This book is by one of my favorite authors, Neal Shusterman. I loved his Unwind series and had heard many good things about the Scythe series as well. In fact, Mr. Burell recommended it to me. Based on his description of it and how much he liked the series, I decided to take his professional opinion and give it a shot. Even without the assigned requirement of reading an additional book, I definitely believe that I would have willingly read this book anyway which is a nice change from being forced to read books I would never even go near in a thousand millennium.
I went into this book expecting a similar style to the Unwind series. I was not disappointed. Neal Shusterman takes an idea and uses it in a way to make the reader question their core beliefs. In this book, it was about the consequences of conquering death. No one wants to face death. That is what drives us to continually seek for cures to diseases and pain. But what if that were to happen? What if we conquered natural death? Shusterman shows us this possibility with a demonstration of a major consequence to seemingly eternal life: overpopulation. He forces us to think questions like: “If it is for the good of all humanity, is it bad?”, “Is it considered murder if it is done with a better intent?”, and “Is eternal life worth this?” Books like this are extremely tricky to write because you need to know what makes people tick. To make a book that is meant to shake people to the core, the author needs to identify a belief, moral, or idea that is common among various audiences. Shusterman is basically manipulating us by presenting us with a conflict between beliefs and then stepping back, almost to watch what happens.
After reading it, I had to think a lot. As a student interested in the medical department and the hope of finding cures, this book made me reevaluate myself as a person, where I stand, and why I choose that opinion. I like a book that makes you think while and after reading it, so this was a good mark of a great author.
I could best relate to Citra, the girl main character. Her unique set of problems and past experiences are easier for me to understand and feel as a reader. I also can relate to Rowan to a good extent as well, particularly his survival techniques in enduring his second apprenticeship. In general, all the characters are vibrantly created and provide each reader several different personalities to be able to relate to.
I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone. It is skillfully written. The plot sweeps you away and is quickly addictive. As a piece of modern literature, this book will have a fairly easy time reaching and communicating with diverse audiences. This makes it appealing to the average high schooler. However, I recommend this book with a warning. If you do read this, be prepared to question your judgment and basic core beliefs. Neal Shusterman writes to challenge these beliefs and therefore, drawing the reader in further emotionally. This book took every belief I had about eternal life and turned them upside-down. If you wish to be emotionally invested and ready to question yourself, this is the perfect story to read. I think that “We think of our beliefs, but not the consequences of these morals” is a theme Shusterman is trying to get across to his captive audience. This book is one of the best I’ve read and I can’t wait for the next one!