Review: Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Title: Scythe

Author: Neal Shusterman

Genre: Young Adult/Sci-Fi

In short: A unique premise for a young adult book.

It is difficult to describe Scythe to someone who has not read it – but I’ll try anyway. Essentially, it is a book set in a utopian world with a dystopian storyline. It’s a dark book in terms of its theme, yet it is also clearly written for young adults.

In the utopian world which this book is set there is no disease, no cancer and dying from old age does not exist. Everyone is immortal – or would be if it weren’t for the need to continually curb the population in order to make life on Earth sustainable. This is where the Scythe come in. In this utopian world they are glorified grim reapers, licensed with killing whomever they pleas, however they please (with a few parameters of course).

It is a unique premise and one I still have many, many questions about. If humanity is essentially immortal, is there really a need for the population to even grow any more (hence making the need to kill at all negligible). Why are Scythes able to kill people in different ways? Surely each should choose how to die. If immortality is possible, why is space inhabitation not? We’ve already proved humans can live on space stations in our day! Eradicating health problems means it should be more than possible in this world. But, I digress. It requires a fair amount of imagination as what I see as many, many plot holes but once I did – I found the book quite enjoyable.

Sure, training teens to be killers is kind of weird. But it does make for some pretty thrilling scenarios. There is no shortage of bone-chilling scenes in this book to keep you from turning page after page. Even though I didn’t like the writing style, I still managed to devour this book in no time at all.

Will I read the next book? Perhaps. After all, it may contain some of the answers to many of the questions this book raises.

I’m rating Scythe 3/5 stars.

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