Thursday, January 16, 2020

Audiobook Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Title: Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 504
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Review for book 1

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 read Scythe back in 2018 and really enjoyed it, even if I did find it a bit slow at times. I loved the characters and found the world of Scythes and the Thunderhead fascinating. Still, I wasn't super eager to dive back into this world because it really is just a lot. Finally, I got my hands on the audiobook and decided to give it a go... and somehow finished it in three days.

This book picks back up with Rowan, now Scythe Lucifer, ending corrupt scythes. Citra, along with Scythe Curie are worried about the New Order and try everything they can to figure out how to defeat them and their corruption. Also enter a new character, Grayson, who is set on a path unlike any he'd ever expected working in his own way to maintain order with the Thunderhead.

I loved the addition of Grayson. I enjoyed seeing him embrace every role he was thrown into. The Thunderhead also really grew on me, reminding me a bit of AIDEN from The Illuminae Files. The character growth in Citra and Rowan was fantastic - I love their relationship, doomed as it is. The New Order scythes were terrifying antagonists. The corruption of their power was scary to see and I can't imagine how that will look in the next book, but I can't wait to find out!

One thing I do really enjoy about this series is the politics of it. I'm sure it's no mistake that certain themes and situations seem to resonate so much. There are times that this book is downright scary in how easily I could see things reflected in our current environment. That's one of my favorite things about dystopia, even if it is a little terrifying.

All that being said, this book was A LOT. There is so much going on in this story that it's hard to keep up with at times. The Scythes, the Tonists, the New Order, the different Scythe factions, multiple islands and secrets and new characters - I can see why this book was over 500 pages. I do enjoy this series so much, but I did find it a bit overwhelming at times. And again, like the first book, I somehow found myself bored in places. If I had tried to read this instead of listening it probably would have taken me weeks to finish.

If you enjoyed Scythe, you'll definitely like this one too! I'm really hoping that now that all the pieces are in play, The Toll will be a bit more fast paced and less dense, even though it's quite a bit longer. I definitely can't wait to see how Citra and Rowan's story ends!