Book review – Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Caidyn's review (1)

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2)

4/5

CW: death of loved ones, murder, and revenge

  1. Scythe – 4/5

I nearly started screaming into the void at the ending. Damn am I glad the third book comes out soon!

I’m going to spoil the first book for you, so don’t read any further if you haven’t read it and plan on it! (Keep reading if you have read it or you haven’t and you don’t care about being spoiled.)

This takes place a bit after Citra becomes Scythe Anastasia. She has a unique gleaning — aka killing — technique that is making her friends and enemies all around, plus just the hubbub around her appointment in the first place. She still works with her mentor, Scythe Curie, and they get along well. Everything’s going well for Scythe Anastasia, though.

Then, there’s Rowan. Rowan has months left of immunity thanks to Scythe Anastasia’s deft move to grant him that so she didn’t have to glean him. However, he’s doing something a bit more unique. He’s pretending to be a scythe to kill scythes who are a part of the new order.

And, lastly, there’s a new character. Greyson Tolliver. He’s more of a mystery about his character and his importance. Even after the ending, I’m still wondering how he was so important and why he was introduced.

Still, I loved the plot. It was so enthralling to read and gave me something to do on commutes back to the hotel and to random places in Portland. Also, it furthered characterization so well of the people I had become attached to in the first book.

What really stood out was the expansion of the world. In this book, you really get to know the Thunderhead — the AI system that controls their world but was made by humans — better. I loved reading the little sections between chapters and the Thunderhead’s commentary on different things.

You also get to see the innerworkings of scythedom better, along with a newer category of people called “unsavory”. Basically, they’re people who have done things so bad that they’re locked out of the regular world. Like scythes, they can’t contact the Thunderhead but because they are being forced out of the usual world.

At times, I wished that the story was more plot focused. Most of the time I was wondering to myself: Why is this important? Why is this character needed? What’s this working towards? But, I really enjoyed it when I realized what was happening. I still wish that the story had been more narrowed at times.

But, that ending slayed me. I’m deadish waiting to be revived by the final book!


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Book review – Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Caidyn's review (1)

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

4/5

CW: death of loved ones, mass killings, and grief


I’ve finally jumped on the bandwagon for this book after waiting many years to start reading it. That’s mainly because I wanted the whole series out, but also because I’m really good at procrastinating at popular books.

As I said, I really enjoyed it. I loved the world that it was about. Some futuristic world where all diseases have been cured and you can reset your clock so you’re younger when you hit a certain point. So, basically, you don’t have to die. Everyone can live forever. And that’s where the scythes come in. They kill people — or glean the population — to make sure that the world doesn’t become overpopulated. If your family member is killed, you’re granted immunity from gleaning for a year.

The story follows Citra and Rowan. Both are teenagers who, in their own way, become scythes in training. Neither of them exactly want to be scythes, but they’re taken on as apprentices to the same person. Until something happens and they’re taken in by two very, very different people.

Now, I enjoyed the characters. They were so interesting and I loved watching their development over the course of the book. Both went on such different paths and developed so differently. I also appreciated that there was no romance in this! Or, not really any romance. That was so refreshing because I would have died if there was romance in this damn thing.

That being said, I had some issues. I did space out while reading a bit because it slowed down so much. Spaced out to the point that I missed a major plot point that changed the trajectory of the whole book. I went with the change and filled in the blanks as I went. It wasn’t detrimental to my reading experience that I missed it, but still kinda annoying that something important was hidden in the drudge.

I also never got super attached to the characters. I liked them, but I wasn’t going to die if anything horrible happened to them. I can’t wait until the next book to see what happens/how I’ll get attached.

Lastly, the ending. I enjoyed it and I like the intrigue that the book brought up — what is the Thunderhead? what will happen with the scythes and the changes that are going on there? — but, honestly, this could have been a stand-alone book. It was a very good book and I wasn’t annoyed by it being a series like with Spin the Dawn, but I’m not sure if it needed a three book series.

Still, we’ll see what I think of the sequel soon enough!


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Book review – Contagion by Erin Bowman

Caidyn's review (1)

Contagion (Contagion, #1)

4/5

CW: parental death, neglect, abandonment, and graphic descriptions of disease


I’ve been waffling over how to rate this one. It’s somewhere between 3.5 and 4, so I decided to bump it up that little bit.

This book is about a crew of people sent on a distress mission to save another ship that has encountered a problem. Thea is the main character, really. She’s Korean-Turkish and was largely abandoned. She managed to swing an internship with Dr. Tarlow, a famous scientist who was the lone survivor of a mysterious thing. (Yes, thing.)

Then, there’s a whole slew of other characters. Honestly, at times, it was hard for me to differentiate them. That was a major con for me. I like being able to pick apart my characters. None of them exactly felt well-developed. They all had backstories, but I wasn’t wowed by them. I honestly can’t remember all of their names because some were more important than others while others surfaced when needed.

But, the thing is, this book was pretty well-crafted. While the characters didn’t wow me, the plot did. I’ve been listening to This Podcast Will Kill You at work, so it hit that need for a viral infection with a disease that no one knows about or understands. It blended horror and sci-fi pretty well and I kept having to remind myself that, technically, this is a YA book.

I also appreciated that this had no romance in it. Coming from someone who thinks that most romance plots in stories ruin the story, I was so happy that there was no romance developed. There was a slight side thing between two characters — and it was sapphic! just not a huge part of the story whatsoever and it felt like it could have been edited away without changing anything — but that was about it. The story was focused around the contagion and the people trying to figure out what the fuck to do.

The whole time, I kept calling The Illuminae Files back to mind. And, I have to say, this was a lot better. It felt unique while that series kept recycling the same plots and characters. It honestly had me tense and hooked while with that series I could skip ~100 pages without missing anything.

In short, I really enjoyed this despite having things I wasn’t a fan of. I’d say that if you enjoyed The Illuminae Files, pick this up and give it a try! You might really love it!


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