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“Intelligent and entertaining.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Even better than the first book.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.
Humans learn from their mistakes. I cannot. I make no mistakes.
The Thunderhead is the perfect ruler of a perfect world, but it has no control over the scythedom. A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent.
As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.
Old foes and new enemies converge, and as corruption within the Scythedom spreads, Rowan and Citra begin to lose hope. Will the Thunderhead intervene?
Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?
Shusterman cranks up the stakes in this blistering sequel to 2016's Scythe, set on a "post-mortal" future Earth in which easily revived humans are only "deadish" when killed, not permanently dead, except for the few "gleaned" by scythes, who kill to keep population growth under control. The narrative focuses primarily on Citra, who is gaining influence as Scythe Anastasia, and Rowan, who has adopted the mantle of Scythe Lucifer as he furtively gleans amoral scythes. New presences include Greyson Tolliver, an unassuming young man who becomes aware of threats on Scythe Anastasia's life, and the voice of the Thunderhead, the artificial intelligence that manages virtually all aspects of life on Earth. As the political machinations between scythe factions collide, the Thunderhead's dispatches reflect powerfully on its relationship with humanity ("All I can do is watch unblinkingly as my beloved humankind slowly weaves the rope it will use to hang itself"). Interweaving heady questions of morality, responsibility, loyalty, and power, Shusterman builds to a devastatingly intense conclusion that sends the characters and larger world into terrifying new territory. It's difficult to fathom what awaits in the next book. Ages 12 up.