Book review – Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Caidyn's review (1)

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)


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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Have you read this? What did you think?
Did you think this needs to be a series?

Book review – Contagion by Erin Bowman

Caidyn's review (1)

Contagion (Contagion, #1)


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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Have you read this?
What sci-fi/horror do you love?