Saturday 19 September 2020


This was a lot of fun. 

Picked up completely on a whim because I liked the cover.

A dark, gripping and witty thriller in which the only thing humanity has control over is death.

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 of 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.

Very interesting concept. A bit like Altered Carbon, but everyone gets to live forever, not just the rich. I really appreciated the way it dove right in there without a load of backstory explanation. It's like, 'this is our world, this is how it works, get with the programme.' 

Good stuff.

I love the concept of 'splatting', which is committing suicide just for the fun of it. Usually from a great height.

It's set in a world where all that can be known is now known. Which, when you consider Big Data, is not so implausible.

The idea of truly wishing to end one's own life is a concept completely foreign to most post-mortals, because we can't experience the level of pain and despair that so seasoned the Age of Mortality. Our emo-nanites prevent us from plunging so deep. 

It plays heavily around the concept that, 'there is no art without death.' That, if we could live forever - or, in this case, can't not live forever - then the impetus to invent and create would be lost.

The whole thing was just great. Romping through a different reality that just might, some day, be our own. And some words of wisdom in there, too:

I think all young women are cursed with a streak of unrelenting foolishness, and all young men are cursed with a streak of absolute stupidity.

It's the first book in a trilogy by  Neal Shusterman, and I'm likely to go find the second.

If you are the singer, then I am the song,
A threnody, requiem, dirge.
You've made me the answer for all the world’s need,
Humanity’s undying urge.

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