Sci Fi

Arc of Scythe #2,#3 by Neal Shusterman

I listened to and reviewed Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) on this blog earlier.

I listened to the first book a long time ago. The popular series was somewhere on the blogosphere at all times, and I kept watch for access to it at all times. I do not usually buy books in this genre because I do not tend to reread them. It was a long wait, but my local library finally got the copies of the second and third, which I read in quick succession.
The main thing that has to be said about them is that the multicast system helps keep a reader’s interest. There is so much happening separately that if one narrative arc does not catch one’s fancy, another is sure to.

The Thunderhead: The second book was the best of the lot for me. The timing of the plotline and where we are as a world was highly satisfying. There is so much that happens in it that serves as a foundation for the next that I might even say that this can be a starting point for anyone who does not want to or cannot pick up the first!
We had two lead protagonists introduced in the first book if you discount the Thunderhead of their respective mentors. Both of them had to make hard choices in this world without death, and they are set upon following them. Unfortunately, they are but two younglings in a world not designed to handle them. The Thunderhead watches but cannot interfere. This last bit was annoying, although I got the logic of the construction. They have chances for their paths to cross. Sometimes they give in to the temptation; at others, they manage to stick to their own thoughts. We have one new innocuous person brought in, and his story took a very surprising turn! I read it in as few sittings as I could manage.

The Toll: The last book of the series was quite a hefty volume. I think it could have even been split into two entirely satisfactorily sized works. There was chaos at the end of the previous work (not much of a spoiler). A seismic shift in the workings of the Scythdom also meant that the Thunderhead had to make one move of its own. It is in this new world that all the previously minor players take a step forward and trace their own new paths. It is not an exaggeration as we see the plot unfold. There is something natural about the way things end, it was almost expected, but it did not feel boring to reach that point. The ethics of the people and the situations they find themselves in serve as a perfect talking point. I can imagine many a discussion triggered by any one person’s action and what it might mean in the bigger picture (this latter bit is explained by the end but would still be fun to debate).
I highly recommend this to readers who like the sound of the twist this dystopia provides.
I would not recommend stopping after the first; once you hit the second book, finishing the series is the only way that the experience would feel complete. Although, as I mentioned earlier, I did not see the importance of the first except for setting the stage. The second provides enough information to make an educated guess as to the previous events.

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