Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Toll (Neal Shusterman)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”A successful lie is not fueled by the liar; it is fueled by the willingness of the listener to believe. You can’t expose a lie without first shattering the will to believe it.

I can’t believe it’s over but I can definitely say that I enjoyed every single moment of this journey! Three books and I read and reviewed them all in 9 months. Considering the fact that I’m a person who usually takes ages to finish a series this says A LOT about how deeply and thoroughly I got lost in this one! I loved all those books so much and every single one of them went in an entirely different direction and was something I didn’t expect.

Usually when you read a series you have some sort of golden thread that runs through it, but in this case every book was different, every plot was unexpected and something new and even up until the last book we get introduced to new and amazing characters. It never got boring and I never knew what to expect next! To say “Arc of a Scythe” was enthralling and surprising wouldn’t even come close to the truth. And if you ask me, Neal Shusterman did a more than just amazing job at tying up all the loose ends.

“The Toll” is the last and final book of this series and even though I never thought that I could be content with its ending I had to realize that I actually am?! I mean when it comes to the last book in a trilogy I always kind of tend to find a fly in the ointment and it’s pretty rare I like and accept an ending as it is. Well, not this time around. Neal Shusterman did a great job and the ending to this series was consistent and fitting. Was I happy with everything that happened? No. But it was realistic and it stood true to the critical essence of the series. So there’s that! But enough of my general opinion about “The Toll”, let’s get down to business and head directly to my characters section! XD

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Welcome back to my characters section, because if you read this you must have come back to read my review about the last book in this series. ;-P So I guess you know the drill! Lots of spoilers, lots of feels, lots of crying and ranting, and last but not least: lots of enthusiasm. Guess that about sums it up. ;-P

Scythe Anastasia – Citra:

”You are an excellent ass, Your Excellency.”

It was so good to see that even after three years – EXCUSE ME THREE FREAKING YEARS!?? – in the deep blue sea Scythe Anastasia still didn’t change her attitude. There was so much to take in and she had to get used to so many changes that happened while she was deadish, but she still managed to process them and decided to do something about it. Her situation was very difficult because she was supposed to be dead and then woke up in a world that had nothing to do with the one she had left before she died. If I’d have woken up in a world in which Goddard is the leader I probably would have had a mental breakdown but Citra didn’t and that made all the difference. XD I guess to have friends like Scythe Possuelo, Jeri and Scythe Tenka at her side might have helped too, but I think it was mostly due to her own strength that she came out of this okay. Scythe Curie and Scythe Faraday were good teachers and it showed in every action Citra took. =) She’s a really great character and if anyone ever deserved a new start then it’s her and Rowan. ❤

”Meu anjo?” she said. “Sydney, I’m nobody’s angel.“
“Ah, but you are,” Possuelo said.  “Because an angel is what the world needs if we are to ever bring Goddard down.”

Rowan Damisch:

”He had died so many times, and in so many ways, he was used to it. It held no more terror for him than falling asleep – which was often worse, because when he slept, he had nightmares.”

*sighs deeply* Rowan, my precious and dear Rowan. I can’t even put into words how much it hurt to read what happened to him. I mean three years dead in the ocean, and then he wakes up in some sort of prison because everyone thinks he sunk Endura, then he ends up in Goddard’s clutches again only to get saved right before his execution just in order to be used as a pawn by the Scythes of Texas!! *takes a deep breath* AJLAASDFKAJSDKFSA! And I didn’t even mention the part at the end of the book when he had to endure – wait for it – 117 FREAKING YEARS before he could be with Citra again!!! JESUS!!! Neal you did a number on my poor boy and I hated it!!! By the end of this series Rowan was so broken it killed me. T_T The only thing that makes me happy is the knowledge that he and Citra will be together for hopefully a thousand years now!!! *dies*

Greyson Tolliver:

”It should have felt good to put the curate in his place, but it didn’t. Perhaps that was why the Thunderhead had chosen him over all others; while others were corrupted by power, Greyson didn’t even like the taste of it.”

When Greyson was introduced in the second book I never thought that I’d love him so much but I do. I really do! This boy is so pure and precious! He’s probably one of the most selfless characters I ever encountered and the way he managed to maintain his innocence is nothing but astounding. After everything he went through he’s still not corrupted by power, he still knows right from wrong, he still stands up for his ideals and does what is right for humanity. Yes, he was guided by the Thunderhead but he was still his own person and this boy was beautiful from the inside and outside. ❤ I just love him! Period! XD

Then he took a deep breath and said one more time with a voice that could make mountains bow, “WHO DO YOU SERVE?”

He looked at her wistfully. “Funny, but it was never easy for me to talk to you before. Now it’s easier than talking with anyone else. I think we’ve become alike in a lot of ways.”

”The problem with painting a mural of my accomplishments,” the Toll said, “is that I haven’t actually accomplished anything.”

Jerico Soberanis:

Jeri laughed. “Yes, it can be inconvenient, but I’ve gotten used to it – embraced it, even. That unpredictability has become part of who I am.”

