In the future of the US, humans have cured every disease and are immortal. People even kill themselves recreationally because they know that the revival centers will put them back together. The computerized Thunderhead or the “cloud” controls/knows almost everything, so humans have to worry about basically nothing. Everything would be perfect, except for the fact that there must be population control. People can revert their cells back to the early 20s so they can have as many children as they wish and do whatever they wish. Earth can only hold so many people, so there has to be a new way to weed out the extra people.
Scythes are people who have the job of routinely killing people. Since the order is usually random, people live in fear of being “gleaned” by them. Scythes represent both fear and respect however. Citra is a normal girl who loves her family, and a Scythe randomly comes by her house one day to eat dinner with them. Since the family is so afraid, they immediately let him in to eat, he gives her mother immunity, and leaves without gleaning anyone. A while later, he confronts her again and asks her to be his apprentice.
Rowan is a boy who is generally forgotten. His parents have reset themselves several times and had many children. Scythe Faraday comes to glean a person from his school, and so he stays with the boy so that he is not afraid in his death. Scythe Faraday comes to him later on to give him the chance to be his apprentice.
They both accept, but they learn that Faraday will only pick one of them to be his definite apprentice. The other will just go back to his or her family and will live out the rest of their days. While under apprenticeship they both learn about the Scythe’s secrets. For example, the news tries to not publicize the fact that some Scythes believe in mass gleanings, and so they could take a whole plane and just decide to kill everyone on it. These scythes also tend to not go the way of a quick or painless death, instead using weapons such as flamethrowers, or poisons, or swords, or guns to “glean” the citizens. Most Scythes do not enjoy killing, and they also have to have ways to reconcile themselves after killings someone. When some of the scythes that believe in mass gleaning come after Scythe Faraday and his apprentices, the truth about the world of Scythes comes into light.
This book make me cry. That is a very rare occurrence for me, I usually connect to the characters but rarely do I connect so much that I actually cry. But when a certain scene happens during the end of the book (clue: it has to do with a fork) I just couldn’t help it.
This new world was so interesting that I completely fell in love with it. It made me think about what life would be like if people only feared death by the hands of specific people, knowing that if they died any other way that they would be revived almost immediately. What would people do if they knew that there was no way to die? I thought that Rowan was just a bit more interesting than Citra, but I did like both character’s storylines. I cannot wait for the next book of this series to be out so I can read it!
Overall Rating: 6/5