I waited too long to read Scythe and this review might have taken me even longer to write! When I first heard about Scythe, I was apprehensive about the premise and honestly, a little unnerved by it, but I could not be more impressed with Shusterman’s first book in the Arc of a Scythe series!
In this futuristic setting, natural death has become a thing of the past; an almost omnipotent AI, know as the Thunderhead, runs the world and ensures its safety. Nanotechnology has helped humankind regulate their pain, emotional state, and ability to heal quickly. The Thunderhead is there to support humankind at a macro and micro level. It contains all of humanity’s knowledge and can communicate with each individual person to serve as a trustworthy confidant. The Thunderhead has brought an end to war, corruption, sickness, and poverty (save those who choose to live monasteries and try to maintain a connection to the past mortal world ways) The only area the Thunderhead does not involve itself is within the realm of population control. Scythedom was created by humankind as a way to control the population. Those individuals who show themselves to be morally principled, and who often do not want the job, are the ones usually selected for this honor, but not always…
Shusterman uses this world and two young scythe apprentices, Citra & Rowan, who tragically must compete against each other in a life and death contest for a job neither of them wants, to explore our morality in a world without natural mortality. Shusterman masterfully ties together friendship and love, revenge and forgiveness, political intrigue and how what we believe when it comes to right, wrong, and the shades of in-between shapes not only who we are but the world we live in.
Although certainly dark at times and humourous at others, more than anything else, this is one thought-provoking tale. I can’t wait to read book two in 2018!