JERICO SOBERANIS IS THE BEST!!! Gods!!! How I wish Jeri would have been introduced way earlier in this series!!! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Jeri so damn much!! <333 How do I even talk about Jeri without mentioning that she/he is gender fluid?! The answer is easy: I don’t!  Because it’s such an integral part of Jeri that I just have to speak about it! XD I think I was a goner the moment Jeri appeared on page and the more I read about her/him the more I adored her/him. It’s so rare, so damn rare to find an honourable, wise, beautiful, gentle and kind gender fluid MC in a book but Neal Shusterman gave Jeri room to be who she/he truly is and I’ll always be thankful for that! In a lot of ways Jeri reminded me of myself – scratch the beautiful and wise part *lol* – so I was more than just happy to have Jeri in this book! XD I just …  I loved the way Jeri thought because it’s so similar to how I think and feel and I loved her/him even more for being so content with herself/himself. It’s like Neal Shusterman got to know me and created a better version of myself on page. If that makes any sense? *lol* So yeah, Jeri’s presence alone would have made this an awesome book for me. ;-P

”People are vessels,” Jeri had said to her. “They hold whatever’s poured into them.”

”All children in Madagascar were raised genderless and forbidden to choose a gender until reaching adulthood. Even then, many didn’t choose a single state of being. Some, like Jerico, found fluidity to be their nature.”

Possuelo cursed himself for having said anything at all. “You’re too clever for your own good.”
“That,” Jeri said, “has always been my problem.”

”One of the benefits of being Madagascan is that we see people as people. When it comes to attraction, gender is never part of the equation.”

Scythe Goddard:

”Come now, I’m sure you’ve all thought about it,” he prompted. “You can’t tell me that you haven’t fantasized about doing away with one pesky group or another. And don’t say Tonists, because that’s already my choice.”

I HATE HIM WITH THE FIRE OF A THOUSAND SUNS! *grrr* Like seriously, I couldn’t believe all those Scythes let him do what he did! He’s vain, he’s pretentious, blood-thirsty, cruel, and overall just a horrible, HORRIBLE person!!! Serves him right that he got totally paranoid and expected everyone to kill him in his sleep. The sheer nonchalance he showed when they discussed to eradicate entire ethnicities just because he didn’t like them?!! His arrogance and insolence! It’s outrageous!! I really thought I’d die when he launched those missiles at the spaceships and I was so damn glad Ayn stopped him. Boy, I don’t know what I would have done if he would have gotten away with this too. But Goddard is finally dead now and all I can say to that is: Good riddance! May he be tortured for eternity in hell.

”I want him gleaned just as much as you do. But gleaning should not be entertainment.”
To which Goddard said with an infuriating grin, “It’s entertaining to me.”

The Thunderhead:

”Painful for them, or for you?”
“Both,” the Thunderhead replied. “But my pain must not prevent me from doing the right thing.”

I’m the first one to admit that I was wrong when it came to the Thunderhead. Yes, the Thunderhead had feelings for Greyson and loved him but despite everything it never lost its way. I was so scared that it would turn against humanity but it never happened and this was something I didn’t expect?! *lol* I was so ready for everything to go to hell and for the second voice to triumph over the Thunderhead but in fact the Thunderhead only made a better version of itself. It’s as pure as Greyson and I’m glad everyone who went into space has “Cirrus” now. Still, my heart broke so much for the Thunderhead at the ending. It would have deserved better than that, yet I still understand Greyson’s decision. T_T

”The Thunderhead had no arms to embrace. Even so, it could feel the beat of Greyson’s heart and the precise temperature of his body as if it were right beside him. To lose that would be a cause of immeasurable sorrow. And so night after night, the Thunderhead silently monitored Greyson in every way it could. Because monitoring was the closest it could come to embracing.”

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Citra & Rowan:

”No,” she said. “That’s what he does, Rowan; he draws us in, over and over – but now we have a chance to show the world not just that we don’t need the scythedom, but that we never did. This could have been our destiny, if the scythedom hadn’t prevented it – and it still can be. That’s the fight I want. Not sparring endlessly with Goddard.”

I really hoped that Neal Shusterman would be done with his star-crossed lovers trope but nopedy nope! He wasn’t! Citra and Rowan might not have had a lot of page time together in “The Toll” but the little they had made me so damn happy! I really wish they would have gotten even more time and I just wanted them to be happy, but alas Goddard had to find them and threw a monkey wrench in their plans. A HUGE one I may add. Gods, I think I died a thousand deaths with Rowan when Citra died in his arms and Cirrus told him that she would only be revived when they reached their final destination.  117 years without the person he loved and waited for his entire life. 117 freaking years… T_T That ending… Rowan’s words. I’m still a sobbing mess whenever I think about it. But they will be happy together now and to be honest that’s the only thing that makes me feel a little bit better about their cruel destiny. >_<

His smile broadens. Tears fill his eyes. They drop slowly, as if gravity itself has become less adamant, less demanding.
“When was that?” Citra asks.
“Only a moment ago,” Rowan tells her. “Only a moment ago.”

Scythe Anastasia & Jeri:

”You won’t tell me because there’s nothing I can do,” she said, anticipating the reasons Jeri would give, “and it would distract me from what I need to do.”
“Do you hate me for it?” Jeri asked.

I really adored their strong friendship!! There was so much mutual respect and understanding. Jeri guided Anastasia and helped her whenever she got lost on her way and there could have been no better friend at her side. I loved that Jeri chose to stay with Citra because she/he enjoyed her company and appreciated her as a person. She/he didn’t have to stay with her but she/he decided to do it nevertheless because Jeri could feel that Citra needed her/him. Citra needed a friend and Jeri was that friend! And that moment when Jeri died so Citra could live?!! That scene was everything! ❤ Such a precious and noble soul! To see this duo on page made me happy and even though both of them went in different directions I’m pretty sure they left a mark on each other’s souls.

”For you, Honorable Scythe Anastasia, I would die a thousand deaths at my own hand. But one will be sufficient.”

”Did you fall in love with her?” he asked.
“No,” Jeri told him. “I fell in love with the idea of falling in love with her.”

