Arc of a Scythe #1
Thou shalt kill.
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.
Self Harm, Suicide, Murder
“I vow to become the change that might have been.”
I read this in the beginning of 2017 (I got it for Christmas) and it was a favorite back then. Stewing on it, I took it off my favorites list, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed it any less. So, because of the release of book two, I decided to review this one… 2 years later…
Basically, in a world where no one dies, feels pain, hunger, etc. Scythes are assigned to “glean” people to control the population. We follow Citra and Rowan, two teen who don’t really want to be Scythe’s but must or they will die… permanently.
“If you’ve ever studied mortal age cartoons, you’ll remember this one. A coyote was always plotting the demise of a smirking long-necked bird. The coyote never succeeded; instead, his plans always backfired. He would blow up, or get shot, or splat from a ridiculous height.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a dystopian, let alone a good one. And this one was good. We have an Utopian world where everything has lost its meaning. Teens jump off of building for fun, because there are no consequences; they’ll be brought back to life. You can make yourself younger, start over, have as many kids as you want— you can appreciate or take anything for granted here, nothing is real. And on top of it all, we have a glorified Siri (The Thunderhead) overlooking everything, yet unable to interfere. The more I got into the world building, the more I became scared.
“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.”
In the midst of our two main characters training to be Scythe’s, it’s also a competition— whoever loses also dies permanently. Both come at this situation differently, their personalities very much contrast each others making them perfect foils; I never got them confused while switching POV’s.
Speaking on the main characters, I loved them… a lot. Of course, I gravitated towards one more than the other, but by the end, I loved them both dearly. Citra’s questioning, headstrong nature and Rowan’s cinnamon roll self. My main issue with these two was the romance. It seemed kind of insta-lovey on Rowan’s side and I wanted to know why. They had never met before this… yet by the end of the story… I shipped it. The loyalty. The badass couple goals. It was great. They have potential in the next book.
The villain of the story… wasn’t very scary to me? I’ll admit, I respected him and that in my book makes a great villain— his views on the Scythe’s and his philosophies was interesting to see; at times it made me think that made sense even though that type of thinking is psychopathic. But never was I scared.
The ending was the best part of the story. I had no idea what was going to happen, who was going to die, NO ONE WAS SAFE. AND IT WAS AMAZING. I’m usually a character focused reader, but man if this world building didn’t damn near steal all my attention. Overall, I’d love more, no— I need more.