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Scythe  By  cover art

Scythe

By: Neal Shusterman
Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
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Publisher's summary

Two teens must learn the "art of killing" in this Printz Honor-winning book, the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times best-selling Unwind Dystology series.

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.

©2016 Neal Shusterman (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

Featured Article: The Best YA Audiobooks for Listeners of All Ages


Young adult audiobooks offer some of the most affecting, original stories that, despite the genre’s name, make an excellent choice for all listeners. Unforgettably poignant coming-of-age stories, hopeful tales of youth resistance, and brave teens reckoning with questions that stump even the wisest adults are at the heart of this exceptional genre. Our list features diverse characters and ensembles that will make it impossible to press pause.

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What listeners say about Scythe

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Teenage Thumbs up

What made the experience of listening to Scythe the most enjoyable?

Every road trip, I seek out an audiobook that can please all 3 of my kids (now 12 [girl], 13 & 15 [boys]). Let's just say I've been striking out the last few years. This time was different. After each chapter, all three were asking for more. And on a typical road trip that is balanced between listening to a book, playing car games, resting, and watching movies, this time was all Scythe! My 15-year-old son, who no longer wished to read for enjoyment, said that 1. he wants to "read" it again, and 2. he wants this to be turned into a film. Listening to this book was truly the highlight of our road trip!

What did you like best about this story?

It felt like a combination between The Giver and The Hunger Games.

What about Greg Tremblay’s performance did you like?

His voices were seamless and spot on!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Scythe- kill with conscience.

Any additional comments?

We are hoping the next installment in the trilogy comes out before our next road trip!

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155 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Typical dystopian

This was just another dystopian YA book. It wasn't bad but wasn't really good or a standout either. I kept waiting for something really amazing because of all of the great reviews. I found the end to be predictable and just a set up for the next in the series--I really hate that. There are so many series these days that it seems that no one can just write a good stand alone book. If you're looking for a time-filler you'll probably be fine with this book, but if you're looking for a 5-star listen you'll most likely be a bit let down.

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95 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

You Can't Please All of The People All of The Time

I was hoping for well-developed and well-formed characters whom I could really care about. I saw Scythe compared to the Hunger Games which I absolutely loved. I was hoping it would grab me in a similar way. After all, both books had a significant amount of killing in their plot lines. Murder had seemed an integral part of the HG story, though not the end all and be all.

Scythe, on the other hand, did not immerse me in the story or make me care much about the characters. Who were Citra and Rowan? Why should I care about them? Why would teenagers become apprentice Scythes (killers) and have to learn SO many ways to kill, so many tools to use? In reality, teens decision making skills are not fully developed until early adulthood. How could they have enough life experience to choose who lives and who dies? (And yet, for some reason, I was willing to accept that Ender, not even a teen, could battle and save the world! Of course, it was because I knew about his family, his struggles, his persona so much more than Citra and Rowan.)

Shusterman created a world I just could not buy into. Sure, I could somehow accept the gleaning (culling of excess humans due to overpopulation), but only in a well-thought out and reasoned manner. The glorification and total focus on killing and the gleeful and exuberant enjoyment of it just does not sit right with me, especially in a book marketed for young adults

The narration was fine. The book did keep my attention despite my unease with the topic and I finished it. However, the ending did not redeem it for me nor does it stand out in my mind.

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75 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best book I have read this year.

Of the 83 books that I have listened to/read this year, this is by far the best one. The world building is incredible and the characters are very easy to identify with. It delves into some philosophical questions that are as applicable to the current state of the world as they are to the “utopia” of the book. The idea of a “Thunderhead” evolving from the “cloud” is brilliant. Just so many good things about this book and I never wanted it to end. Can’t wait until the next book in the series is released.

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70 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Seemingly clever premise that doesn't hold up

I listened to a decent bit of this book before I stopped gritting my teeth and accepted that the premise (humans are now immortal and still want to have lots of kids, so they have to self cull, allowing robed killers to wander around and decide everyone's fate) was not clever as it originally seems, but incredibly stupid. Putting this book down gave me mixed feelings, but mostly I felt relief.
In short, there is no plausible set of circumstances that would lead to this societal arrangement. It doesn't make any sense. People don't work this way. Not the self culling idea, the idea that we would let a group of mostly unregulated people walk around slaughtering people in creative and unnecessarily brutal and messy ways. Why kill someone with a neighbor's kitchen knife, shouldn't everyone just get an injection when they don't expect it? Why sit and tell a person you are about to kill them with a sword and they can't fight back or say their goodbyes, but you can have a side conversation with another character while this poor schmuck waits? It makes no sense at all and that kills the narrative, constantly pushing you out of an otherwise decently written and well read book.
If you are fine with this level of violence, just read the Red Rising series and don't pretend to seek philosophy.