”There is opportunity in every disaster,” Jeri told her. “A ship goes down, that’s when I get excited. Because I know there are always treasures in the wreckage. Look what I found at the bottom of the sea. I found you.”

Greyson & Jerico:

”Take me, for instance; I don’t even know your name.”
“It’s … Greyson.”
Jeri smiled with the warmth of the Madagascan sun.
“Hello, Greyson.”

Okay, I know, the romance between those two was just implied but I LOVE THE IDEA OF THEM BECOMING A COUPLE!!! <333 Those two would be so perfect for each other. Like seriously! There was a moment when I was about at the middle of the book and I thought: “Hey, I really wish those two would meet! I’m sure they would hit it off.” And hit it off they did. *lol* The conversations they had!! I was such a sucker for them. So playful and funny, but also serious and gentle. XD But hey, they held hands at the end of the book so I like to believe that they became a couple in the end. Ahh! I swear I’d read an entire book just about them and their relationship! XD

”I will never understand how you binaries are so attached to your birth plumbing. Why should it matter whether a person has ovaries, or testicles, or both?”
“It doesn’t,” Greyson said, feeling a little flustered. “I mean … it does matter for some things … doesn’t it?”
“You tell me.”

”I’m sorry,” Jeri said, trying to regain some semblance of composure. “Did I hurt you?”
Greyson offered his usual guileless grin. “Not nearly enough,” he said, which made Jeri laugh.
“My, but you do have a wicked side!”

Greyson & The Thunderhead:

”I wasn’t lying; I was giving him advice.”
“Yet you didn’t wait for my input. Why?”
Greyson leaned back in his chair. “You know me better than anyone. In fact, you know everyone better than anyone, and you can’t figure out why I did it?“

Boy, to say the relationship between Greyson and the Thunderhead was complicated would be putting it mildly and I’m still not sure whether the Thunderhead loved Greyson like a mother/father or like a lover. I think the only one who could give us an answer to that would be Greyson and judging by how he reacted after the Thunderhead touched him as Jeri I think it’s safe to assume that its feelings were of a romantic nature. I mean it collapsed into his arms because it touched his cheek. Such a simple and pure gesture but all the feelings that came along with it… I could understand Jeri’s anger at being used by the Thunderhead and I could relate to Greyson’s feelings afterwards, but I still can’t help but feel devastated for the Thunderhead. And for Greyson… because no matter how right it was to cut that line, to stop being that one exception for the Thunderhead it still hurt so much! T_T Their connection was something special and because it was special they had to sever it. =(( It still breaks my heart and fills me with grief. >_<

”You are a terrible person,” the Thunderhead said. “You are a wonderful person.”
“Well, which is it?” Greyson demanded.
And the response, as faint as faint could be, came back to him – not as an answer, but as another question.
“Why can’t you see that the answer is both?”

“I broke none of my laws…”
“No … but you broke mine.”
A sudden surge of emotion welled up in Greyson. Tears began to could his eyes, reminding him how much the Thunderhead had meant, and still did mean, to him. But he could not let that stop him.
If there was anything he’d learned from the Thunderhead, it was that consequences could not be ignored.
“Therefore,” he said through his tears, “I can no longer speak to you. You are … unsavory to me.”

Rowan & Scythe Goddard:

”I have so missed these conversations with you!”
“You mean the ones where you gloat, and I’m tied up?”
“You see? The way you get to the heart of the matter is always so refreshing. So entertaining. I’d keep you as a house pet, if I didn’t fear you’d somehow escape and burn me to a crisp in my sleep.”

I think after three books in which Goddard did nothing but torture Rowan we can all agree that they are archenemies, yet I still think that Goddard appreciates Rowan somehow. Whilst Rowan would most certainly love nothing more than to finally end Goddard’s life, the same can’t be said about Goddard. He loves to gloat, he needs a purpose and for so many years to catch Rowan and to make his life miserable was his sole purpose. He antagonized Goddard more than anyone ever did and I think in a weird kind of way Goddard loved him for it. He almost seemed to be relieved when he captured him again and even though he wanted him to die, some part of him still enjoyed to toy with him and would have loved to torment him even more. They have a weird dynamic and a super dysfunctional relationship and it could only end with one of them dying. So I’m glad it was Goddard and not Rowan, because Rowan deserved so much better than he ever got!

”If only I had ignored my conscience.”
Goddard shook his head in pity. “Conscience is a tool, just like any other. If you don’t wield it, it wields you – and from what I can see, it has bludgeoned you senseless.”

Scythe Rand, Scythe Goddard & Tyger:

”Tyger,” she said, “I think I’ve made a terrible mistake.”
“Wow,” said the Tyger construct. “That sucks.”
“Yes,” said Scythe Rand. “It does.”

I would have been so ready to pay Goddard’s and Rand’s tickets to hell but apparently Neal Shusterman had other plans. I was right with my assumption that Scythe Rand would be the death of Goddard but I really didn’t expect the kind of direction it all took in the end. I mean I’m glad that Tyger is back now and even though he has Goddard’s face he still has his old body so there’s that. I really don’t know how I feel about the possibility of Ayn starting to date him and to be his future love interest though. I mean I really don’t like that woman and I loved Tyger and he deserved so much better than her!!! She killed him for crying out loud!! Yes, she’s aware that it was a mistake but she still did it and for a long time she hoped that Goddard would reciprocate her feelings which he never did. So umm… not happy with how things turned out for those two but I guess I’ll have to live with it. As long as Tyger is happy I shall be fine. >_<

”Why must I always be the victim? Why must people make it their mission to tear me down? Have I not honored the commandments and done all a scythe is sworn to do? Have I not been a unifier in troubled times?”
“Yes, Robert,” she agreed. “But we’re the ones who made the times troubled.”

