so much.

Just as in Scythe I found myself enjoying "journal entries" between chapters very much. This time we got to be inside of Thunderhead's "head" and see it get progressively more and more human in its thoughts and later in its actions.
The ending was both action packed and epic, and normally I really dislike cliffhangers, but this time I didn't mind. I just cannot wait for the next book to come out.

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