A Time Best YA Book of All Time (2021)
Two teens must learn the “art of killing” in this Printz Honor–winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.
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.
Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.
In the future Earth of this grim novel from National Book Award winner Shusterman (Challenger Deep), the digital cloud has transformed into the self-aware Thunderhead, whose benevolent totalitarian rule has turned the planet into a utopia. There's no poverty or crime, and everyone is guaranteed immortality. Well, almost everyone. Because babies are still being born, population growth must be limited. Thus evolved the Scythes, an organization whose members are charged with "gleaning" citizens at random. Sixteen-year-old Citra and Rowan are chosen by a Scythe named Faraday to train as apprentices. Neither likes the idea, but they're given no choice. Later, Citra becomes an apprentice to Curie, a legendary Scythe, but Rowan is apprenticed to Goddard, who kills for sadistic pleasure. Calling to mind Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," Shusterman's story forces readers to confront difficult ethical questions. Is the gleaning of a few acceptable if it maximizes the happiness of all? Is it possible to live a moral life within such a system? This powerful tale is guaranteed to make readers think deeply. Ages 12 up.
An existential crisis, but make it cool
Nothing like a great YA book to make you examine our collective mortality. This book was absolutely fascinating and is perfect for anyone that wants to explore a genuinely realistic utopian future. This book is wonderfully paced and I am deeply satisfied by the character development across the board. I feel so full of ideas and appreciation of life, I wish there were more books like this!
An interesting utopia. Most futuristic books portray AI ruling as bad. This book showed the benefit of a non human ruler. I enjoyed it, has a lot to do with death, shows the cost of a perfect world like this. The scythedom reflects human nature. It becomes corrupt, no matter how noble it started out as.
Best dystopian book since the Hunger Games