”Is that how you solve every problem now?” Ayn asked. “Glean it away?”

”But she absolutely refuses to hate herself, because that would crush her, and she will never allow herself to be crushed.”

Scythe Faraday & Munira:

There were few things that truly frightened Scythe Michael Faraday. But the prospect of an incalculable unknown was high on his list of personal fears. Especially when it was presented in a particular tone of voice. The kind that usually preceded the phrase “You’d better sit down.”

Was it just me who hoped that those two would become a thing? I could have sworn that there was something between them but whatever it was; it died the moment Scythe Faraday found out about Scythe Curie and Anastasia. =( I really didn’t like the development of their relationship in here and it made me so sad to see Faraday so broken, but then again I suppose it was just too much to take. It’s kind of ironic that his two apprentices where the ones that were able to break him in the end. Still, I’m glad that he met Rowan and Citra for one last time and even more glad that he found back to his old ways. The world changed drastically after he pushed the button and it needed compassionate and kind Scythes that would help to end the suffering of people. So by the end of the book Scythe Faraday is exactly where he was always supposed to be and it helped me to make peace with him and Munira. =)

”Pouting is a passing thing,” he told her dismissively. “What I have is a mind-set. I will not suffer this world again. It has done me no good.”
“But you’ve done much good for it,” she reminded him.

His pain was like a hot poker in a block of ice, but rather than comforting him, Munira found herself hardening. And when she spoke, it was like leveling an accusation. “I expected more from you, Your Honor.”
Faraday looked away, unable to meet her gaze. “That was your mistake.”

”We are imperfect beings,” Munira said. “How could we ever fit in a perfect world?”

4

I might not have been happy with all the developments in this book but they were realistic and Neal Shusterman managed to write a great ending for an even greater series! I loved the diversity in this, all the different and new characters and everything they stood for and believed in. It was an amazing ride and I’m really sad this series is over! Let’s hope Neal will write another great series soon! XD

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: Thunderhead (Neal Shusterman)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”The Thunderhead had managed to achieve something unique in the history of humanity: a bureaucracy that actually worked.”

Well, ain’t that the bitter truth? *lol* What a swipe at politics and society! Neal Shusterman sure knows how to criticize humankind and I’ve yet to read a book in which he makes no use of his –admittedly very accurate – verbal barbs. XD I love all the thoughts that go into his books and it’s really more than just a little amazing to see them on page. Still, no matter how nice all the theories, teachings and doctrine that went into “Thunderhead” this book was one hell of a ride!

And this even though it started pretty slow and felt like not an awful lot of things were happening. I mean yes, there happened A LOT but at first glance it was a really slow start. If you ask me I think this was mostly due to the introduction of the Thunderhead and how it operates and thinks. In “Thunderhead” we finally got to see the Thunderhead’s personal journal entries and for an entity that’s supposed to be omniscient and impartial it sure as hell seems to have its favourites and preferences, which was great! *lol* It kind of reminded me of AIDAN in Illuminae and as you all know I loved that AI to bits and pieces! ❤

Another thing that was intriguing to follow were not only the internal conflicts in the scythedom, but also the different ways to live under the watchful eye of the Thunderhead. This time around we got a better glimpse at the Tonist cult and an insider view of the people that don’t fit into the norm of the Thunderhead’s perfect world: The “Unsavories”! I guess their name already says it all and the irony of the Thunderhead giving people a chance to be criminals and outcasts of society wasn’t lost on me. I mean it even has a plan for people that don’t want to play by its rules. You either gotta love it for its thoroughness or hate it for always being in control. ;-P

Taking all this into consideration we had all the necessary ingredients for a powder-keg that only waited for someone to strike a match. And boy, did this tinderbox catch fire!! Anyway, enough of me trying to tempt you to read this book! Let’s head to my spoilery spoiler section before we reach the point of no return. *lol*

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Welcome to my characters section, which in all honesty should probably be renamed into rant section because I love to rant about books and therefore spoil like crazy! XD So if you haven’t read the book yet, you better don’t linger and run out of this madhouse as fast as you can! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉

Scythe Anastasia aka Citra:

”In all instances, though, their method of death had been their own choice. For Citra that was crucial, for the thing she despised most about the scythedom’s policies was the indignity of having your death chosen for you.”

First of all I’ve to say that I loved Citra’s gleaning method! I think if I’d have to be a Scythe I would have chosen a method like that too. It’s compassionate and fair and it gives people who think they are invincible and immortal a chance to get used to the idea of actually dying. I loved that she gave them one month to get their affairs in order and even went as far as to let them choose her method of gleaning. That way their fear of dying wasn’t as overwhelming as it could have been and they even got a chance say goodbye! So yes, Citra is one hell of a Scythe and I’m still rooting for her! I had such high hopes for Scythe Anastasia to defy the new order and to become a leader of the old guard and then… well then the ending happened and I was left speechless and reeling! Like WTH!!!?? ARGH!!! I’m still not over that ending!!! Guess I’ll need to go back to the woods and scream a little before I can continue to write this review. *lol*

”This is what the scythedom was incapable of understanding. They were so focused on the act of killing, they couldn’t comprehend what went into the act of dying.”

Scythe Lucifer aka Rowan:

”If there was one thing that Scythe Faraday had taught him, it was to live by the convictions of his heart, no matter what the consequences. And if there was one thing Scythe Goddard had taught him, it was to have no heart, taking life without regrets. The two philosophies forever warred in Rowan’s mind, rending him in two. But silently.”

