- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Lexile Measure: 0830 (What's this?)
- Series: Arc of a Scythe (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (November 22, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1442472421
- ISBN-13: 978-1442472426
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 413 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Scythe (Arc of a Scythe) Hardcover – November 22, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In a world in which humanity has conquered death (no aging, no disease, no poverty, no war), ruled by the Thunderhead, an omniscient evolution of today's cloud, Scythes are the only ones who are allowed to take a human life. They are considered to be the best humanity has to offer, and they roam the world "gleaning" people in order to keep the population in check. Scythes are treated like royalty and feared. The last thing Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch want is to become Scythes, but when they are chosen by Scythe Faraday to become his apprentices, they are thrown into a life in which they need to master the art of death. They prove to be apt pupils, but when Scythe Faraday mysteriously gleans himself and Citra and Rowan are apprenticed to two other fearsome Scythes, they will have to put their skills to the test against each other. Intertwined with the fascinating concept of humanity conquering death and the idea of Scythes is the prospect that perhaps this is not the ideal world in which to live. Humanity has perfected itself—so what does that leave it to accomplish? Shusterman starts off this series in dramatic fashion as he creates an engrossing world that pulls readers in and refuses to let them go. VERDICT A truly astounding, unputdownable read and a fast-paced beginning to an excellent sci-fi series. A must-have.—Tyler Hixson, School Library Journal
About the Author
Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including The Unwind Dystology, The Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his newest series Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. The father of four children, Neal lives in California. Visit him at Storyman.com and Facebook.com/NealShusterman.
Top customer reviews
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The synopsis describes this book pretty well so I'll mention a few other things:
- The characters are brilliant. Each one of them, including the villains, are deeply established and have some decent layers of complexity. I loved reading how these two main characters grew and changed over time and through their experiences.
- Chilling concepts! We are reading about how a group of designated people are privileged with the task of human population control. They have quotas and are the only ones allowed to/required to murder. Naturally this author dove into the many ways in which this can be achieved. Some Scythes are ruthless, others humbled, all of them haunted.
- Exciting plot twists! This book kept me on the edge of my seat and I was desperate to learn more about the fates of these characters.
- Talented writing. This author is brilliant at what he does! Thank you Shusterman for creating this unique and fresh story, and for telling it with beautifully smooth detail.
I highly recommend this book if you're looking for a thought provoking and exciting new dystopian! Can't wait for the next one!!
It is through this unique and unsettling career path and training that the author presents a series of significant events all tucked within an incredible story telling that produces thought-provoking results. What reads as an entertaining piece of science fiction soon becomes an in-depth assessment of humanity told through alternating point of views.
This was my first Shusterman novel, and I was not disappointed, not at all. In the future, death no longer happens due to advanced technology. Neither does abject poverty or war or starvation or diseases. All of that is solved—and even if you’re in an accident that should kill you, you are revived. But overpopulation needs to be controlled. This is where Scythes come in. They are people, just like anyone else, until they are hired to deal out death to those they choose to die—however which way they feel necessary. They only have ten rules to abide by, and they are famous wherever they go. (So famous, there are even trading cards.) After two frightening encounters, Citra and Rowan are taken in as Scythe Faraday’s apprentices. I would tell you more about the plot, but I don’t want to spoil the read for anyone.
This book is brilliant, morbid, hilarious, and emotional. There are so many ethical discussions and miniature stories threaded throughout a larger, much more complicated work that I could barely put it down. The only tiff I would talk about is the “romance” between the Rowan and Citra. It felt a little forced; they could’ve easily gone through the same motions of the book with just a powerful friendship. But their relationship also didn’t take center stage, which I appreciated. This book had the perfect ending.
I cannot WAIT for book 2.
Recommend to: YA fantasy readers interested in scythes/grim reaper/discussions about death and life.
Favorite Quote: "Hope in the shadow of fear is the world’s most powerful motivator." (8)
Favorite Word: Metallurgy: the branch of science and technology concerned with the properties of metals and their production and purification: There was metallurgy as if applies to weapons, the philosophy of mortality, the psychology of immortality, and the literature of the Scythedom, from poetry to the wisdom found in famous scythes’ journals. (120)