Thou shalt kill.
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.
This blew me away! I read Unwind last year and also really enjoyed that, so definitely need to look out more of his work.
Firstly, this I love that so much of his stories seem to consider morality in a situation that the accepted is different to how it currently would be, and yet the discussion and situation still seems so relevant. The whole concept of not dying, turning back your age, or gleaning people by selection or chance is so foreign, and yet still so useful in bringing about salient points about humanity.
I really liked Citra and Rowan, as well as Faraday and Curie. I especially liked both Citra and Rowan’s development, both under Faraday and separately – they are never directly comparable while having similar ideals, and then dealing with how that splits and what Rowan in particular has to go through is incredibly well done. I liked how his arc ended as well.
It is a little slow in places, but I really liked that – largely around the Citra’s arc and the time with Faraday, but for me they were both a good break in the action and a decent place to get a respect for cleaning that the old school Scythe’s would want you to have. To understand the complexity as hardship of it. In contrast, the parts with Rowan and Goddard are very much the opposite of that, and again so well handled.
The concept is quite bizarre, especially everything about the Thunderhead, but again that really worked for me.
It’s also nice to have a non contemporary book that can challenge you and make you think. It’s quite powerful in its own way, and will make you reconsider aspects of humanity.