The Toll

The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3) by Neal Shusterman

My rating: four stars

Genre: YA, dystopian

Edition: audiobook

Goodreads Summary: It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

The Arc of a Scythe series is absolutely one of my favorite series, and so when The Toll came out, I couldn’t wait to listen to it! I chose to listen to it because I listened to the first two books and I loved it – the narrator was fantastic.

Likes: Like the first two books, the world in this story is so insane. It provokes so much thought about death and how the lack of it would affect our society. The ways in which the government is changed in the story to fit around this lack of natural death is wonderful to read about. How people’s actions change is extremely interesting too – for example, people literally “splat” (jump off buildings) for fun for the adrenaline rush. As for this book specifically, I like that we got to learn more about other people besides Rowan and Citra. There are several POVs in this book that weren’t as prevalent in the first two books and I really liked learning about these other characters and their place in the world. The pacing was also great. It seemed like there was always something crazy or interesting going on somewhere. If not much was going on in one POV, there would be another where a plethora of events would be unfolding.

Dislikes: The ending to the second book was absolutely insane and I had no clue where this book was going to go. I LOVED that about Thunderhead. However, I personally did not care for where this book went in the end. It was just so out there and got away from what I believe this book series is about. I think that the ending made sense, but there could have been better places this story could have gone.

Overall, I will say that this wasn’t my favorite book of the series. I still love the writing, the characters, the pacing, and so much more, this book just went in a direction that I personally didn’t care for. I honestly debated my rating for a long time. I wanted to give it five stars because I love the series so much, but I finally decided that if I was having to debate it for so long, that it wasn’t worth five stars. So, I gave it four stars because of the direction that it went and because I didn’t love it as much as the first two, however, I would still recommend this book and this series to everyone. It is phenomenal!


Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman 

My rating: five stars

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Edition: Audiobook

Goodreads Summary: 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 listened to this book on audiobook and I think this might be the most satisfying audiobook that I have ever listened to. The voice of the reader was so calming yet they were somehow able to make me feel as if I was really there – to where I was sitting on the edge of my seat towards the end.

Likes: I don’t know how Neal came up with a world like this, it is such a unique but logical idea. I feel like so many people want immortality but don’t realize the negative effects that would take place and the fact that we would have to somehow control the population. Though the idea of Scythes is dark, I love it. The twists and turns in this book were so surprising and disarming, the direction that it went wasn’t a direction that I saw it going at all – though that’s not a bad thing. There was a lot of political intrigue in the book which adds another layer to the world and the book expands upon the effect the end of the first book has on the story. 

Dislikes: There were a few confusing and slower parts when a third character’s point of view comes into play. This character does some things that I didn’t necessarily understand, though I realize that it was most likely on purpose. That is honestly the only negative thing I can think of for this book. It would say that it was too long but the pacing and the different plots with multiple POVs kept it entertaining the entire time.

Overall, I gave this book five out of five stars because I would honestly read it over and over again. I thought Scythe was complex and well-thought out, but I was definitely not ready for Thunderhead. This book blew me away with the beautiful writing, intricate plots, and jaw-dropping plot twists. I would recommend this book to everyone, just make sure to brace yourself!