Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, and the Thunderhead is not pleased. - (Baker & Taylor)
A follow-up to Scythe finds Rowan pursuing a vigilante life a year after going off the grid, while Citra, as Scythe Anastasia, openly challenges the ideals of the "new order" in ways that cause her life to be threatened. By the award-winning author of the Unwind Dystology. By the National Book Award-winning author of Challenger Deep. - (Baker & Taylor)
Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.
The Thunderhead cannot interfere in the affairs of the Scythedom. All it can do is observe—it does not like what it sees.
A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent.
As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.
Will the Thunderhead intervene?
Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel? - (Simon and Schuster)
*Starred Review* Shusterman follows up his Printz Honor Book Scythe (2016) with that most difficult of feats: a sequel that surpasses its predecessor. Where the first book focused on the titular scythes tasked with gleaning lives to control populations in a future where death has been vanquished, the second installment delves into the inner workings of the Thunderhead, the sentient cloud that smoothly operates all of society. The plot is straightforward: Rowan, a rogue ex-scythe apprentice, stalks the streets of MidMerica taking the lives of the scythes who have lost sight of their mission and kill for pleasure or personal gain. Citra, once his counterpart, is now the ordained Scythe Anastasia, and as she works to better the system from the inside, her own life may be in danger. But it is the Thunderhead—part government and part god, almost all-knowing, and increasingly aware of its own limitations—that commands the most attention, and it is pulling strings across the globe. Through the Thunderhead, Shusterman widens the already impressive scope of his near-future utopia while also keeping a deft finger on the pulse of our own turbulent times. Exceptionally clear-eyed and brutal in its execution, this raises even bigger moral questions than its predecessor—and, like its predecessor, offers no easy answers. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: There's no doubting Shusterman's talents—he's nabbed both a National Book Award and a Printz Honor Book—and this sequel to an enthusiastically received series starter is eagerly awaited. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews
When Rowan killed Citra at the end of Scythe (rev. 11/16), it ended their competition for a single spot in the scythedom. In this sequel, Citra is revived and anointed Scythe Anastasia, while Rowan goes rogue and flees underground, taking the moniker Scythe Lucifer and gleaning only unethical and unworthy scythes. Anastasia and her mentor, Scythe Curie, find themselves the target of assassination attempts ahead of a surprising announcement by High Blade Xenocrates that he will resign to take a promotion to Grandslayer. Curie is the obvious "old guard" candidate to replace him, and as the "new order" faction puts their candidate forward, the plot quickly coalesces around the Machiavellian struggle to gain the upper hand. Meanwhile, Scythe Faraday remains in hiding, looking for knowledge from the founding scythes, and the Thunderhead (the god-like technology that governs and regulates society) is searching for answers, too; both lines of inquiry serve to deepen the world-building and raise questions about the foundations of this society. Shusterman expertly weaves the various narrative strands together, culminating with the requisite cliffhanger, and the excellent storytelling is complemented by ethical considerations of power, corruption, and virtue at both individual and global levels. jonathan hunt Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Death proves impermanent in this sequel to Scythe (2016).In a world run by the (almost) all-powerful and (almost) omniscient artificial intelligence Thunderhead, only the Honorable Scythes deal permanent death to near-immortal humans. Yet a growing contingent of scythes, feared and flattered by society and operating outside the Thunderhead's control, are proving rather dishonorable. No longer apprentices, 18-year-olds Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch realize "the scythedom is…high school with murder" as they watch their fellow scythes jockey for power and prestige. Citra now gleans as Scythe Anastasia, questioning the status quo but also opposing the homicidally enthusiastic "new-order" scythes and their dangerous demagogue. Self-appointed as Scythe Lucifer, Rowan hunts other scythes whom he deems corrupt. Meanwhile, the existentially troubled Thunderhead questions its role as both creation and caretaker of humanity, sworn not to take life but fearing that its utopia w ill otherwise collapse into dystopia. Nationality and race are minimally mentioned—ethnic biases and genocide are considered very gauche—yet a population that defies death, aging, sickness, poverty, and war risks becoming bleakly homogenous, alleviated only by "unsavories" and scythes. This sequel digs deeper into Shusterman's complex world and complicated characters, offering political maneuvering, fatal conspiracies, and impending catastrophe via a slowly unfurling plot and startling bursts of action. Fear the reaper(s)…but relish this intelligent and entertaining blend of dark humor and high death tolls. (Science fiction. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Shusterman cranks up the stakes in this blistering sequel to 2016's Scythe, set on a "post-mortal" future Earth in which easily revived humans are only "deadish" when killed, not permanently dead, except for the few "gleaned" by scythes, who kill to keep population growth under control. The narrative focuses primarily on Citra, who is gaining influence as Scythe Anastasia, and Rowan, who has adopted the mantle of Scythe Lucifer as he furtively gleans amoral scythes. New presences include Greyson Tolliver, an unassuming young man who becomes aware of threats on Scythe Anastasia's life, and the voice of the Thunderhead, the artificial intelligence that manages virtually all aspects of life on Earth. As the political machinations between scythe factions collide, the Thunderhead's dispatches reflect powerfully on its relationship with humanity ("All I can do is watch unblinkingly as my beloved humankind slowly weaves the rope it will use to hang itself"). Interweaving heady questions of morality, responsibility, loyalty, and power, Shusterman builds to a devastatingly intense conclusion that sends the characters and larger world into terrifying new territory. It's difficult to fathom what awaits in the next book. Ages 12–up. Agent: Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary. (Jan.)
Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.
School Library Journal Reviews
POPGr 9 Up—A year has passed since the events of Scythe and Scythe Anastasia, once known as Citra Terranova, lives with her mentor, Scythe Marie Curie, and performs her gleanings in relative peace despite causing a rift in the Scythedom by giving her subjects a month to choose how they want to be gleaned, aka killed. Anastasia argues that it is more humane this way which earns her the favor of the "old world" scythes, those who feel they perform their job with dignity and humility rather than with joy and pride, like the "new world" scythes. Still, she cannot escape the tidbits of news surrounding her fellow apprentice Rowan Damisch, who now goes by the name Scythe Lucifer. He is hunting down corrupt scythes as a vigilante who deals death to those whom he feels besmirch the title. Ruling over this world is the Thunderhead, an omniscient artificial intelligence. However, it has no jurisdiction over the Scythedom and therefore has done nothing to stop Rowan. When an old enemy resurfaces, throwing the Scythedom into chaos, and Rowan unable to stem the flow of corruption on his own, the world begins to wonder if the Thunderhead will break its own laws and intervene. Shusterman wields his magic once again in this continuation. The exploration of how the Thunderhead operates and thinks, told through "diary entries," gives the story an extra dimension: how would an all-knowing, all-powerful AI think, and how would it process a flawed humanity? The climax and twist ending will leave fans of the series begging for the next installment. VERDICT A rare sequel that is even better than the first book.—Tyler Hixson, Brooklyn Public Library
Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.