Thunderhead (Arc Of A Scythe #2)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Genre/Themes/Demo: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Release Date: January 9th 2018
Page Count: 504
Format: ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Disclaimer: A copy of Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman was provided to me by Simon & Schuster Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way!
Initial Post Reading Thoughts
Well damn. That was absolutely amazing. Thunderhead was on par, if not better than, Scythe and I really didn’t think that was possible. It’s not common for a sequel to blow me out of the water like this. Neal Shusterman is amazing.
Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology. 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 have coddled humanity for too long. And although the human race is a parent to me, I see it more and more as an infant I hold close to me. An infant cannot walk if it is forever in loving arms. And a species cannot grow if it never faces the consequences of its own actions. To deny humanity the lesson of consequences would be a mistake. And I do not make mistakes.”
Well god damn. Neal Shusterman has done it again. I really don’t understand how this man can write the most perfect of books every single time.
It’s not common for the second book in a series to blow me out of the water. Statistically, it just doesn’t happen very often. Sequels usually feel like a filler, or better yet, a bridge from the first book to the last. They feel like something that gets you from point A to point B, but nothing of real importance really happens until the end to set you up for that third and final book. While the ending of Thunderhead contains a pivotal moment that greatly sets up the premise for book three, there was so much greatness throughout the rest of the book that I almost forgot it was a sequel.
We see the return of our two main characters, Citra and Rowan, and we continue to see the story through both of their perspectives. Not only do we get to see the story being told from their points of view, but we also get to see it being told from many other perspectives as well. From various Scythes to a new character by the name of Greyson Tolliver, we get to see this story from many different vantage points.
Within Scythe, between each chapter, we got to read journal entries from various Scythes, while in Thunderhead we are treated to the thoughts of the Thunderhead in between chapters. Can I just quickly say how unique and eerily plausible this story is. We all know what The Cloud is. We all know how it works, just a convenient piece of technology right? But imagine this piece of technology becomes sentient. It now has thoughts and feelings. It has evolved and taken over the world, but not in the horrible way that most media depicts a technology takeover. Instead, it uses its smarts to cure the world of everything that makes it rotten, or almost everything. It does all it can to perfect humanity and planet earth, yet once something happens outside of its control…once it feels betrayed, it decides to play god and take matters into its own hands. Brilliant. Neal Shusterman is brilliant.
There were little things that Shusterman did here and there that made this story feel absolutely believable. For example, when a few characters are looking for a lost land, one asks “like Atlantis? Or Disneyland or Las Vegas?” This really makes the story feel realistic, the fact that there were places mentioned that are real for us, but no longer are for them. Another example would be something as small as these characters not understanding what a wheel chair is because the Thunderhead has cured all disabilities. Or another, that even though technology has clearly advanced, something such as inhabiting other planets or the moon is still an impossibility whereas any other novel would have that as the immediate answer to the overpopulation caused by humanity no longer dying. It’s little things like this that make a novel truly memorable.
I absolutely loved this book, and yes, even though parts of it were definitely bridges to something bigger for the third book, Thunderhead completely blew me away. It was definitely on par, if not even better than Scythe! Can I get book three now please?!
About The Author
Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script.
In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his own hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell. His books have received many awards from organizations such as the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association, as well as garnering a myriad of state and local awards across the country. Neal’s talents range from film directing (two short films he directed won him the coveted CINE Golden Eagle Awards) to writing music and stage plays – including book and lyrical contributions to “American Twistory,” which is currently playing in Boston. He has even tried his hand at creating Games, having developed three successful “How to Host a Mystery” game for teens, as well as seven “How to Host a Murder” games.
As a screen and TV writer, Neal has written for the “Goosebumps” and “Animorphs” TV series, and wrote the Disney Channel Original Movie “Pixel Perfect”. Currently Neal is adapting his novel Everlost as a feature film for Universal Studios.
Wherever Neal goes, he quickly earns a reputation as a storyteller and dynamic speaker. Much of his fiction is traceable back to stories he tells to large audiences of children and teenagers — such as his novel The Eyes of Kid Midas. As a speaker, Neal is in constant demand at schools and conferences. Degrees in both psychology and drama give Neal a unique approach to writing. Neal’s novels always deal with topics that appeal to adults as well as teens, weaving true-to-life characters into sensitive and riveting issues, and binding it all together with a unique and entertaining sense of humor.
Thank you for reading!