Author: Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #1
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: 01 February 2018
Source: Pan Macmillan South Africa
Rating: 4 Stars
In a world where disease, war and crime have been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed ("gleaned") by professional scythes. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes' apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity if what they do.
Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe's apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice's first task will be to glean the loser.
The hype surrounding this book is absolutely massive. I have no words for how intimidated I have been to start this series. But here I am, a little while after the series has been concluded, starting the first book. I don't actually know what to expect mainly because I was not a fan of Dry by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman. I found myself not connecting with the characters which is a big thing for me.
If I don't connect with the characters, the chances of me liking the book and giving it a good rating is not going to be high. I also have no doubt that this book will have a fantastic plot based on all of the reviews that it has received over time.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan South Africa for providing me with a copy of this book. Just a quick reminder, I have received this book for free. Please note that this does not affect my opinion in any way. All thoughts are my own.
The writing, for the most part, was well paced and followed really well. There were moments where I fell out of the writing but it was quick to get back into it. The dialogue, which I found stiff and awkward in Dry, flowed a lot better in this one. The book wasn't dialogue heavy but instead was full of internal monologues. In some cases, this did make the book heavy to read but overall, this did not hinder the reading experience.
The start of this book is really slow and it was definitely not my favourite part of the book. It is definitely something that felt as though it had to be trudged through. However, the book after those 100 pages, noticeably changes. The rest of the book after the initial 100 pages was so good. It was well paced and there was more insight into the thoughts of our two main characters. I did feel as though there was more of a focus on Citra's perspective but it worked in my favour as I preferred her parts of the story more than Rowan. I did think that the plot was predictable but not entirely. What I mean by this is that I would predict something happening and whilst I would be right, the predicted details were not a hundred percent correct.
In all honesty, I did prefer Citra's perspective more than Rowan's. I liked the way her story line unfolded a lot more. I do think that having this book be from two vastly perspectives and people helped to move the story forward. I'll definitely give Rowan credit, whilst I wasn't as attached to him as Citra, I think that his perspective gave a lot of insight into the Scythedom. Citra's perspective focus a lot more on traditionalism. I definitely found myself anxious for the ending because unlike in Dry, I found myself really caring for these characters and wondering what would happen to them.
Overall, do I think this book is as amazing as everyone was saying when it was released? No not really. But I do think that this is a fantastic start to a brand new series that holds a lot of promise. The premise is definitely one that will keep you intrigued and the conversation regarding humanity and what it means to be human gives the reader a lot of food for thought. When I do compare it to the other Shusterman book I read, I really prefer Neal Shusterman as a solo author. The writing just flows a lot better and the dialogue occurs naturally. The plot, whilst being slow in the beginning, is well worth the wait and the characters will definitely leave an impression on you. I am so excited to see where this story goes. Thank you once again to Pan Macmillan South Africa for providing me with a copy of this book!