Ever since I devoured Neal Shusterman’s Scythe and Thunderhead back in February 2018, I had been waiting to eat up the final book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, The Toll. Since the book came out in early November, aka finals prep and paper writing season in this English and Communications major’s world, I thought I would wait until Thanksgiving break to read it. That being said, I only waited one week after its release to pick it up and definitely avoided a research paper or four while reading this 625 page beast.

Although I will be an absolute paper writing machine during the last week of classes, I have no regret reading The Toll over 6 days- I honestly would’ve finished it sooner if it hadn’t been for school- because it was such a satisfying series finale!517PsnK17hL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_

My review format is going to be different for The Toll. For the sake of spoilers, I will not be providing a summary of the book, and I will be splitting my thoughts into non-spoilers and spoilers sections. The first book, Scythe, follows teenagers Citra and Rowan who live in a world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery, no natural death. Scythes are the only individuals who can end life and must do so to control the size of the population. When Citra and Rowan are chosen as apprentices to the same scythe, neither wants the role, but they soon find themselves entangled in the politics and inner workings of the scythedom.


My Rating: 5/5

My Non-Spoiler Thoughts:

 I had such a great reading experience with The Toll. Even at its 625 pages, I ate it up so quickly. I really enjoyed being transported back into the world, finding that I had to read at least fifty pages per sitting. There are so many different narratives and perspectives in The Toll. While I admit that I preferred some over others, I still enjoyed them all and couldn’t get over the connections to one another. All 3 books in the series are definitely the type that call for having a notebook on hand to note plot happenings or details and see how they play out later. I’m 50-50 for my predictions coming out correctly for the series.

The main reason why I had been screaming for The Toll for almost two years was Thunderhead’s cliffhanger ending. Much of the theorizing and predicting about The Toll has to do with when the story would actually start, and when and even if we would be reunited with our original two main characters. There are even more characters and narratives involved in The Toll, which I ended up really enjoyed because it expanded the world even more.  I wasn’t expecting too much more of that with the finale, but there’s so much exploration with the Tonists and the founding scythes. I really liked the exploration of the former, especially since this followed Faraday and Munira. Along with being reunited with the first two book’s casts, we are also introduced to a variety of new characters within each plot thread. That being said, there was a lot less Citra/Anastasia and Rowan than I expected.

I admit that I have a love-hate relationship with how much the Thunderhead has to do with the main plot of the novel. Call me dark, but I really liked exploring the scythedom element more so than the Thunderhead and technology. Like my Thunderhead feels, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Thunderhead’s iterations or exceprts before some chapters. I definitely preferred excepts from the scythe journals and statements and interpretations about the Toll and the Tonists. I really wish the Thunderhead actually hadn’t been so involved in the main plot at all. I know some readers will argue that of course the Thunderhead helps the main characters against the scythedom out a lot.

Read More »

Review: Dry by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman

Summary: The drought- or the Tap-Out- in California has been going on for a while now. Don’t water the lawn, no filling the pool, no long showers. But  when the taps run dry, Alyssa’s quiet suburban neighborhood becomes a war zone of desperation. Neighbors and families turn against one another in the hunt for water. When her parents don’t return from their own search and Alyssa and her brother’s lives are threatened, Alyssa must make impossible choices, including trusting her geeky, survival-guide expert of a neighbor Kelton, if they want to survive.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars


Read More »

CAN THE THUNDERHEAD GIVE ME THE 3RD BOOK? | Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman Review

I love reading series. I love reading trilogies.

But you know what I don’t love? Reading amazing series, like Neal Schusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, that aren’t complete just yet. Because I need book 3 right now… please!

Since Thunderhead is the second book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, I am not going to be providing a summary for the sake of spoilers. If you’re interested in learning more about this series, I recommend checking out my review and non-spoilery thoughts on the first book, Scythe. Scythe and Thunderhead have deservingly caused a lot of hype in the book community in 2018. DON’T be like past me and avoid reading these books because you’re scared of the hype, WELCOME IT INTO YOUR BOOKISH HEART. If you still haven’t found a series that quenches your post- The Hunger Games feelings, Scythe is the one for you.


My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Everything below the following GIF I consider to be spoilers, so bye for now non-spoiler folks, courtesy of Ron Swanson.


