The Friday 56: Scythe

Today I’m linking up with Freda’s Voice and Rose City Reader to bring you The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings. This week’s read is Scythe by Neal Shusterman.


We must, by law, keep a record of the innocents we kill.

The Friday 56 – from 56% of the way into my ebook

As much as Rowan tried to deny it, there was logic to Goddard’s approach. After all, what creature in nature despised its own existence and felt shame for its means of survival?

We became unnatural the moment we conquered death, Scythe Faraday would say–but couldn’t that be a reason to seek whatever nature we could find within ourselves?

A Little Bit of Explication (I am an English teacher, after all)

On that beginning – WHAT? If I didn’t know the premise of the story, that line would definitely throw me. I mean, why are people killing innocents? Also, since I’m about 10% into the book already, I know this is part of an aside, ancillary to the primary narrative. This is a mechanic Shusterman has used before – at the beginning of Unwind, he sets the Bill of Life up in the same format. Through drawing that connection to another of his works, the asides from other scythes’ journals are not as jarring.

So what I can gather from the opening sentence is that the Scythes, our future world’s grim reapers, are bound to laws and regulations like any other job. I know their purpose is to keep humanity from reaching population density, but this job still seems particularly callous and cold.

At this point, I’m not sure who Goddard is or how his perspective differs from someone else’s (I’m guessing Scythe Faraday), but the question that Rowan poses is interesting and makes me wonder about his state of mind. I also wonder what’s causing Rowan, who is an apprentice to Scythe Faraday, to question his humanity. And what’s the state of humanity in this world?

What are you reading this weekend? 


    • Thing is, everyone is an innocent. Since humanity figured out how to cheat death, the only way to keep from reading the population density is for the Scythes to glean people using the statistics from before death stopped being a thing. It’s really an interesting premise. Thanks for stopping by!


    • If he’s read/enjoyed the Unwind Dystology, he’ll definitely enjoy this one. Shusterman writes the kind of speculative science fiction that eerily could happen in the future, which is what I think makes it so compelling. Thanks for stopping by!


    • Absolutely! My wife (who will put a book down if it doesn’t grab her in the first 10 pages) came in while I was working a little while ago to say she’s going to binge read it today, she thinks it’s so awesome.


  1. Awesome pick this week–I cannot WAIT to get my hands on a copy of this one, I’m super excited about it! And that beginning–and the blurb! I just… I need this book so badly.

    Happy book-ing to you in the near future! Here’s my Friday 56 if you’re interested in checking it out; no pressure or worries if you’re not, though! Stay rockin’, and happy Friday!


  2. I was super excited when I saw you posted this one. It’s coming up on my TBR. I’m hoping to get to it before the end of December. I love Neal Shusterman’s books. This one sounds really good. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Now that finished my first watch of Gilmore Girls, I’m working my way into The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin.
    That first sentence of your book is definitely a hook. It makes me want to read the book and enter that world!


  4. Ok so this one sounds definitely right up my street! I’ll have to check it out asap! Thanks for helping me add to my evergrowing TBR pile 😉 Thank you for stopping by my blog and sorry for the late return 😀
    Juli @ A Universe in Words


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