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62 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Immortal until you're Gleaned

What did you love best about Scythe?

This book is action packed and humorous at times while dealing with a very dark and morbid theme... Death. It's very thought provoking and yet gripping. It was one of the hardest books to have to stop listening to when I arrived at my destinations. Mr. Shusterman created one of the most dastardly villains I've read in a very long time. This villain is so slyly evil it's almost creeptastically good.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Scythe?

Several moments but I don't want to spoil the book!

Which character – as performed by Greg Tremblay – was your favorite?

I loved listening to 2 characters performed by Mr. Tremblay, the Scythes in Training, Citra and Rowan.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

What happens when humans are in control of Death?

Any additional comments?

This was SO worth the credit I paid but now I'm sitting on the edge of my seat for more. I want to hear more of this world and the hear more about the Scythedom and the Thunderhead. Mr. Shusterman does such an amazing job of world building and I need to hear more ASAP. I also hope the movie they produce of this film (if it actually makes it to production) will match the movie I had running in my head at the time of listening.

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46 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Abstract Symbolism

This was one of the most abstract books I've ever read. The symbolism with in will truly make you think about the world we live in today and question yourself as a person and as a part of society. Would suggest to the young and old .

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26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Someone should have gleaned this book.


This is a YA novel, obviously intended for the Hunger Games crowd. THG was far better. It also has problems with its premise, but didn't feel like so much disbelief had to be suspended as with this one. The basic premise is intriguing, but fraught with difficulty to pull off. Shusterman didn't.

Execution was poor and full of holes. There are too many obvious ways to control population without resorting to "gleaning" even in this world. Splatters? Leave them dead after the second offense. Birth control? There're no obvious moral or religious objection in this society, but it isn't even suggested. Abortion? Nope. People are allowed to live for centuries and reset to youth over and over and have as many children as they want? Silly AI....

Is it necessary for the apprentices to train to be ninjas? Is ninja training simply de rigueur for these books? No one is allowed to fight back or their families are gleaned. There's no reason to have more than one method of killing. There's no need to train extensively in martial arts or with obscure weapons. Having armories with every conceivable type of weapon seems simply to alleviate the Scythes boredom with killing too many people the same way.

Some plausible reason for the necessity of having a social caste organized around culling the herd should have been given. It is also a stretch that they would be accepted as anything but outcasts, much less as celebrities. Scythe trading cards? Red carpet treatment? Yikes!

Also, the rogue Scythe group performing obvious acts of terrorism are allowed to continue unchallenged except by a 17 yo boy. I can't see any organization based on a moral code such as the Scythes' allowing mass executions by flame thrower, katana, machinegun, etc. with only a few members condemning their actions and motives. The rest are OK with it?

There's a lot more. Don't get me started on why two upright morally fit young people who are so opposed to becoming Scythe apprentices become believers so readily.

Narration was competent, but the material too ludicrous to sound anything but hokey. Not your fault, but .....sorry. 3 stars is being generous. I got this on the Daily Deal, so I'm not mad I wasted a credit. And I did listen to the whole thing, partly because I'm profoundly cheap and need to wring every penny's worth out, but also because it was something of a train wreck and I was compelled to look.

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15 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Bad

I love books by Neal Shusterman so when I saw this I barely looked at the summary before buying it. I wish I had waited. The book is just bad. It flounders back and forth and the characters aren't very sympathetic. The students supposedly loved their mentor but I just wasn't feeling it. There was also supposed to be an underlying romance between the characters which I found hard to believe. I think essentially the book tried to cover too much in too short of a time and did a bad job of it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lived up to the reviews.

Great book.
The world did have some flaws and logic holes, but the story was good and the characters were interesting.
.
Right at the start the book says that space travel is not an option and that everything about everything is already known.
Neither of these statements is ever justified or explored. Maybe the writer will address these problems in future books.

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12 people found this helpful