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The Student News Site of Legacy High School

Lightning Letter

The Student News Site of Legacy High School

Lightning Letter

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Is the Rest of the Scythe Trilogy Worth Reading?

In many sophomore english classes, students are finishing up the book Scythe by Neal Shusterman, but is the rest of the series worth your time?
Is the Rest of the Scythe Trilogy Worth Reading?
Simon & Schuster Publishing

Currently, hundreds of sophomores are finishing a book called Scythe by Neal Shusterman in their English classes, and they are being left intrigued by the surprising ending. This has left me and others to explore the rest of the trilogy known as The Arc of the Scythe, but are the rest of the books worth reading?

To start, the primary book, Scythe is an amazing book. It has interesting plot twists and turns, develops interesting characters, and puts forth well-developed themes of morality, compassion, corruption, and choices. The book is set in a world where a large artificial intelligence entity known as the Thunderhead has used its intelligence to find a cure for mortality, allowing people to essentially live forever. Within this society, a need for population control arises, and out of that, Scythes are created. Scythes are people who hold the responsibility of killing others in order to keep the population from becoming too large to handle. The book starts out with two teenage characters, Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova, as they become the apprentices to a Scythe whilst harboring a hatred for Scythes and gleaning altogether. While I know that most students read this book for English, I think that it is worth the read regardless and is a good recommendation for people interested in young adult fiction and science fiction.

After finishing Scythe and being left on its cliffhanger, I decided to dive into the rest of the trilogy by reading the second book, Thunderhead. Thunderhead dives into the lives of Citra and Rowan after the events at Winter Conclave and follows them as they become more deeply involved with the world of Scythes. It explores themes of coming-of-age, mortality, morality, and choices as both characters come to terms with the way death is delivered to their world. Overall, this book is wonderful because it has a good plot and character development. It dives deeper into the issues within the Scythedom and how newer tactics are being employed by various Scythes while also introducing new characters such as Greyson Tolliver. While reading this book, I also began to notice a style that comes up in this trilogy and Neal Shusterman’s writing. Similar to Scythe, Thunderhead starts out slow with plot development, but as the reader gets farther into the book, more events start happening, more plots are revealed, and the characters start finding themselves in tougher situations. Also similar to Scythe, Thunderhead ends on yet another cliffhanger, leaving the reader wanting to read the third book and final book, The Toll. Overall, this book was amazing as well and it turned out to be my favorite book of the trilogy because the character and plot development became so much more interesting. I would 1000% recommend that anyone who has read Scythe continue the series and read Thunderhead as well.

The series begins to end as readers start the final book, The Toll. The Toll dives into the world of Scythe from the events of the second book to events that happen nearly three years afterward. Though it added a level of depth to the story, this created a lot of confusion when reading because it made it harder to discern what events had already happened and what events were currently happening. The story dives into the actions of the Tonists and the Thunderhead as they continue to grapple with authority corruption within the Scythedom and try to solve it. In my opinion, this book was massively disappointing for more reasons than one. Firstly, while the other two books had a focus on the stories of Rowan and Citra, The Toll sort of put their stories to the side and instead chose to focus on the Tonist religion and actions. While this may be more interesting to another reader, I didn’t find the Tonists to be particularly interesting or pertinent, so I thought it was weird how many pages were dedicated to their storyline.

(WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!)

Another reason why I disliked the third book so much was because of how cliche it felt. Readers of this trilogy will know that throughout the first two books, the character Rowan often finds himself being kidnapped or detained for various reasons. While this started out serving towards the plot, in the third book it seemed ridiculously repetitive how many times Rowan was kidnapped or held against his will while Citra ran free. In fact, Rowan is only freed through the actions of another entity for ONE DAY before being forced into yet another situation he didn’t want. To me, this felt completely unnecessary because all it did was keep Rowan out of the spotlight while the Tonist storyline took place. Secondly, The Toll took on another cliche near the end as it changed Citra’s storyline in an instant. Throughout the book, Citra has been broadcasting news worldwide to help undermine Scythe Goddard and work towards helping rid the Scythedom of corruption. Therefore, when she was offered a space on the ship, she flat-out refused. However, within the story, Citra somehow completely changes her mind when she sees Rowan. After their encounter, Citra decides to throw all of her hard work, determination, and influence out to spend a life on another planet with Rowan. To me, this made no sense. While the pursuit of love can be a beautiful storyline for some characters, Citra isn’t a Meg March. Therefore, this plot turn seemed weird and forced instead. Finally, I found the ending to be completely disappointing because it follows the science-fiction cliche of space travel and time differences due to space travel. While I didn’t find this to be interesting or prevalent in the story, I understand how it could be appealing to some readers. However, this book was, in my opinion, pretty bad overall, and it holds reign as the worst book of the series.

(SPOILER SECTION ENDED)

Therefore, for burgeoning readers of the Arc of the Scythe trilogy, I would definitely recommend continuing the series and trying your best to read it for the sake of knowing what happens to the characters. However, I would advise that readers start the third book with low expectations because it didn’t prove to be as good as the first two. With that said, this series would be best recommended for teenage readers who enjoy young adult fiction as well as science fiction. If this fits you, try reading the Arc of the Scythe Trilogy!

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About the Contributor
Hello! I am a sophomore student here at Legacy. My main interests are psychology and astrophysics but I like to write about a variety of topics, and I am open to new topics!
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