#TheToll: Thou Shalt Kill. Folks, we have a winner!


Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, Book 1)
Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, Book 2)
The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, Book 3)
By: Neal Shusterman
My Rating: FIVE out of FIVE STARS!
Best for: Advanced 14 and up

What a great story! I loved the Arc of a Scythe trilogy.

It’s original, new, relevant, exciting, interesting, thoughtful…

…and uncomfortable.

How’s this for our future:

The “Cloud” grew up, became sentient, and took over the world. We call it “Thunderhead.”

Thunderhead is an impartial, flawless, and benevolent AI. Humans turned stewardship of the world over to Thunderhead and found peace and prosperity.

No government. Everyone is happy. Weather is controlled. Resources are perfectly managed. Disease is abolished. Our biology is optimized to control our pain and our emotions. Age can be reversed. Humans are immortal.

Thunderhead only abstains from controlling two things:

Giving life…

…and taking it.

Humans have giving life under control. But the taking of life when humans are immortal?

That’s what the Scythes are for.

The Scythes have the high responsibility of stepping in for nature. People used to die naturally. Now Scythes are responsible for population control by selecting people to glean–the only permanent death left in the world. Their sacred charter demands their responsibilities be carried out by Scythes of the highest moral character, with deep contrition and genuine impartiality.

But not all Scythes fit the mold.

What would you do if you didn’t fear death? If you never died? If you could grow old, then de-age yourself back again? What decisions would you make? What would become most important to you?

The Arc of a Scythe trilogy is a tremendous series and a joy to read–and not just because it’s an amazing story. I was impressed by how much it made me think. It’s a commentary on society in the vein of 1984 and Brave New World, cleverly disguised as a YA distopian future trilogy.

It’s shockingly well written, and it’s moving in a way I didn’t expect from a book in this genre. I’d love to see Arc of a Scythe assigned by High School lit teachers to give kids a chance to examine themselves, the value of their lives, and how much they rely on technology.

No sex, PG language (1 instance of PG-13 language in book 3), even mild violence considering the topic. But it is heavy and not for the faint of heart.

It is about killing people, after all.

Outstanding series.

Best for advanced 14-year-old readers and up.

Happy reading!

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