*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Author: Neal Schusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 29, 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do. Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.
OMG! OMG! OMG! I haven’t been this excited about a series in a long, long time. Schusterman has created such an interesting futuristic world where death of natural causes no longer exists. I received this book for review, not expecting much at all but I was completely BLOWN AWAY. You wouldn’t think this book is extraordinary when you look at it. The cover is nice, simple, but not mind blowing. But the story inside, I hope you’ll take a chance to read this one, because it seriously has the potential to be the next big thing.
Scythes are professional reapers who bring death to the immortal. They live by a code, some sticking to it more strictly than others. Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to the great Scythe Faraday, but they are quickly pitted against each other. Their world is full of corruption and deceit. They must make a way for themselves as their lives evolve into something new and unknown.
Both Rowan and Citra are interesting and well rounded characters. They are unique and come to develop their new career path in completely different ways. Schusterman shifts points of view so we get to know the inner thoughts of each character, even when they seem to not know one another. It’s a great way for us to come to understand each of them individually and to know their motivations and desires. The author does try to inject some romance (forbidden of course) into the story, which is entirely unnecessary and does pretty much nothing in term of developing the plot, in this book at least. Perhaps he intends to unfold the romance further in the future, but it certainly isn’t a will-they-wont-they circumstance here. They spell it out pretty clearly that their into one another–verbally. There’s not much imagined spark or romantic flirtation between the two. But then again, they do kill people for a living, so perhaps that heart-fluttery excitement would be a stretch.
This world is incredibly well planned and I think that we’re going to continue to see it excitingly exposed in future novels. Citra and Rowan will hopefully explore this world more in depth as they bring the Scythedom into a new era. There’s a lot more to come and that anticipation is just bubbling under the surface. I hope Shusterman is able to keep momentum in subsequent books. I can’t wait to read more!