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  • Leopold Huber

Scythe - Book Review



”Scythe” was written by Neal Shusterman in 2016. Its genre is science-fiction and dystopia and it touches on themes such as life, death and morality. It is the first instalment of a 4-book series called "Arc of a Scythe”. The book has 443 pages and 40 chapters. The story is set in a distant future in which humanity is governed by a benevolent AI named “The Thunderhead” (a nickname given to it after it evolved from the cloud). Thanks to its near infinite knowledge, humanity lives in a utopia where disease, sadness and poverty no longer exist. Even death has been defeated. People live natural lives hundreds of thousands of years long. And even if people get killed, they can be revived (as long as the body is accessible).


But there is one stain on this perfect world; the Scythedom. Many years after the Thunderhead took over, people established the Scythedom, an organization dedicated to selectively and permanently killing (or gleaning as it is called in the book) people to slow down population growth. As people did not want an artificial intelligence to decide over life and death, the Thunderhead and the Scythedom are completely separate. Scythes (people who are tasked by the Scythedom to kill) aren’t allowed to communicate with the Thunderhead and don't have to follow any of its laws. The scythes are feared and revered throughout society and have completely different lifestyles. Some live ascetic and solitary lives while others live in lavish mansions and are public figures.


The main plot follows two teenagers, Citra Terranova and Rowan Damish who are both chosen to be Scythe Faradays apprentices, which is unusual as scythes normally have one apprentice at a time. Initially unsure but curious, they move in with him and study not only killcraft, but also art, history and the sciences. However, a few months later they learn that only one of them can become a scythe and that the loser will get gleaned by the winner. I will not reveal any more plot so as to not spoil the book further.

This is a good book that I recommend to anyone looking for something new to read. I also read the series (except for the short stories) which I also recommend. I give it a 10/10.


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