The Arc of a Scythe Trilogy by Neal Shusterman

I know, I know. This book came out in November of 2019. What took me so long?!? It wasn’t self-control (because we all know I don’t have any when it comes to books). I just didn’t know how it would end and I was stressed about the whole thing. If you haven’t read The Arc of a Scythe Series, there are spoilers for the first two books below. They are minor, but they are there. There are no spoilers for The Toll though!



A figure in a hooded red cape holds a scythe looking like a futuristic grim reaper.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price. Scythe from Amazon.


Initially, I didn’t really find any of the main characters appealing. Both Citra and Rowan are teenagers in a world that no longer has natural death. Which is why, back when I first tried to read it, I put it down after three chapters. As the story unfolded I began to comprehend the apathy to which these people must have acclimated to in a world where there is no reason to worry, no purpose in hard work, and the ability to die only to be whisked off to a revival center and brought back to life. If there is no threat of old age then do you lose the thirst and hunger of youth? Certainly, when Citra and Rowan are faced with a permanent cessation of their lives their personalities change dramatically into characters that I grew to love.

And there in lies the magic of this story. At first glance I believed this was another annoying futuristic tale and the cautionary story of a world without death. Instead, I became slowly aware, along with the characters, of the importance of death in giving life value and purpose. As I watched Citra and Rowan struggle with that realization and the lengths they would go to in order to continue to live, even if that meant taking lives, I found myself completed immersed in the story. And now, as so frequently happens, a book I thought I wouldn’t enjoy has become a series I could not wait to continue.



Two figures, one in black and one in turquoise hold scythes with their backs to each other.

Humans learn from their mistakes. I cannot. I make no mistakes.

The Thunderhead is the perfect ruler of a perfect world, but it has no control over the scythedom. A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent.

As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the “new order.” But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.

Old foes and new enemies converge, and as corruption within the Scythedom spreads, Rowan and Citra begin to lose hope. Will the Thunderhead intervene?

Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel? Thunderhead from Amazon.


At the conclusion of Scythe we see the Thunderhead, the all knowing brain of the world, speaking directly to Citra. Until that moment, the reader has no idea how involved the Thunderhead is with a typical citizen’s day to day existence. Ponder this issue no longer! In this second book we meet Greyson Tolliver. A lonely young man, Greyson has been raised by the benevolent voice of the Thunderhead all his life. When Citra’s life is in danger, the Thunderhead sends Greyson to save her and forever changing Greyson’s life. Meanwhile, old foes continue to threaten the delicate balance of the world. The real question is what role Rowan, Citra and Greyson will play the ensuing chaos.

As with ScytheThunderhead is crafted to keep you entertained. The shifting narratives begin completely disconnected and as they dodge and weave their way towards intersection – the action climbs. The final pages of this book will leave your heart pounding and, if you are anything like me, you will immediately try to figure out when the third installment is being published (no date yet!!).

Unlike ScytheThunderhead has almost no quiet and reflective moments. This second installment is action packed. Furthermore, the second book spends much less time reflecting on life and death and more on the balance we seek and the role we take to achieve that life. The author is not afraid to take you on an adventure. Honestly, that ending….whew!

The Toll


Two green cloaked scythes stand on either side of a person wearing a purple robe.

Citra and Rowan have disappeared. Endura is gone. It seems like nothing stands between Scythe Goddard and absolute dominion over the world scythedom. With the silence of the Thunderhead and the reverberations of the Great Resonance still shaking the earth to its core, the question remains: Is there anyone left who can stop him?

The answer lies in the Tone, the Toll, and the Thunder.

The Toll from Amazon.






At over 600 action packed pages this was a marathon read. But, much like a long workout, I felt nothing but satisfaction when I finally finished.

But satisfaction isn’t quite the same as gasping with delight and clapping my hands. The trilogy answered all my questions but The Toll also provided me even more that had to be resolved in book three. There were whole sections that felt a little long and drawn out and there was a significant imbalance between the amount of time we spent with Greyson and Citra compared to the parts of the story dedicated to Rowan. This didn’t bother me at all since Greyson Tolliver is my favorite character in the series but if you are coming to this third book for a huge helping of Rowan you are going to be disappointed.

There were also numerous new characters, some good and other evil, that bogged down the storyline a bit. While it was totally worth it for Jeri, the ship captain who swiftly became my favorite new character of book three, other people felt superfluous. Similarly, there were plot points that only made the story take longer (not last longer).

Still, the magic of the Sythe trilogy was present even with these flaws. Book three will answer all your questions, wrap up all the issues, and bring you the closure you have been seeking since landing on Endura in Thunderhead. All in all, it was an excellent trilogy.

Tell me, please!

Have you read the Arc of a Sycthe Triology?



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