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review 2018-06-11 11:39
3/5. "Scythe" by Neal Shusterman
Scythe - Neal Shusterman

It’s so far in the future that humanity has stopped counting the years. Immortality has been perfected by a benevolent, omnipotent AI called “The Thunderhead”, who runs the planet with a quiet purpose. All of the wisdom and experiences of humanity are stored online. Any question and any moral problem can be solved instantly. All injuries – even jumping or falling from a great height – can be repaired in a few days.

The main problem with all this immortality is a simple one: Population control. The space program has literally crashed and burned and earth is all the room we have. Rather than enacting a policy of restricting childbirth, humanity comes to a different conclusion: Random, society-supported murders. But because murder is such a loaded word, these people are gleaned, picked from society and discarded. For the good of the many, the few have to die.

Most of those chosen to do this murd…gleaning – The Scythes - see it as a high calling, the ultimate public service. They go about their business as if in a holy order. They live as simply as monks, taking only what they need. They kill with compassion, granting the gleaned and their families’ dignity in death.

Then there are those that enjoy the kill, the ones who are nothing less than psychopathic in their slaughter. These are the ones who consider themselves Nietzschean Ubermensch, supermen above normal men.

And the amount of killing is extraordinary: Scythes are required to kill five people a week on average, year in and year out – for eternity. All of the Scythes find different ways to live with themselves for what is nothing more than an endless parade of murder. Pulled into this world are Rowan and Citra, teenagers who caught the attention of the Scythe Faraday and are taken as his apprentices.

I made a major mistake before I started this book: I went and looked at the sequel. There, in the first sentence of the teaser, is the basic plot for this one. (Note to future self: DO NOT DO THIS.) Also, some things early on bounced me out of the story, and I found it hard to settle back in to it for a few hundred pages.

An example: Rowan is holding the hand of a character about to be gleaned. The gleaning character is fibrillated with a massive electric shock, killing them instantly. Rowan is thrown across the room. It’s a minor point, but electrocuted muscles grip, they don’t unlock. He should be as dead as the gleaned. And we’re told again and again that the repairing nanites in everyone’s bloodstream get to work immediately on any injury. Wouldn’t they restart the gleaned characters heart?

It bugged me, and bounced me out of the story for a long time. I kept looking for other errors in the world Shusterman creates. I found it hard to believe, for instance, that humanity has lost all of its curiosity and any sense of adventure, enough that they can’t be bothered with a space program after it failed. Really? An all-knowing AI that can’t work out a space program? A group of guys (and women) did it with pen and paper in the 1960s. And I believe curiosity is hard wired into us as much as the ability to judge distances.

Secondary to that was the fact that the Rowan and Citra were so damn boring and two dimensional. At an early instance, we’re told about Citra’s quick temper, not shown it. The two of them had no chemistry, and didn’t even fight with each other particularly well. They are supposed to have bonded and fallen in love, but there wasn’t a spark between them, of love or hate. They are only surfaces everyone else reflects from. There was little inner life or conflict going on.

So for the first two hundred pages or so, I was reading with no sense of narrative tension. I knew how it was going to come out, after all. No surprises…until there was a sudden screaming right turn and the story shot off into an entirely new direction.

Suddenly it started to get more interesting. Rowan and Citra are split up: Rowan is sent to the brutal psychopath Goddard and Citra studies under another legendary scythe named Curie. Their training takes very different paths and they split until the climax of the story.

And the reason is got more interesting is because in some ways, Rowan and Citra aren’t the central characters in the story anymore. I was much more interested in Scythe Curie, Apprentice Volta and Scythe Goddard. In fact, every character in the story is better developed than Rowan and Citra. Even the people being gleaned were more interesting.

Despite the minor early niggles and poor main characters, Shusterman creates for the most part an entirely logical world that you know would work. It’s a very different world and morality from ours, this post-AI place, but you know it would work.

I don't usually comment on book covers, but the first edition paperback one is great. I love the 1930s red and cream feel of it, like a World War Two propaganda poster.

Humanity is supposed to have put aside its squabbles over politics, but it’s very much alive in the meetings of the Scythes. State sponsored psychopaths are free to murder or save who they choose (and take their mansions) with impunity, as they once did in Nazi Germany.

Most disturbing is watching Rowan’s humanity being destroyed by his brainwashing under Goddard, until little of him remains. How thin that thread of compassion is and how easily we can allow it to snap.

Humanity has moved on, but it still seems it has a dark heart, and a long way to go.

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review 2018-05-06 20:56
Scythe - Neal Shusterman

Definitely my favorite book I've read in 2017... Can't wait for Thunderhead!!!


UPDATE:

Still my favorite book. I loved this as much as I did reading in the fist time. If you haven't read this yet, read it. It is such an amazing book, with amazing writing! :D

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review 2018-04-30 07:30
Der Zorn der Gerechten
Scythe - Der Zorn der Gerechten - Kristian Lutze,Neal Shusterman,Pauline Kurbasik

Citra ist jetzt eine Scythe. Sie ist ein moderner Sensenmann, der entscheidet, wann das ewige Leben zu Ende geht. Obwohl diese Berufung an sich schon schwierig zu bewältigen ist, treten immer mehr skrupellose Scythe aus den Reihen hervor, um die Regeln der alten Ordnung auf den Kopf zu stellen. Ein tödlicher Machtkampf beginnt.

"Scythe. Der Zorn der Gerechten" ist der 2. Band von Neal Shustermans Scythe-Trilogie. Basis dieser dystopischen Reihe ist die Vervollkommnung menschlichen Lebens. Die Menschheit verfügt über umfassendes Wissen, massivem Wohlstand und Unsterblichkeit - wenn die Gefahr der Überbevölkerung nicht wäre. Hier treten die Scythe ihre Berufung an, indem sie entscheiden, wann jemand zu gehen hat.