Oh gods! How I suffered with Rowan! I loved that he became Scythe Lucifer and went after corrupted scythes and even though I’m aware that it was a bad thing to do I can’t help but feel the same way Rowan does. By killing those scythes he did something good and managed to prevent a lot of damage yet it still wasn’t good enough. In the end his emotions got the better of him and he was caught by Scythe Rand and Goddard, which killed me! Seriously! To know he was in their hands gave me all sorts of anxiety and I dreaded to read those chapters! You’d think Goddard hurt and messed up Rowan enough, but no! He had to hurt him even more! AKDFASDFJASDKFJ! My poor boy! He deserves so much better than he ever got and I swear if things don’t end well for him in the last book I’m going to be devastated! It’s enough! Neal Shusterman, you hear me?! It’s enough! Stop breaking my boy! *sobs* T_T

”His eyes had a careworn coolness to them as if he had seen more than he should, and had stopped caring in order to save what was left of his soul.”

”As they die, I think of their victims. The men, women, and children that they have gleaned – because the scythes that I end don’t glean with remorse, or the sense of responsibility that a scythe is supposed to have. Instead, I’m the one who feels compassion for their victims. And that frees me from feeling any remorse for the twisted scythes that I end.”

”Over the past two years, Rowan had been physically beaten, psychologically flayed, and emotionally battered. But he had survived it. What hadn’t killed him had made him stronger – more resolved to do what was necessary to fix what was broken. But now it was he who was broken. And there weren’t enough nanites in the world to repair the damage.”

”Rowan could not hide his anguish. His tears flowed with fury and unimaginable sorrow. They could have chosen anyone for this, but they hadn’t. They chose Tyger. For the sole reason that he was Rowan’s friend.”

Scythe Curie:

”Guard your conscience, Anastasia, and never let it wilt. It is a scythe’s most valuable possession.”

The Grande Dame of Death was once again amazing in this one and I really, really, really wanted her to become High Blade! She would have deserved it; she should have had that job! Scythe Curie should have been the one who went out of this alive but URGH!!! Scythe Goddard did and this in such a conniving and horrible way I still can’t wrap my mind around it! WTH??!!! I can’t believe Curie is dead and that he got away with it. I just can’t. *shakes head* And I think what gets me the most about this all, is that Scythe Curie and Anastasia tried to play it fair. They stuck to the rules and wanted to weather it out, and then… GAH! You’d think two weeks would be enough to get over this book, but nope. I’m still not over it! XD RIP Scythe Curie you were one of the best and you will be remembered, no matter what Scythe Goddard does! >_<

„Scythe Curie put down her fork, and took a moment to consider Anastasia’s discomfort. “The end doesn’t always justify the means, dear,” she said. “But sometimes it does. Wisdom is knowing the difference.”

”As she laid the woman’s head gently down, the other scythes followed her example, and began gleaning with such heart, compassion, and love that it did bring enormous comfort, and at the end, people were crowding around them, asking to be gleaned next.”

Scythe Goddard:

Then he rolled closer, and whispered, “I am your eagle, Rowan. And I will feed on your misery day after day for eternity. Or until your suffering bores me.”

In German we’d use the word “Weltenbrand” to describe what went down on those last 100 pages but since this word doesn’t exist in English I’ll have to translate it freely and hope that it will suffice: a world on fire or the world going up in flames. So yeah, that’s basically what happened at the end of “Thunderhead”! And Scythe Goddard was responsible for all of it which is the reason I’ll go all “Queen of Hearts” now and demand: OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!! Ironically this already happened at the ending of the first book and despite everything this bastard of a man found a way back to life! I hate him; I hate him so much my heart is burning with the fierce desire to kick his ass into another universe! HOW COULD HE GET AWAY WITH ALL THIS!!??? Why is he freaking High Blade now!? Why could no one stop this from happening?! How is it possible no one saw what he did?!!! HOW DARE HE TO DESTROY ENDURA??!! AHHHHHH!!! I think I’ll go cry with the Thunderhead now… my emotions are still all over the place! I’ll never forgive Scythe Rand for bringing Goddard back. NEVER! T_T

Goddard paused to look at him in abject disgust that for a moment decayed into regret. “You could have been among the greatest of scythes,” Goddard told him. “You could have been by my side, redefining our presence in this world.” He shook his head. “Few things are sadder than squandered potential.”

Greyson Tolliver:

”His hair, his clothes, and those baby horns at his temples might have fooled someone else, but his slim build and body language gave him away. And his eyes. An odd cross between deer in headlights and a wolverine about to attack. The kid lived in a constant state of fight or flight.”

Greyson was such a sweet character! I really liked him and I loved the way he was introduced. The Thunderhead seems to care about him deeply and my heart broke for him when it used him to save Scythe Anastasia and Scythe Curie. It was obvious the way the Thunderhead chose for him was more than just a little difficult, but he still decided to go down that path because he trusted it to do the right thing! Greyson was such a loyal soul, it hurt so much to see his struggle! I really felt for him when he was lost and stranded at the Tonist cult. His entire life, his career, just everything! He gave it up in order to help the Thunderhead and all he got back was pain. T_T I wonder what he’s up to now. I mean after everything that happened he’s probably the only person the Thunderhead is speaking to, so I’m really curious what will happen next! XD

The Thunderhead:

”I see their fine deeds, as well as their foul deeds, which seem to be on the rise. And each time I witness a cruel act by a corrupt scythe, I seed the clouds somewhere in the world, and bring a lamentation of rain. Because rain is the closest thing I have to tears.”

