Title: Arc of a Scythe
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: Utopian Science Fiction
Published: 2016, 2018, 2019
Pages: 435, 504, 625
My Rating: 5, 4.5, 5
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
and welcome to my series review of Arc of a Scythe, by Neil Shusterman. Contrary to anyone who’s read this series, I did not think that the covers nor the synopsis were appealing. However, because so many people I trusted raved about these books, I finally decided to pick them up, and I am so happy I did so.
Set on Earth in the future, humanity has conquered death and disease. The premise alone is interesting: when you can live forever, what significance does death receive? If you have all the time in the world, how do you fill it? When everything is possible and you’re granted all of your wishes, how do you feel fulfilled? These are just some of the questions that the opening instalment in the trilogy asks. And while the first book is just a snippet of what Shusterman has built, the other two just explode with amazing world building, political intrigue and ethical debates that feel just a tad too close to our own reality.
One of the elements that struck me most when I started this trilogy was the writing style: extremely past paced, yet immensely emotional. Shusterman just has the ability to get to the reader’s emotions, using few words but using them well. Characters were equally well flashed out, and one of the main characters happens to be the AI that now rules over Earth. I had never read about a benign AI before, and I appreciated how complex it was. The other characters were also very well portrayed, and the protagonist’s character development was remarkable. Finally, the plot was just mind-blowing. Twists, turns, cliffhangers… it just kept me guessing and I could not stop turning the pages.
I know that many people did not like how this book ended, but I have to admit that I really liked the conclusion to the trilogy. It made me think a lot about what we have, what we don’t have, what our limits are and that, overall, the most valuable thing for humans are the connections we create with one another. Considering the political situation we are in at the moment, the various references made about it were very much appreciated by me as well.
So, if you are looking for a Sci-Fi trilogy that makes you think about politics, what it means to be human, and the meaning of life that is fast paced and thrilling, this is definitely for you. All three books are out now, so you can get your hands on them!
Let me know if you’ve read them and loved them as much as I did.
Until next time,