The Thunderhead controls everything that occurs in the human world using strategically placed cameras that survey all that takes place in public spaces and accesses everyone’s data.
Yet it is essential to prevent over population, which is where professional Scythes who kill or ‘glean’ the otherwise immortal humans, come into play.
Scythe introduces us to the story of Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova, 16-year-olds who have no intention of becoming scythes. Both are initially repelled by the practice, however when they are chosen to be apprentice scythes they have no choice but to learn how to glean humans. The responsibility is great and each must learn to deal with the burden in their own way.
After becoming students of Scythe Faraday, they develop their body and mind so that they are ready to take on all aspects of the role. Yet despite their integrity and the integrity that the role demands, they find themselves in the midst of a very corrupt scythdom. Add to this that at the end of their apprenticeship only one of them will graduate to become a scythe and it makes for a thrilling plot.
Easy to see why the world of Scythe has been so appealing to teen sci-fi fans – it is simply riveting! A fast-paced read, Scythe will also leave them lingering on a number of ethical questions and pondering ideas around tradition, honour and justice. Parents may also find themselves up late flicking through the pages of Scythe.
Neal Shusterman is an award-winning author whose books include the New York Times bestselling Unwind series and Challenger Deep, which won a National Book Award. He also writes screenplays for film and television, for shows such as Goosebumps and Animorphs. He lives in Southern California with his four children.