The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3) by Neal Shusterman

Citra and Rowan have sunk to the bottom of the ocean, along with the rest of Endura. Now, Goddard is in control of a better part of the world and is changing scythes rules on gleaning so they are more relaxed. The Thunderhead has deemed all of humanity unsavory, except for Greyson, who has become an icon for the Tonists.

Sci-fi, 627 pages, published in 2019

Citra and Rowan have sunk to the bottom of the ocean, along with the rest of Endura. Now, Goddard is in control of a better part of the world and is changing scythes rules on gleaning so they are more relaxed. The Thunderhead has deemed all of humanity unsavory, except for Greyson, who has become an icon for the Tonists.

Spoiler Free Review:

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Where do I even start with this book? I recently fell in love with Scythe and Thunderhead while rereading them, so I was so ready to read this last book! I was a little intimidated by the size, but it ended up being such a good conclusion to this trilogy!

My biggest/only issue with this book was the timeline in the beginning. The book follows a few different characters, and their timelines all start off at different points. Eventually, they all do converge and stay at the same time, but I definitely got confused, especially because the description of the book says that it starts three years after the events of Thunderhead. Some story lines do start that late, but some start immediately following those events.

This series grew so much in scope throughout. I was not expecting this book to heavily feature some of things that seemed like background worldbuilding from the first book. This was definitely not a bad thing! It made the world seem so much more fleshed-out, in my opinion. In the first book, we only really see the scythedom in depth, but through the rest of the series, we get to see the actual world as well.

For you, Honorable Scythe Anastasia, I would die a thousand deaths at my own hand.

pg. 404

There was a character in this book who was genderfluid! They are from whole region where children are raised without a gender until they are a certain age. This was handled so well in the book. All of the characters reacted to it like it was normal (because it is) and I really appreciated that there were multiple conversations about it.

The ending of this book messed me up a little bit, I think. It was just so emotional for me, because I really couldn’t predict what was going to happen. I know that no one is safe in this series, so I was seriously worrying about the survival of my favorite characters. I was overall really happy with how everything wrapped up!

This series has just become such a favorite of mine. It is shocking and kind of fun, but it still makes me think about morality and death. I normally don’t love plot-driven books like these, but Neal Shusterman is so good at writing interesting and engaging plots. I can’t wait to read more from him in the future!

If it isn’t clear already, I highly recommend this series!

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Reread Review: Thunderhead (The Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman

After becoming a scythe, Citra tries to stop the growing corruption of the scythdom from within, while Rowan has become the infamous Scythe Lucifer after being denied his scythe ring. He has been finding corrupt scythes and killing them – truly killing them – and the Thunderhead has done nothing to stop him.

Sci-fi, 504 pages, published in 2018

After becoming a scythe, Citra tries to stop the growing corruption of the scythdom from within, while Rowan has become the infamous Scythe Lucifer after being denied his scythe ring. He has been finding corrupt scythes and killing them – truly killing them – and the Thunderhead has done nothing to stop him.

Spoiler Free Review:

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As with Scythe, I enjoyed it the first time, but I loved it the second! I was initially hesitant to pick it up because it is kind of a chunky book, but once I started reading, I couldn’t stop.

This book introduces a new character: Greyson. At first I didn’t really like him, but he grew on me. He gets marked as “unsavory” for saving scythe lives with information from the Thunderhead, so he must meet with someone each week in order to get rid of his unsavory status. However, the man he meets with wants him to go undercover and figure out who is trying to have scythes killed. This was such a cool bit of the story! In the first book, we don’t really get to see much outside of the scythedom, but this gives a look into the outsiders of this world, and just how controlled even the bad things are.

There are also new regions introduced, like Texas, that have different rules than the rest of the world. In Texas, pretty much anything goes and the Thunderhead monitors less than normal there. There is also Endura, which is the heart of the scythedom and is completely free of the Thunderhead. I thought Endura was really cool because you get to see how these post-mortal humans deal with things when the Thunderhead isn’t there to help.

One thing that drives me a little crazy about this series is that there is no limit on how many kids people can have, which is why the population keeps growing and scythes are necessary in the first place. There are some people who are genuinely good to their kids and want them, but then there are others like Greyson’s parents. His father is on his 5th family, while his mother is on her 3rd and he gets completely ignored by both of them. If there are people having kids just to have kids and then forget about them, why can’t there be something limiting those people? Obviously, this wouldn’t stop population growth, but it would slow it down.

There are so many twists in this book, but they all seem so realistic. The ending is one wild ride, but it all makes sense, while still being shocking. This book is also very plot-driven. I like the characters, but it’s the plot that stands out to me.

I am currently reading The Toll and loving it! I do think this will end up being one of my favorite series. I just love the moral questions is poses and I am continually shocked by the things that happen.

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Reread Review: Scythe (Arc of Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman

In a world where disease, murder, and even death have been conquered, there is the need for scythes to kill in order to keep the population from growing too rapidly. Teenagers Citra and Rowan are thrown into an scythe apprenticeship that neither of them wants.

Sci-fi, 443 pages, published in 2016

In a world where disease, murder, and even death have been conquered, there is the need for scythes to kill in order to keep the population from growing too rapidly. Teenagers Citra and Rowan are thrown into an scythe apprenticeship that neither of them wants.

Spoiler Free Review:

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I read this book around a year ago and I enjoyed it, but this time around, I loved it!! I planning on just looking up a synopsis before reading the third book, but after it was announced as the Barnes & Noble YA Book Club pick for December, I decided to give it a reread. I’m honestly so glad I reread it because now I am obsessed with this series!

The premise of the books has always been interesting to me. I love the moral questions about death that it raises. If humans should be in charge of choosing who dies, is there a right type of person for that job? Should they enjoy it? The book also features an AI that governs people, but has nothing to do with scythes. Should an AI be allowed to choose who dies, or if life is a human affair, should death also be a human affair? The characters struggle with all of these questions and more throughout the book.

As far as Neal Shusterman’s books go, I have only read Scythe, the sequel, and Dry, but I feel like they all tend to be more plot driven. It’s not that I don’t like the characters, because I do like Rowan and Citra for the most part, it’s just that the plot is way more interesting than the characters for me. Even though this was a reread, the plot twists still had me on the edge of my seat! Normally, I prefer character-driven books, but the plot and world of this book kept me so engaged.

The romance in this book is a little…abrupt in my opinion. I don’t dislike it, but there is very little lead up to it. I know it is because we don’t spend much time in the day to day lives of the characters, but it’s worth noting that if you are looking for well-developed romance, you’re not going to find it here.

I’m loving this series! As I am writing this, I have reread Thunderhead and I’m in the middle of The Toll. I love the world and what it says about humanity, as well as the plot and it’s twists. I highly recommend this series!

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