My Thoughts:

 Even weighing in at 499 pages, Thunderhead is the type of read I totally would’ve flown through if it weren’t for one of the busiest weeks of my semester (pre-spring break crunch time is REAL). I recommend reading Thunderhead in the shortest amount of time possible for you just because it will be a bit easier for you to connect the dots (unless you’re a fantastic note taker while reading, unlike me). For example, it took me some going back to the very beginning of the book to realize the significance of Scythe Brahms gleaning Rowan’s dad, or you know, the fact that RAND IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ALIVE. I didn’t catch this until Murina mentions the “late” Rand before meeting Faraday in the Library of Alexandria. Thinking back on these instances, if there is one word to describe Thunderhead, its revenge. You have Rowan gleaning scythes, Rand and Goddard (!?!) taking their role in the new order back, and overall, scythes getting back at scythes.

One of my favorite aspects of Thunderhead was of course reuniting with our cast of characters from Scythe. Scythe Curie/Marie remains to be my favorite character and while I’m so sad that we won’t see her journeying on to book 3 (unless Neal Shsuterman throws another crazy plot twist at us), I think her story ended in the best way possible in context. I do like Rowan as a character and his storyline with Goddard and Rand, but I have always preferred Citra/Anastasia. I would love to go back into the story and mark where we see Citra differentiate between calling herself Citra or Anastasia (I’d say she really delves back into Citra at the end of the book). BUT CAN WE PLEASE TALK ABOUT THE CHARACTER THAT FREAKED ME OUT THE MOST: GODDARD! I cannot get over how he took Tyger’s body and did the things and ahhhhhh, he’s back.

Thunderhead expectingly expands the world of Scythe with many new terms, places, and characters. The only new element I wasn’t too crazy about was how the majority of the journal entries were from the perspective of the Thunderhead. While this betters our understanding of the Thunderhead, I often found myself wanting entries from the scythes. Character-wise, I liked Murina’s role as Faraday’s research assistant and I’m super intrigued to see their role in this book three—which all depends on how much of a time jump we’re going to experience (more on the ending to come). Greyson easily became our third central character in the series, and I loved how his perspective gave us insight on how the Thunderhead works, unsavories, and Charter Regions. I’ve seen a few reviews compare Greyson to Jesus and the Thunderhead to God, which actually makes sense (Christine of polandbananasbooks did a fantastic job of describing her Garden of Eden and Greyson-as-Jesus theory in her review here). I would love to find an interview with Neal Schusterman to see if he actually took this into consideration when writing the series.

I guess this is where my book three theories and Thunderhead ending discussion is going to begin because I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT! I really wonder how Greyson is going to come into play in book three. Has the Thunderhead given him instructions about Citra and Rowan? Will he find them?? I would love to see Faraday and Murina save them, especially with their knowledge of maps and the Thunderhead’s blindspots, but their ending was also quite ominous. I’m also interested to see how many revivals book three will bring. I think it’s safe to say that we will get Rowan and Citra back and unfortunately/rightfully not Marie, but maybe Xenocrates??? And how long is our time jump going to be? Will there even be one? If Citra and Rown start the book, I think there will be some sort of time jump, but maybe we’ll start with Greyson’s conversation with the Thunderhead. Or will we go between the past and present??ONLY BOOK 3 CAN TELL.

Have you read Scythe or Thunderhead? Do you have any theories about book 3? Share in the comments!


THE HYPE IS REAL: Scythe by Neal Shusterman Review

Summary: Teenagers Citra and Rowan live in a world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery, no natural death. Scythes are the only individuals who can end life and must do so to control the size of the population. When Citra and Rowan are chosen as apprentices to the same scythe, neither wants the role. However, Citra and Rowan learn that if they fail to learn the “art” of taking life, there will be some costly consequences.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Prior to reading Scythe, I had seen the book and its recently published sequel, Thunderhead, EVERYWHERE in the book community—bookstagram, book blogs, Booktube; you name the platform, I saw it. The morning I headed back to college for the spring semester, I wanted to bring at least one library book back with me, knowing that I would have time to read over the beauty that is syllabus week (this is the first true syllabus week I’ve had in college (aka I wasn’t crying over homework on the first day of classes)).

