Scythe by Neal Shusterman | Review

2-stars rating

PAGES: 435
FORMAT: Hardcover
PUBLISHED: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
PUBLICATION DATE: November 22nd 2016


Thou shalt kill.28954189

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.


I’m in minority given the high ratings and the positives reviews on this book, but I want to be honest regarding my reading experience and the truth is that I struggled reading Shythe. The premise was interesting, but it was the only interesting part of the story. You might as well read the synopsis and mark the book as “read”.

So, it is a story about a utopian community where people have conquered hunger, disease, war, misery and even death. The only way to control the increase of population is by having people, also known as Shythes, to kill other people. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe. Basically, the whole book – 435 pages – is about their apprenticeship and a controversial love story.

The Shythes are divided into two categories. The empathetic ones, who glean (a term they used instead of murder) because they have to; quickly, painless, demonstrating their soft-hearts for sobbing after the execution of their victims. After the “mandatory” duty, they attend the funerals to show off their superiority and to remind humanity, that this is the way the things work. And thus, implying their “unwillingness” to act in these patterns and stressing their roles as means, since they care about the greater good of the society – the freaking hypocrites.

“It is the most difficult thing a person can be asked to do. And knowing that it is for the greater good doesn’t make it any easier.” ⇒ Hypocrites

“Will the scythe who replaces me be as compassionate and fair?”⇒ Is it possible to be compassionate and fair when it comes to the deprivation of human life?

The second category consists of the evils, the serial killers, the psychopaths, who usually are involved in massacres (Jesus freaking Christ). Oh, did I mention that they have a “system” to choose the next victim? A lame “system”, which can somehow excuse the fact they are cold-blooded killers and not the angels of death, who were chosen to maintain the stability. However, the reality is much simpler. They were chosen to kill, just to spice up the peaceful existence in the utopian world they existed. I see them as assassins, who had been selected by a perverted “government”, to keep the people under control and fear. To feel their unlimited power and to enjoy the act of killing other people, because they just could, without any impact.

What about the romance? Sorry, was there any romance? The main characters were indifferent to me. I won’t even refer to that kiss. The confession of their feelings seemed rushed and forced to me. How did they fall in love since there wasn’t even a platonic chemistry between them? Sorry, but it is not enough for me when it comes to romance.

One of the reasons I picked this book up was the expectation of some really awesome plot twists.  Yes, I agree that my mind was blown due to the amount of cliché twists I witnessed. I saw them coming from a mile away, given the fact I’m myopic.

Finally, I want to point out the frustrating behaviour of the ordinary people, who consider “Shythes” as celebrities. They admire them, they meet them with applauds on the “red carpet”. The “ordinary”, immortal humans entertain themselves by watching indifferently the blood bath the murderers create. The utopia they are living in made them heartless, apathetic towards their fellow beings, as soon as they have their immunity, and therefore safety for a year or so. They have transformed into a crooked community, which is trying to gain the patronage of the shythes by bribing and serving them. The aforementioned are painfully familiar and the most intimidating part of the story, since it describes perfectly the real world. They (we) know, they (we) understand, and still they (we) do it.

Thanks for reading and I hope that you won’t glean me due to my extremely negative review.




C.G. Drews

I have to admit that the book trailer looks very intriguing…


6 thoughts on “Scythe by Neal Shusterman | Review

  1. Alex Masegian says:

    This review was so funny! I laughed out loud when I read “I saw them coming from a mile away, given the fact I’m myopic.” I might not be encouraged to read Scythe after your review (I think this is a book I’ll be avoiding for a while), but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of your posts in the future. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s