A corrupt piece of fiction that comments on the human experience. Neil Shusterman has crafted a delicious sequel that devours its readers.
My Rating 5 STARS
Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.
Rowan has gone rogue and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.
Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?
I’m going to go into this review under the assumption that everyone has read Scythe, so if you have not read Scythe already, please do!
The plot of Scythe blew me out of the water, and Thunderhead managed to top that. It’s been almost a year since the events of Scythe, and both Citra and Rowan have accepted their new circumstances, and have begun to grow into their own. Citra is the Honourable Scythe Anastasia and Rowan is now Scythe Lucifer – a feared rumour amongst the Scythes. But, I’m getting sidetracked. The plot.
For me, this book didn’t feel as action-packed as Scythe, but that does not mean it wasn’t a bad plot. No, the plot was more political. It exposed the corruption of MidMerica. And, it exposed the reality of the human experience. I always find plots like this VERY intriguing – similar to The Purge films. By this, I mean how as a species we always manage to return to our primal urges or some of us return to those primal urges, because, evil can never really be cleansed from society.
Anyway, the plot. The Thunderhead plays a more prominent role in this instalment, advancing the plot at a faster rate. The readers are introduced to a new character Greyson. His role in the story gives a new dimension to the overall plot, giving more opportunity for the reader to learn about Thunderhead – previously just a side plot, but now it’s a more dominant feature of the novel.
Okay. The most notable plot point of this whole story is DEFINITELY, without a doubt, the ending. Those last, maybe 100, pages are perfection. All the build-up. All the information that the readers learn throughout the novel. It all leads to this climax and it’s beyond anything that I’ve ever read. There is this deep anticipation and worry. And, I think I’ll leave it there because it’s something that needs to be experienced while reading the book and not a review.
The development that Citra and Rowan both experience throughout Thunderhead is reflective of their growth in Scythe. Their personalities and action are amplified by the events of Scythe.
Citra. She, once again, had an enjoyable perspective to read. Now, Scythe Anastasia, she wishes to be a Scythe like her mentors Curie and Faraday and she has a new way of ‘gleaning’ her targets by giving them a months time to get their affairs in order – by then, they would be able to choose which method of killing they would die from. She humanises the Scythes, in a way that isn’t pleasing to most of them, and now other Scythes look to her as some form of figurehead to bring back the honourable ways of the Scythehood. It’s very poetic.
Rowan, on the other hand, has a more dark storyline. He, now Scythe Lucifer, is using his set of skills to find dishonourable Scythes and gleaning them for their wrongdoings. Rowan storyline puts him in an outlawed position, not being able to interact with anyone, and is on the run from the Scythehood. To be fair, there is not much I can say about Rowan without spoiling his storyline.
Greyson is a new character, who we are introduced to early on in the novel. He, an employee of the Thunderhead, is able to give us, the readers, an insight into the complexities of the Thunderhead. But, he is caught up in the scandal of everything and is consequently used as a scapegoat. This doesn’t diminish from his development. Greyson starts as a shy introvert and becomes a badass introvert. It’s great to watch him grow into his own.
There are other characters that are in this novel who I would LOVE to talk about, but spoilers are a massive hindrance to that. But, I will say that there are some returning faces.
Thunderhead opens the world beyond what we read in Scythe. It broadens the government further, more so the Scythehood. The Grandslayers are introduced as the next level that High Blades can strive towards. The Thunderhead is more heavily involved, as mentioned above, and also, the journal entries that are seen between each chapter are more from the perspective of the Thunderhead. It is intriguing to read about an artificial intelligence from the conscious of the artificial intelligence.
And as the novel progresses the readers are introduced to the island of Euroda, which is a place that Scythes call home or more of a holiday destination. It provides Scythes with a location that is free of anyone who isn’t a Scythe. The way that Neal broadens the boundaries of the world, while still being able to constrain the novel is remarkable. Does that make sense?
Overall, Thunderhead brought the storyline to a place that I am excited to find out what happens next, but I will say that I did enjoy Scythe just a tiny bit more. Don’t let that distract from how amazing Thunderhead is. Definetly pick up these books!
And, lets all not forget the ten Scythe Commandments:
- Thou shalt kill.
- Thou shalt kill with no bias, bigotry, or malice aforethought.
- Thou shalt grant an annum of immunity to the beloved of those who accept your coming, and to anyone else you deem worthy.
- Thou shalt kill the beloved of those who resist.
- Thou shalt serve humanity for the full span of thy days, and thy family shall have immunity as recompense for as long as you live.
- Thou shalt lead an exemplary life in word and deed, and keep a journal of each and every day.
- Thou shalt kill no scythe beyond thyself.
- Thou shalt claim no earthly possessions, save thy robes, ring, and journal.
- Thou shalt have neither spouse nor spawn.
- Thou shalt be beholden to no laws beyond these.