Author: Neal Shusterman
Teen Reviewer: Se Choi
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Synopsis: In the future (the book does not clarify when) there is no disease, hunger, and sadness. People can live forever and that was because the government of all the countries of the world were taken control over by a computer program. This program was never cruel, corrupt but governed people fairly and well. The only thing the program did not control was the Scythe Realm. The Scythes controlled the population of their given area. Every day they would choose a target five days a week and kill him or her and give their family members one year free of not having a chance of being killed by kissing the ring of the Scythe.
One day, Scythe Faraday decided to take on two apprentices named Citra and Rowen. They both hated the idea of being a Scythe but decided to try after they heard that only one of them would become a Scythe at the end and that the two of them had to compete for the job. Scythe Faraday taught them that if you wanted to be a Scythe you would have to not enjoy killing people, Scythes only take what they really need, and if they did not want to be Scythes after a long period of time on the Job, they could take their own life. After many months of training, they went to the Scythe Conclave which happened every season. At the Conclave, the Scythes would discuss problems and test apprentices until the Winter Conclave, which was the final test for the students. Both apprentices failed their first test so they were even, but things got even more competitive when an evil Scythe named Goddard suggested the Grand Scythe that the one that fails the final test should be killed by the winner. After the Conclave, Rowan and Citra were informed that Faraday Killed himself to protect Rowan and Citra from killing each other. Expecting to be returned to their families, they were very surprised to hear that Citra would be trained more with the Grande Dame of Death (a very respected Scythe) and Rowen would be trained by Scythe Goddard until the Winter Conclave. During that time, Citra tried to learn more about the suicide of Faraday and also learned a lot from the Grande Dame of Death. But Rowan was learning how to kill without caring and granting people kisses on the ring for fame. Rowan eventually killed Goddard and his evil companions by cutting them in pieces and throwing them into a burning building. He did this because he knew the only thing that you couldn’t be healed from is fire. The day of the Winter conclave came and Citra became the Scythe. Instead of killing Rowan, she punched him in the mouth with the ring she was given. Because Rowan kissed the ring, he was granted one year of not being killed. So Citra and Rowan escaped and fled the region.
Review: This novel was gruesome and cruel but was very good showing the characters thoughts and emotions. That, I believe is the most important part of a novel. Also the main characters’ revolt against their inevitable doom is shown very clearly at the end.