REVIEW: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2): 5/5
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Walker Books YA

“While freedom gives rise to growth and enlightenment, permission allows evil to flourish in a light of day that would otherwise destroy it.”

This book was sent to me by the publisher, please note that this does not affect my opinion.

Find my review for the first book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy here. Please note that this review reveals nothing about the story, but I will not call it spoiler free since it’s very hard to reveal absolutely nothing about the ending of book one when reviewing book two.

Hi friends! As you might still remember, I read Scythe at the end of April and wrote a raving review about it. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it, as I hadn’t loved a Dystopian novel in a long time. The ending of Scythe instantly made me crave more, and I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Thunderhead as well so I could hopefully continue loving this story. Now you might know that second-book-syndrome is an actual thing where the second book in a trilogy is just a boring bridge between book one and three. While Thunderhead does set things up for the concluding novel, it does so majestically and beautifully.

Thunderhead continues where we left off in Scythe: with the Scythedom in turmoil. The new-order scythes with their lack of compassion and love for killing and the old-order scythes that glean with compassion instead of glee are on opposing sides of a slowly brewing internal war.

Thunderhead differs from the first book in a few small but significant ways. In Scythe, we have intermissions between every chapter that give us a glimpse into the gleaning journals of a few scythes. In Thunderhead, these journal parts are replaced by the Thunderhead’s musings. We learn more about the AI that basically keeps the world on its axis, which is also crucial to where the story’s going. Personally, I find the Thunderhead’s parts extremely interesting (AI both fascinates and scares me) and a real addition to the story.

We still follow the main characters we know and love from the first book (Citra & Rowan), but we are also introduced to a new main character named Greyson Tolliver. His name basically says it all, he’s a pretty grey guy that doesn’t stand out in any way. However, the Thunderhead has plans for him. The specifics of that plan, however, are revealed to neither Greyson nor us. I have to say I was not instantly charmed by Greyson, but at some point, I realized he actually grew on me throughout the book.

The worldbuilding expands to parts outside of MidMerica, where most of the first book took place. Because we mainly saw MidMerica in Scythe, I got the idea that there was nothing outside of what used to be Northern America (like it is in quite a few Dystopian novels). Luckily, Thunderhead sets this straight by pointing out once more that the Thunderhead ‘took over’ the entire world. Our beloved Scythes venture out to places we haven’t heard of, on adventures we lowkey wish they didn’t go on. In conclusion, I think Thunderhead is a brilliant continuation of the story and I wish the last book were out NOW. Oh and btw, the last book is called ‘The Toll’… Greyson TOLLiver, anyone?

If you got to be a Scythe and could choose your Scythe name based on an important person in mortal history, what would it be? I’d like to call dibs on Scythe Rowling, please.



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