Force Me to Read… Scythe by Neal Shusterman

At the end of October I announced a new monthly blog feature where I essentially let you force me to read any book you want. I let people suggest books here on my blog, Twitter, and Instagram.

I ended up with 36 unique suggestions so I wrote all the titles down, put them in a little basket, and let Elliott randomly grab 4 of them! Those four then went into a Twitter poll and the winner was…Scythe by Neal Shusterman. The rest of the titles were put back into the basket for next time and I put Scythe on hold at my local library!

I’m going to put the book details below for those who aren’t familiar with the book and then I’ll jump into sharing my reading experience!

Title: Scythe
Series: Arc of a Scythe
Author: Neal Shusterman
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 435

Content Warnings: murder, mass murder, graphic violence, suicide, fire, self-harm, talk of torture

This post does contain affiliate links. I will receive a small amount from any purchases made through Book Depository at no extra cost to you.

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

I believe in transparency so I’m just going to let you know – I was not looking forward to reading Scythe. I had read Unwind already and had tried to make my way through UnWholly and was pretty convinced that Neal Shusterman was not an author for me.

But you know what? I ended up loving this book and I made so many notes. And that’s the great thing about this series. Y’all are going to have me read so many books that I normally wouldn’t pick up and it’s going to be so good for me.

I participated in the Stranger Things readathon November 11-17 and one of the challenges was to do a buddy read with somebody. My buddy chose Scythe as our book and it was fun to read it with Brie although it was also difficult to pace myself. I was enjoying it so much I wanted to zoom through it!

We started reading this on the twelfth which was poor planning on my part since that was also release day for Disney+. I downloaded the app around 12:30 that morning, watched three episodes of Hannah Montana, then figured I should try to get some reading done. I only managed to make it one chapter in before I started falling asleep thanks to it being 2 am. But I was instantly hooked.

That first day I was really busy so I didn’t read the first 1/3 of the book until real late that night. The next day though I picked it up as soon as Elliott started his nap because I was so anxious to continue. And things got exciting quick…

  • 35% – I’m not going to say what was going on because spoilers but basically I was like OH SHIT
  • 39% – O H S H I T

This book kept me on my toes and constantly took turns I wasn’t expecting. With the Unwind series I always felt like things were just moving too slowly and it was too wordy but I never felt that way with Scythe. It was exciting from the very beginning and I never lost interest.

There were so many parts that stuck out. I loved how Shusterman would constantly reference things that happened previously in the book. This is the one that got me the most:

Then she offered Citra ice cream that was the best she’d ever tasted.

Like, that’s such a simple thing but the way it was worded the exact same as it was previously when Citra was talking about the experience with her classmate. And then Shusterman brought it up again at the end with Citra’s brother and I just loved it so much.

The next third of the book I read while eating chicken noodle soup at 11 pm because that’s what you do in a depressive episode, right?

Esme really puzzled me and for the longest time I could not figure out what her deal was and what connection she had to everything. Literally like three pages before it was revealed though I had an idea and I was so excited to see I was right. That was an interesting twist and I’m hoping it will play a role in future books.

Finally it was time to finish it! I think I read the last third the quickest because I was just dying to know how everything would work out because I honestly didn’t know how it would.

Rowan worried me there for a bit but he proved me wrong.

And then that thing at 85%?! I WAS SHOCKED. Just…I did not see that coming. (I want to be more specific so badly but I also do not at all want to spoil anything.)

The final test really got me. I don’t know that I would have been able to do it. I have a ton of respect for Citra and how she handled the entire thing. And then how she handled the gleaning? She’s so clever!

Overall I’m just so glad that y’all pushed me to read this. I never would have picked it up on my own and I would have missed out on a truly incredible book. I loved Citra, Rowan, Curie, and Faraday so much. They were all so well developed and fleshed out. As soon as I finished Scythe I put Thunderhead and The Toll on hold at my library. I can’t wait to read the entire series.

Have you read Scythe? What did you think of it? Or is it one you’re interested in? If you could force me to read any book what would it be? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to follow me on Twitter so you can vote on the next book on Monday!

13 thoughts on “Force Me to Read… Scythe by Neal Shusterman”

  1. This is such a brilliant idea for a blog post! I love it 🙂 I’m so glad that you ended up enjoying Scythe. I read it a few years back and loved both books in the series but I’ve been meaning to re-read them before diving into The Toll. I’m glad I read your reactions/review coz it’s made me even more excited to pick it up again 😂 Hope you continue to enjoy the series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaah, thank you! I’m so glad I had the idea and gave it a shot. I’m the actual worst at finishing series because I always want to reread the previous books too before continuing except I never get around to it so the series always stays unfinished. If I’m going to read a series it needs to all be released and I’m glad this one is. I’m also glad I could rekindle your excitement about this particular series!


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