And I admit, the hype for Scythe had me interested—it’s been a long time since I’ve picked up a sci-fi/dystopian read. So Scythe went along with me to school and three days later, I had eaten it up. If you haven’t see the title of this post, here’s the verdict: THE HYPE FOR SCYTHE DOES NOT LIE BECAUSE THIS BOOK IS FREAKING FANTASTIC AND IT’S THE BEST NON-CONTEMPORARY BOOK I’VE READ IN A WHILE.


Unlike most of my reviews, I will be going into spoilers, but before I do so, let’s talk non-spoilers. I’ve seen in a few reviews for Scythe that some people found the beginning a bit slow (the book clocks around 430 pages), but not for me, because the world-building is PHENOMENAL AND A BIT CREEPY IN THE SENSE THAT THIS WORLD IS NOT TOO FAR OFF FROM OUR OWN. Basically, Scythe takes place in a world that has made a ton of technological advantages, where most of society is run by the Thunderhead (picture the cloud but with a built in-Siri that can actually have a conversation with you and controls the world’s legislation, you know) and people are able to live for centuries and change their appearance to look younger. You could even jump off a building and wake up a day or two later, perfectly alive and eating the best bowl of ice cream you’ve ever had.

Scythe is told in first person, with chapters alternating their focus on Citra and Rowan. I additionally disagree with the opinion that Scythe had a slow start because we get Citra and Rowan’s first interactions with Scythe Faraday in their first chapters and they soon become his apprentices. Even though Citra and Rowan are teenagers, they are both very mature (which makes sense given that they are being trained for a livelihood that requires them to glean people). I loved Scythe Faraday because of his dry sense of humor and his compassion, and I think he really became a grandfather-like figure to Citra and Rowan

This is going to sound like THE MOST TYPICAL/MAINSTREAM/EXPECTED RECOMMENDATION ANSWER BUT I LOVE THIS TRILOGY AND MY OPINION HAS MERIT : if you liked The Hunger Games trilogy, I highly recommend picking up Scythe. Besides both being YA and sci-fi/dystopian novels, Scythe and THG have a lot of similar discussion and imagery regarding death and some physical aspects (the training to be a scythe/ training for The Hunger Games). For example, Citra and Rowan are required to train to become a scythe and must learn how to fight and kill with and without a variety of weapons, along with having to complete a series of tests. Scythe also has a lot of discussion about how gleaning is similar and similar to death and even murder from the “Age of Mortality”, while THG is set in a society where people are also forced to kill one another.


So that wraps up my non-spoilery thoughts and I will be now jumping into spoilers. Please use the following GIF as a barrier if you do want to read spoilers.


(I’ve been slowly adding GIFs to my posts and I think I like it??? I mean who doesn’t like Jerry/Larry/Terry/Gerry?)

I was so beyond sad when the High Blade told Citra and Rowan that Scythe Faraday had gleaned himself. AND LET MY READING NOTES FOR SCYTHE BE EVIDENCE THAT I KNEW FARADAY WASN’T DEAD. But I totally wasn’t expecting Citra to show up at his house (I’m hoping the sequel will go more into how the Thunderhead can help people through internal conversations). The one thing I really enjoyed out Faraday being out of the picture is Citra’s relationship with Scythe Curie, who I think is my favorite character in the book. AND HER PAST HISTORY WITH FARADAY, AHHHHHHH YES MY FAVORITES!

Speaking of romance, I am not a superfan of Citra and Rowan’s “relationship”. Yeah there is some attraction and I appreciate that romance isn’t the main focal point of the novel, but I wasn’t entirely sold on their feelings for each other. It would have been more understanding for them to not want to glean the other because of their friendship, not their “romance”.


“And if ever Scythe Lucifer comes my way, I hope he’ll see me as one of the good ones. The way he once did.”


Overall, if you couldn’t tell from the length alone of this review, I loved Scythe and it’s definitely going to be a favorite of 2018. I am conflicted about when I am going to read Thunderhead. I don’t want to wait too long because I don’t want to forget everything that happened in Scythe, but at the same time, the last book doesn’t come out until 2019 so I need to find a good midterm day. Or just eat up the second book now.

Have you read Scythe? Do you also get nervous about reading really hyped books? Share in the comments!