Summary: This is the story about a girl and a boy, Citra and Rowan, who are both selected to become Scythe’s. This is a really neat book, also dystopian, where disease and death has been eradicated. Now, not only do people not die, but they can regenerate, too. Once you turn 100, for example, if you want, you can turn the corner and become 20 again. The story starts out with Faraday, a Scythe, who comes to visit Citra and her family. This is a very scary thing, because Scythes are meant to reap people so that overpopulation does not occur. Naturally, everyone fears the Scythes, and Citra and her family are afraid he is going to glean one of them when he comes. Instead, he goes next door; “Then he left to kill their neighbor,” (Shusterman, pg. 11). Both Citra and Rowan, the two primary characters in this book, are soon after chosen by Faraday to be his apprentices; normally it’s only one. As they start to learn about being a Scythe, and all it entails, they must face evil for the first time, not just from killing innocents, but from other Scythes, as well.
Response: Spoilers: The Scythe, Goddard, enjoys killing more than he should and without compassion. When Scythe Faraday decides to apprentice two people, he insists that this is wrong and demands that when it is over, that there is a winner between the two, and that the winner must glean the other. Unfortunately, Citra and Rowan don’t want to do this, and they are separated in their training, as seen here, “And you, Rowan, will complete your training in the capable hands of the Honorable Scythe Goddard,” (Shusterman, pg. 174). Meanwhile, Citra also gets a new trainer, Madam Curie, when they’re told that Faraday has gleaned himself. There are ten commandments that Scythes have to abide by once they actually become one, and their training is hindered when Citra is framed for the murder of Scythe Faraday. However, he’s not dead, having faked his own death, but no one knows. Citra escapes and is hidden until her names is cleared. At their final test, Citra wins, but enables Rowan to escape with immunity for a year. This is a really neat book in that it is definitely different and unique. It makes the reader question the idea of death, as well as power. It makes the reader ponder the fact that life is temporary, and what life would be like if it wasn’t. It’s definitely thought-provoking. The theme of this book is about having compassion and that death is a necessary evil, as well as that even in a perfect world without death, there can still be evil. It also deals with diversity in that there is to be no biases with gleaning.
Audience: Ages 15 and up, high school library.
He has a really neat website with a lot of books and movie trailer for his book, “Scythe.” Check it out, here.
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