‘Scythe’ ensnares its audience


Photo by Elizabeth Busch

In his young adult science fiction novel “Scythe,” Neal Shusterman enthralls readers with a tale of two young teenagers living on an Earth where natural death by age has ceased to exist.

To prevent the overpopulation of the planet, individuals called scythes are required to execute humans, and when teens Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch are chosen as Scythe Faraday’s apprentices, they contemplate whether they are ready to take another’s life. However, only one apprentice can be chosen to become a full-fledged scythe, and when the competition becomes life-and-death, Citra and Rowan must decide how willing they are to protect their loved ones, even if doing so will lead to their own demise.

Shusterman’s novel contains countless plot twists, shocking unsuspecting readers and convincing them to continue following Citra and Rowan’s story. Additionally, the unique arrangement of the chapters, which are separated by journal entries from various characters, gives readers a glimpse of the persona of the people in the novel and pulls them farther into the author’s world. Shusterman continues to artfully develop his characters in numerous ways throughout the book, allowing readers to watch how Citra and Rowan react to the obstacles they face and grow as a result of their decisions. This character development brings the story to life for readers, leaving them starving for the next chapter.

Although “Scythe” may particularly captivate readers of science fiction or dystopian novels, Shusterman’s creative storytelling and powerful plot twists make “Scythe” a must-read for everyone, no matter their book or genre preferences.