In diesem Band nimmt das Scythethum politische Züge an. Es geht um Macht, um Korrumpierbarkeit und umtriebige Machenschaften. Die Scythe der neuen Ordnung stellen sich gegen die Scythe der alten Garde und kämpfen darum, wer die Regeln bestimmt. Damit ist Shusterman erneut sehr aktuell, weil er genauso Terrorismus, Bürokratie und Intrigen reinspielen lässt, und seine Leser erneut in Staunen versetzt! 

Natürlich trifft man in dieser Fortsetzung alte Bekannte aus dem ersten Teil wieder. Dennoch darf man sich nicht erwarten, dass nach Schema F gehandelt wird. 

Citra tritt ihre Stellung als Scythe Anastasia an. Anfangs war es für sie noch ungewohnt sich ihrem neuen Leben zu fügen. Immerhin ist sie binnen eines Jahres vom normalen Mädchen zum Scythe-Lehrling und mittlerweile zum Junior-Scythe geworden. Nach und nach lebt sie sich ein, identifiziert sich mit dem Scythetum, vertraut auf die Prinzipien der alten Garde und weiß daher, wofür sie zu kämpfen hat.

Auch Rowan erscheint auf der Bühne. Im ersten Band hat er gemeinsam mit Citra seine Lehre angetreten, jedoch wurde ihm die Ehre ein Scythe zu sein verwehrt. Rowan stellt sich gegen die neue Ordnung der Scythes und will ihnen zeigen, was Moral zu bedeuten hat.

Zudem führt Shusterman etliche neue Figuren in die Handlung ein, die es noch spannender machen. Es gibt unter anderem Greyson, der vom Thunderhead erwählt wurde, etwas Besonderes zu sein, Scythe Constantin, der die Rolle des Ermittlers innerhalb des Scythetums übernimmt wie auch den weiblichen Widerling Purity, der Greyson den Kopf furchtbar verdreht. 

Viele neue Namen, unterschiedliche Perspektiven und eine Handlung, die von Anfang bis Ende nur packen kann! Shustermans sadistische Ader kommt auf jeder Seite durch, er lässt seine Figuren unglaubliches erleben, nur um ihnen erst recht den Boden unter den Füßen wegzuziehen. 

Außerdem geht der Autor durch die Augen des Thunderheads philosophische Fragen an, die nicht nur die Spannung anheizen sondern laufend einen Denkanstoß bieten. Der Thunderhead ist das System, das die Welt in ihrer Perfektion am Leben hält. Vom Menschen erschaffen, ist er grundsätzlich nur ein Computerprogramm, das aber selbst zu denken begann und für seine Schützlinge nur das Beste will. 

Gerade die Thunderhead-Passagen gefallen mir besonders gut, weil sie Fragen aufwerfen und zusätzliche Blickwinkel ermöglichen. Shusterman spielt hier mit Moral, religiösen Vorstellungen und regt zum Nachdenken an: Brauchen wir den Tod, um Freude am Leben zu haben? Können wir nur gut sein, wenn das Böse zutage tritt? Oder kann es sein, dass sich die Menschheit durch die eigene Technologie selbst erschaffen hat? 

Hoch intelligent, erzählerisch kreativ und mit einem unerschöpflichen Ideenreichtum, lässt der Autor weder Leser noch Figuren zur Ruhe kommen und spannt den Bogen mit jeder Seite etwas mehr. 

Fesselnd und zum Bersten spannend endet dieser zweite Teil in einem grandiosen Finale, dessen Fortsetzung ich kaum erwarten kann! 

 
Die Trilogie:
1) Scythe. Die Hüter des Todes
2) Scythe. Der Zorn der Gerechten
3) unbekannt
Source: zeit-fuer-neue-genres.blogspot.co.at
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review 2018-04-11 19:54
Review: Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman
Thunderhead - Neal Shusterman

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 really enjoyed the first book except it was a bit slow paced for my taste. However I did not have that problem with this book. No, not at all this book was fast paced, nonstop, epic journey with more plot twists I thought possible.

This books starts off almost a year where we left of, which I liked since it gave the characters plenty of time to grow into their “new” roles.

In the beginning of the book it is almost as if Rowan and Citra switched roles, their stands and morale of Scythedom. I wasn’t sure about Rowan at first but the more we earned about him and his motives and so on I really came back around loving him.

Citra, man I loved her so much in this book. I loved how she changed things but never really saw the impact she is having and how she slowly  uses that to her advantage.

We also meet Tyger again and to be honest I really never care about him and really didn’t see his purpose beyond filling some pages but man o man was I wrong and I did not see that coming. Nope not in a million years.

We meet some new people along the way and one of them is Greyson and I really enjoyed him, his vie, his history and his overall purpose.

We also learn a lot more about the Scythedom and the Thunderhead, which was also very interesting. But of course we are left with more questions yet.

I’m really curios to know what the deal with Texas is, why are there certain spots like Texas where the rules differ.

Overall this book was insane and just kept shucking me over and over again with twists and turns.

The end though was crazy and I did not see that coming, some of it I thought about other I had no idea. I can’t wait to see how things play out in the next book.

I rate this book a full 5★

 

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2018-04-07 06:00
Reading progress: 50%.
Scythe - Neal Shusterman

Still really into this one.  

 

I certainly did not see that twist coming -- how Scythe Faraday got around the Conclave's plan for his two apprentices.

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