Scythe Series Book Review; Written by Neal Shuttersman

Scythe Series Book Review; Written by Neal Shuttersman

Mo Alrabiah, Journalist

In the future, humanity has conquered illness and disease, age, and decay. With the miracles of technology, anyones accidental stumble into oncoming traffic, their intentional jump off a building, their death by violence, illness, or dumb fate is no longer permanent. Thanks to a combination of nanities and an impressive all-knowing artificial intelligence called “The Thunderhead”, humans have conquered poverty, racism, war, and death itself.


Scythes were created by the Thunderhead, their job only to glean (that is, permanently killed). The Scythes aren’t allowed to have spouses or children, not allowed to own any earthly possessions other than their robes, their immunity-giving ring, and their tools of death.


This tale opens with two different teenagers, both of which are 16, Citra and Rowan. They are selected by honorable Scythe Faraday, as his dual apprentices. They are trained with him, fighting styles, how to use the weapons, and sometimes even went with Faraday on his gleanings. All Scythes have their own way of gleaning, where Faraday relies on statistics from the mortal days, he also has a strict code of morality and empathy.


Not all scythes are like Faraday. At the first Scythe Conclave, Citra and Rowan discover the politics and differing ideologies divide the scythedom, some Scythes kill because they like it, contrary to everything that Faraday has taught them. The apprentices find themselves split apart and pitted against each other in a competition to become an ordained Scythe, the two must decide if they want to fall in line with the rest of the Scythedom, or if they will ignite the flames of change to burn it all down.


The Scythe series has won the National Book Award winner Neal Shuttersman, Scythe is a harrowing, poignant speculative fiction novel. Its themes examine even the broadest questions like “What does it mean to be human?” Or “What are we now if we cannot die?”. The book is a rich examination of mortality, morality, and the meaning of life when everyone lives in comfort.


The books were altogether an amazing series, there was everything you would want, from the suspense that would keep you gripping onto the book as hard as you can, to light romance that’s heartwarming. The idea of the future being controlled by artificial intelligence could be believable in the direction we are going with technology, but it also makes you think about tech now that could have that influence.