“Unwind” Author Neal Schusterman Succeeds with New Novel “Scythe”

By Mary Masterson.

Can you imagine a world without disease? In Neal Shusterman’s book “Scythe,” he creates a futuristic world where humanity has conquered death, and humans are immortal. There is no government, except the Thunderhead (an evolution of the Cloud), and all wars have ceased. However, humans will continue to procreate, and without death, overpopulation will occur. Thus, the Scythedom was formed. Scythes are humans, but they have the task of ‘gleaning’ the population. They have to pick who dies.

The story starts off with Scythe Faraday encountering the two main characters of the story, Citra and Rowan. He decides after seeing how they react to someone getting gleaned to take them both on as apprentices. Faraday teaches them the art of killcraft, but he also teaches them the importance of the power they wield, and why they shouldn’t abuse it. Conflicts begin to arise when a group of scythes within the Scythedom begin committing mass gleanings for sport. This is very controversial in their world, causing many disputes and issues throughout the book.

I was very interested in the concept of this book and the message it sends about humanity. In this world, unless you are gleaned, you can be revived from any other accidental death, but in the Mortal Age, our world, you have basically one shot at life. While being immortal may be fun and beneficial for a while, it eventually gets boring. There is nothing to achieve. There are no conflicts, no social movements for people to believe in, they just live, nothing happens. These immortal people are detached from the world. They have emotions, yes, but they are not as passionate and lively as their ancestors. They do not know the meaning of sacrifice or war. They do not know the meaning of a true death, one that happens because everything must die. I would not want to live in this society. Being immortal takes away the reason of being human. All of the empathy and emotion bottled into one person. A person who could do something great, but being immortal takes the importance away of being human.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes futuristic or sci-fi worlds, or if you were a fan of “Unwind,” one of the author’s other books. I thought it to be a very thought- provoking book, with many plot twists throughout the whole story. Some parts in the middle were a little slow, but overall, I really liked this book.