I was intrigued by this story from the moment I read the blurb. Once I had the book in my hands, I was slight intimidated due to how large this book was. It was not a fast read, nor was it an easy read. It was a slightly thought provoking read and I would recommend to everyone.
Citra and Rowan are two teenagers living in a time where nobody dies naturally. Sickness, disease, old age are not a threat to someone’s life because they don’t exist. When people reach an older age, they “turn the corner” and make themselves young again. People can truly live forever. Some life so long they have 20 children and several spouses. There is no fear of dying because if you do die, you can revive yourself and continue living your life. That is where the Scythes come in. They are the ones that have the responsibility of gleaning the population. Every scythe has their own method and own reasons for gleaning someone, but it is all done to help control the population. Citra and Rowan are recruited to train to become a scythe. This is clearly not their first occupational choice but they soon discover they are interested in the methods, the scythe history, and the practices behind the decisions being made. Do they really have what it takes to make it through the year of apprenticeship? Will they be able to do what is necessary?
This is, without a doubt, a disturbing and fascinating story. As the story continues, it becomes more compelling and thought provoking. What if we made it to the point our society would find a way to live forever? Would we have a group of people responsible for keeping the population number in check? Would people who live forever reach a point where they get bored and stagnant? Would it get out of control by those who feel the practices in place are outdated? Would they try to take matters into their own hands to bring gleanings to the modern age? I was hooked and could not put this book down. This is not a quick read so do not go into it thinking you’ll plow through it in a couple of hours. There are so many moving parts to the overall story that I had to read at a slower pace so I didn’t miss anything.
This story is not told from alternating POVs, rather it is told from a third person POV. They do not alternate every chapter, but when it fits the story. It worked. My goodness did it work. I loved reading what was going on with each of these apprentices. It was that extra insight into Citra and Rowan that helped move this story along. These characters were so well developed that I really enjoyed reading how they grew as the story went on. They finally figured out how to be comfortable in their own skin. They learned to grow into who they needed to become in order to survive. There is the hint of romance between these two, but it didn’t feel real. It felt too convenient but thankfully it was not the focus of the story. Thankfully the rest of the characters are just as interesting, like Scythe Faraday, Scythe Curie, and Scythe Goddard. There are just some characters that are created to hate. You’ll know who I am talking about when you read this book.
Once I started this story, I really could not put it down. It took me longer than wanted to finish due to lack of time but it was such a great read. So many times I thought I knew where the author was going to go, only to be completely wrong. The twists and turns kept me on my toes. It made me want the next book in the series right now. This book actually read as if it could be a stand alone but I am excited to know it is the start of a series. I hope everyone gives this story a chance. I cannot say it enough, this is a strong, thought provoking story full of thoughtful ethical dilemmas, intriguing and fascinating characters.