Reviews

Between the Pages: Scythe by Neal Schusterman

Scythe is the kind of book that makes you giddy because the plot sounds amazing. Basically it’s about a utopian society where nobody dies naturally so Scythes are the ones responsible of “gleaning” people to make sure overpopulation doesn’t become a thing. The story revolves around two teenagers who get picked to become Scythes and what it means to them. So that sounded like a pretty great idea to me. I love reaper stories because I have this weird obsession with death as a fictional figure. It doesn’t really matter what form it’s in, chances are good I like the story if it has some personification of death. What I did expect was a YA love story in that interesting setting. What I got was a book that offers romance as a very, very vague side dish when the star of the story is really political corruption and suspense.

 

The Story You Really Want To See On Netflix

 

Scythe doesn’t offer too much for people who read books for the beauty of their language. I’m not saying that it’s poorly written, not by any means, but I’ve been a little spoiled from writers lately. The books I read the past couple months even when  I haven’t been the greatest fan of the story all offered a certain skill level when it comes to the writing itself. Scythe is way easier to read, but nobody should expect it to fill their quote journals. Where it lacks in metaphors and deep revelations it makes up for it with a good pace and a very good feeling for dialogue. The writing felt very “American” to me if that makes any sense. It’s not very complex but it feels real and therefore it still manages to suck you in. I certainly prefer those kinds of books over empty metaphors and purple prose but you have to be okay with that to actually enjoy it.

 

What I do have to say is that Scythe works with a very visual language. What I mean is that I could clearly see the scene unfold in my head. In a lot of ways from the world building to the structure up to how the characters are built Scythe lays a groundwork that would be perfect for an adaption. It’s a “show-don’t-tell” book and I have to say that I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to turn it into a movie or a series. (Please, Netflix. Get to it, before someone else does and screws it up.)

 

The World And The People

 

There isn’t much to say about the plot because it’s pretty solid and it manages to build suspense despite the fact that some of the twists can be guessed if you’re good with that. There will be a few moments I’m almost certain people won’t see coming and I personally was surprised and shocked a couple of times even though I’m good at seeing the tropes before they hit me.

 

What is worth to mention is the world building because that’s pretty amazing. Scythe manages to show several aspects of the futuristic setup by introducing a bunch of very not always lovable but most of the times fleshed out side characters that touch the protagonist’s life in one way or another. The future feels very authentic and it’s not too hard to get behind the mindset of the people.

 

The main characters were pretty easy for me to get but I do have to admit at this point that I think I have to read about more grown up protagonists soon because I’m growing a tiny bit tired of teenage heroes and heroines. That has a certain relevance considering that I’m a little bit more interested in a prequel featuring Faraday and/or Curie than Citra and Rowan in a sequel. But that is a minor bump in the road. Both protagonists are nicely written and nicely developed. They have a good character balance.

 

Conclusion

 

What I love about Scythe is that it can be read as a standalone novel so I think it’s easy to tell people to give it a shot. I personally can’t wait for the second book and I will definitely read it. Scythe doesn’t look like the most skillfully written book in the universe but it makes up for it with this very real feel to it. The easiness with which it introduces its characters as well as the pace and the worldbuilding give it a certain movie-vibe that turns an okay book into a pretty good read.

 

Rating: 8/10

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