You can say what you want but I think the Thunderhead has feelings and isn’t as indifferent as it claims to be. I mean hell! It switched off the lights for 1.3 seconds just to let Greyson know that it actually cares about him!!! And he didn’t even see it!! ARGH!!! Despite its principle not to get involved it actually got involved fairly good! *lol* It’s a pity it didn’t have cameras on Endura or it would have been able to thwart Scythe Goddards attempts at a new world order right from the start. *sighs* And believe me when I say that I screamed alongside the Thunderhead when Endura sunk and Rowan and Anastasia died in the sea. I still can’t believe that ending!!! What is the Thunderhead going to do now? Can it work against Goddard without going against its own principles?! I really dunno. >_<

”Please…,” he begs. And so I oblige. I reach out into the electrical grid, and douse the lights. Not just in the chapel, but throughout all of Wichita. The lights of the city blink for 1.3 seconds. All for the benefit of Greyson Tolliver. To prove beyond a shadow of doubt how much I care, and how heartbroken I would be for all he has suffered, if I had a heart capable of such malfunction.”

3

Citra and Rowan:

”Justice? The scythedom doesn’t know what justice is anymore.”
“Some of us do, Rowan. I have to believe that eventually wisdom and reason will prevail.”
Rowan reached out and touched her cheek. She allowed it. “I want to believe that, too, Citra. I want to believe that the scythedom can return to what it was meant to be… But sometimes it takes a necessary darkness to get there.”

I still love those two and I wish they wouldn’t have had to deal with so many things! They should have been a happy couple but I guess Neal Shusterman wanted them to be star-crossed lovers and boy, star-crossed lovers they were! XD Their struggle with their roles and the expectations that came along with them felt real and always broke my heart but I think that ending broke it even more! I can’t believe this book ended like that! I just can’t!!! How could it end like that?!!! I mean ADKFASKDFJASKDFASJDFKA! The only consolation is that they died in each other’s arms and were together when everything went to hell! Well, and the fact that they’ve a chance to be found and to be revived. The only question is WHEN??!!! ARGH! I can’t stand the thought of Goddard doing as he pleases and getting things in a complete mess. This ending and the injustice of it all…  it’s killing me, I swear! T_T

”When he took her in his arms, it suddenly didn’t seem to matter what was going on outside of their tiny, sealed universe. In these terminal minutes of their current lives, it was just the two of them finally, finally giving in to their ultimate act of completion. The binary at last becoming the one.”

Scythe Rand & Scythe Goddard:

”Ayn fought back every last emotion threatening to overtake her. She just shut them down cold. It was either that, or fall apart in front of him. She would rather self-glean than do that.”

Stupid Scythe Rand! Why the freaking hell did she ever think it would be a good idea to bring Scythe Goddard back!?! She should have let his head rot in hell! I hate that cold and calculating bwitch and I hope she goes down like a stone in the sea! No one needed Goddard back and I have no idea why she did it? Is she really in love with him?! They never gave me that kind of vibe and I just don’t understand it. Yes, she obviously loved Tyger, yet she still killed him in cold blood! I’m sure Tyger would have taken her gladly… how could she be so stupid!?? I don’t get this woman AT ALL! But I get the distinct feeling that in one way or another she might not only be Goddard’s rise but also his fall. Hopefully he takes her with him. I’d even pay their tickets to hell. Don’t worry, it’s my treat! ;-P

”And yet she did regret it – and that dizzying gap between what she should feel and what she did feel was tearing her apart.”

4

“Thunderhead” might have had a rather slow start but it certainly went out with a bang! XD Just like its predecessor it had a lot of twists and turns. Some of them I saw coming from miles away and others were so sudden they felt like a punch to the face! Neal Shusterman knows his stuff and he’s not afraid to use his skills to his advantage! 😉 Did I enjoy this: Hell yeah! Am I going to read the next book soon: Definitely! I guess I just gotta lick my wounds for a little while longer, though. *lol*

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Scythe (Neal Shusterman)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 21 of My Book List 2020

“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.”

Every once in a while there comes a book I’m not prepared for and I guess this year this nomination goes to “Scythe”. I read the blurb and the idea sounded intriguing, all of my fellow goodreaders seemed to enjoy it and so I didn’t even hesitate when I decided to put the book on “My Book List 2020”. So much to the thought process that led me to read this book.

What I didn’t know and therefore didn’t take into account was how invested I would be! I mean HOLY FEAKING MOLY!!! This was one hell of a freaky ride and even though my mind is reeling faster than a rat race I still loved every second of it. There were plenty of moments I thought I’d go bananas and even though the plot twists in “Scythe” weren’t as brutal as in – let’s say “Illuminae” – they were still pretty ferocious! Like, really, really, fierce. *lol*

I lost count of how often I went all “WHAT??!! NO!!! THIS CAN’T BE TRUE!” and “ADSFJKLMNÖAKDJASKDFJ” because I just couldn’t put my exasperation into words! If you take a closer look at my updates while I read the book you might get an idea though! ;-P Still, regardless of my crazy reactions this book was nothing but amazing! I loved how it made me think and question the decisions of the MCs and I adored that even though at first everything in this world seemed to be black and white it ultimately turned out to be all different shades of grey! From light grey to dark-grey and everything in between. Okay, admittedly there was one character that was completely black but I’ll get to that in my characters section.

So without further ado, let’s get ready to rumble!

