REVIEW: Thunderhead, Neal Shusterman (Jan. 9, 2018)

Prepare yourself, people of the world, because I am about to gush and sing the praises of this book relentlessly for (probably) the entire year.  When I read SCYTHE a few months ago, I was immediately transfixed by the world Neal Shusterman created. I love a book with a dark premise and this book was perfect for me.

So, let’s back up for a sec. If you haven’t read this series, here’s the breakdown:

The 411: We’re in a world where death by natural causes aka The Age of Mortality has essentially been wiped out. There’s no more sickness,  and you are able to “reset” your appearance to look as young or old as you want. Due to this development, the Earth’s population levels need to be regulated somehow so life can still be sustainable. Enter Scythes, trained “assassins” if you will, who have the job of killing or gleaning people to manage the population. Scythes are seen as highly respectable people in society and, minus getting killed of course, it’s almost an honor to be gleaned by one. The form of government is the Thunderhead, an omniscient and omnipresent watchdog, who sees all…the exception being The Lone Star Region, because apparently Texas just doesn’t give a fuck in any universe.

The first book introduced us to Rowan and Citra who are taken on as apprentices by Scythe Faraday. Two factions of scythes have been forming: those who glean with respect and those who enjoy the kill. To avoid explicit spoilers I’m going to skip ahead–but shenanigans ensue, and don’t tell me you’re not intrigued…

THUNDERHEAD picks up after SCYTHE’s bombshell of an ending. Having successfully escaped from the Winter Conclave, Rowan has become a vigilante under the name Scythe Lucifer, where he only gleans scythes who are abusing their title. Think a scythe version of Dexter. Citra has now become Scythe Anastasia under Scythe Curie, and chosen a unique way of performing her gleanings: giving the chosen victims a month’s notice to get their affairs in order.

This book also lets us into the inner thoughts of the Thunderhead, itself, and its struggles to maintain the separation between Thunderhead and Scythe. Oh, and the Big Bad’s followers are still lurking and waiting for the moment to rise.

I found the new characters to be a welcome addition to the story, especially Greyson Tolliver. Also, given today’s political climate, THUNDERHEAD is an especially interesting read–particularly the Thunderhead’s inability to intervene in scythe affairs, the ethics around surveillance, and the uprising of the New Order scythes.

There is a tad of romance, but it’s extremely minimal, and the action definitely takes center stage. I didn’t mind a bit, I was so enthralled in the story.

And ok, that ending…THAT ENDING. If you have (or when you) finished THUNDERHEAD, let’s talk.

I cannot wait for book 3, I’m so in love with this series. I do not give out five stars often, and this one was at least six.

MY RATING:  ✰✰✰✰✰
RECOMMENDED FOR: lovers of dystopian fiction who aren’t afraid of a little violence
MAY I ALSO SUGGEST: The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff

Thank you SimonTeen for my e-galley. THUNDERHEAD is available January 9.

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