2

Beware! You are about to enter the all-seeing and all-knowing Thunderhead! Nothing is secret in here and spoilers will hit you at every corner! If you’re not ready to know it all you better retreat and come back another time! ;-P

Citra Terranova:

”You see through the facades of the world, Citra Terranova. You’d make a good scythe.”
Citra recoiled. “I’d never want to be one.”
“That,” he said, “is the first requirement.”
Then he left to kill their neighbor.

I just noticed that this is the only quote I wrote down when it comes to Citra! Which is pretty strange but then again I think nothing gives a better first impression about her character than this statement. Citra doesn’t want to be a Scythe and when she starts her apprenticeship with Scythe Faraday she always seems to ask the right questions. Citra was a really interesting character because she never took things for granted. There was always her curiosity that caused her to second guess decisions others made and I loved to watch how she grew into her role! I’m sure she’ll make a really good Scythe and I have absolutely no doubt that she’ll glean with compassion. Citra was lucky to have Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie as her mentors and boy did I wish Rowan would have had the same training! >_<

Rowan Damisch:

”Can you at least give him a few minutes to prepare?” Rowan asked.
“Are you telling me how to do my job?”
“I’m asking you for some mercy!”

I LOVED ROWAN!!!! Mostly because I could relate to him so much! That boy had guts and whilst Citra asked the right questions he refused to make the wrong decisions. ❤ I hated that he became Scythe Goddard’s apprentice and I felt so damn sorry for him! I wish he would have gotten a nice Scythe like Curie but of course he had to end up with Goddard. =(( I swear I felt so much with him. He had to survive his apprenticeship with that despicable man and all the time he knew that he’d eventually die at the hands of Citra in the end. For Rowan there was no doubt that she’d become a Scythe and it broke my heart!!! T_T His constant fight against becoming a monster was so painful to watch. It were his circumstances that forced him to act in a way he never wanted to and it were his circumstances that made him the man he became at the end. Gosh, my heart is still bleeding for him! There is so much good in Rowan and no one is able to see it because they only see Scythe Goddard’s training. It’s so unfair, I can’t even!!!!! ADFLKASDFJASLKDFJASDLKFSAJDF! Erm, yes, I guess it’s obvious that I still feel very strongly about this! *lol* My poor boy! *sobs* Also Scythe Volta… I’ll never get over his death. He was so broken at the end. T_T

”Numb. Rowan could feel himself growing numb – and while it might have been a good thing for his beleaguered sanity, it was not a good thing for his soul.”

”And Rowan found himself smiling. Something had torn loose inside of him. He didn’t know whether it was a good thing or not. And while part of him felt like falling to his knees and hurling up breakfast, another part of him wanted to howl to the moon like a wolf.”

”He was too quick. He hurled himself like a fireball down the center aisle. The scythes closest to him leaped into action, trying to stop him, but he kicked and spun, and sliced and flipped. No one could get a hand on him. To Scythe Anastasia he seemed some deadly force of nature.”

Scythe Goddard:

”Let’s clarify,” Goddard said calmly. “We are not here to barter and bargain. We are scythes – which means that by law, anything we want we can take. Any life we wish to end, we will. Simple as that. You have no power here. Do I make myself clear?”

I ABSOLUTELY HATED THIS MAN!!! With the fierce fire of a thousand hells and the burning eternity of the sun!! ARGH!!! Just to think about him already makes me angry! How dare he to play god? How dare he to kill for pleasure?! In his hands Scythedom became nothing but a brutal sport! He misused his power in the worst possible way and I was not okay with his training methods! Those people they killed for sport were still living, breathing and feeling human beings! Just because they could be revived doesn’t mean that it was okay to slaughter them like that. His teachings were so unacceptable and morally reprehensible, I have no words!!! The problem with Goddard was that between his madness and his wish to feel pleasure when he did this job, there were still moments when his words rang true and appealed to people like us who still live in a world in which you feel pain and die. I mean if you can live forever and never have to worry about death when you do something stupid, are you even capable of enjoying your life? Isn’t every day just like the last? There comes a certain thrill with being mortal and I suppose they lost this after the Thunderhead and Scythedom were invented. So maybe people like Goddard were a homemade problem of the invention of those two? I dunno. Boy, this book made me think so much. >_<

”Take great satisfaction and pleasure in this, Rowan,” said Scythe Goddard, “or you’ll be nothing more than a killing machine.”

”We are angels of death,” said Scythe Goddard. “It is only fitting that we swoop in from the heavens.”

Scythe Faraday:

”Ha!” said the unsavoury, puffing up at his strategic triumph. “I’ve got immunity for a year – and you can’t undo it! I know the rules!”
Scythe Faraday was unfazed. “Yes, good for you,” he said. “You have three hundred sixty-five days of immunity.” And then, looking him in the eye, said, “And I’ll be seeing you on day three hundred sixty-six.”

I really liked Scythe Faraday and the way he taught Citra and Rowan. If there would have been more Scythes like him they probably would have never had the trouble with Scythe Goddard. Faraday still had compassion for the people he gleaned even though I’ve to admit that I sometimes didn’t like the way he did it. I understand that he wanted to give every person an individual death because in our world people die from various and different reasons and he wanted to keep close to the origins of mortality. I would have never been able to drown someone though. It’s a cruel way to go and if the people you glean are already afraid of you it would have been merciful to gift them with a quick death. I mean the moment a Scythe tells you that you’re going to be gleaned you feel afraid, you feel all those feelings you eluded for decades, maybe even centuries. So they ARE scared shitless and worry about their family and friends. With the prospect of imminent death they become so very human again and I couldn’t for the life of me, glean them with a painful or cruel method. So yeah, I suppose even Scythe Faraday had his grey sides.

”Never lose your humanity,” Scythe Faraday had told him, “or you’ll be nothing more than a killing machine.”

Scythe Curie:

”The killers are rising to power,” Scythe Curie said. “And if they do, the days of this world will be very dark indeed. It is left to the truly honourable scythes to stand firm against it. I look forward to the day you join in that fight.”

Judging by the way Scythe Curie acted I would have never believed that she and Scythe Faraday had a romantic relationship! They did though and that was quite some revelation. *lol* I admit at first I was no big fan of her. I mean the first test Citra and Rowan had to take was so unfair! All the others got questions that had to do with their apprenticeship and Citra and Rowan got really personal questions no person in their right mind would have answered truthfully in a room full of Scythes! Like seriously! How could you even ask them a question like that!? I mean okay, Rowan’s question would have been easy to answer but still, I understand why he didn’t want to yell it out into the world. XD Still, the more I got to know Scythe Curie the better I began to understand her motives. I was glad that she didn’t only believe Citra but also helped her to escape into another country. The machinations of Scythe Goddard were quite effective but in the end Citra’s reputation was restored and no one believed that she killed Faraday. Jeez! His suicide was a surprise and that Citra was accused of murdering him was just the icing on the cake! I never saw those plot twists coming!

3

Citra & Rowan:

”They were partners; they were adversaries – and Rowan found it increasingly hard to parse his feelings about her. All he knew was that he liked watching her write.”

Their relationship was doomed right from the moment they met! At first they had to compete for an apprenticeship neither of them even wanted and then they were sentenced to kill whoever failed to get said apprenticeship! Which was so UNFAIR I CAN’T EVEN!!!! Hell, was I angry when I read about the decision of the Conclave. How dare they to force them to make each other their first gleaning? ARGH!!! There were so many obstacles that got in their way and all I wanted was for them to be happy! No matter what happened, no matter how much they grew apart they still loved each other and this made all the difference! They trusted each other even though others didn’t and I loved them for their faith! <33 That moment when Rowan broke Citra’s neck though!!! AAKDFSAFJDSAKFDJ! I can’t believe he actually did this and I can’t believe Citra saw through it!!! And that FREAKING ENDING??!!! I was just glad I wasn’t on my lounger at my parent’s garden. Otherwise I would have swallowed about a thousand gnats. Yes, I was so gobsmacked I wasn’t able to close my mouth! *lol* Citra saving Rowan by getting his blood on her ring was such a calculated and smooth move I couldn’t help but be in awe of her genius! Just brilliant! Also they said I love you!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!! *dies a thousand deaths*

”I haven’t fallen in love with you, Rowan. And now I want to keep it that way.”Rowan got up and moved to the safety of the threshold before turning back to her. “It’s all right, Citra,” he told her. “I haven’t fallen in love with you, either.”

”It’s good to see you, Citra,” he said. “But it hurts to see you. It hurts a lot, and I don’t know what to do about it.”

He thought he could not be more impressed by her. She had just proved him wrong.

“I love you,” he said.
“Same here,” she responded. “Now get lost.”

Scythe Goddard & Rowan:

”That’s such a load of crap.” Rowan said, not even caring what response it might evoke.
Goddard merely raised an eyebrow. “Perhaps … but you can’t deny this is a turning point in your life, and every turning point must be marked by an event – one that burns itself into you as indelibly as a brand.”

O_o Their relationship was sooo twisted and it blew my mind big time. And their dynamic? Well, it was crazy! I mean Goddard was Rowan’s mentor and taught him all the wrong things, yet Rowan refused to become the killing machine Goddard wanted him to be. He became a killing machine with a conscience instead and I still don’t know if this is good or bad. Rowan certainly didn’t choose the easy path and I loved how he defied Goddard whenever he got a chance. Also one of the strangest things about their relationship was that Goddard actually seemed to be awed by Rowan’s skill. He was proud of him the way a parent would have been and he sort of admired him as well?! Their relationship was so weird… Poor Rowan, I guess in the end he partly became what he never wanted to be. The suicide of Scythe Volta was such a shock but what shocked me even more was how Rowan slaughtered Goddard and his followers. That chapter at the Tonist cult was so … OMG!! Hell, he killed them all and made it look like it was an accident! He killed Scythes and no one could prove it! JEEZ! He gleaned them and made sure that nothing of their remains was left so they couldn’t be resurrected again! ADLFASDFJSALDFJASLDFJALSDFJSALDFJ! I think I’ll never get over this! I love Rowan so much but this was so, so… wrong. ARGH! Also his name as a Scythe! Scythe Lucifer!!! So perfect but also so GAH! Seriously, I just can’t put my emotions into words. *pulls at hair*

”We could have been called reapers,” Goddard said, “but our founders saw fit to call us scythes – because we are the weapons in mankind’s immortal hand. You are a fine weapon, Rowan, sharp, and precise. And when you strike, you are glorious to behold.”

”I am what you made me,” he told Goddard. “And you’re right: I enjoyed that. I enjoyed that more than anything I’ve ever done in my life.”

4

The more I think about this book the more I get agitated! “Scythe” blew my mind in the best and worst possible way and I think it’s undeniable that it was thought-provoking as hell! It is one of those rare books that still resonates in your head even though you finished it weeks ago! It poses the right questions but leaves the answers up to you and I don’t know about you, but I for my part, am hooked! Suspenseful, mind blowing, thought-provoking and extremely unsettling! Ladies and Gents, this is the real deal! 😉