Scythe by Neal Shusterman ~ Buddy Read

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Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)
By Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN13: 9781442472426
Pages: 435
Genre: YA/Dystopian

Synopsis:

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.


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This was another buddy read with Debby @Always Booking,  She is still putting up with me. Scythe was her choice (and I am glad she selected it!). As usual, we have chosen to exchange 5 questions regarding our time with the book and share our responses followed by our own personal thoughts. You can read Debby’s thoughts here.

My Questions to Debby:

1. One of the very first things that stood out to me in Scythe was the use of the term “gleaning”. They never refer to the process of taking lives as killing. Why do you think this is important?

To them I don’t think the Scythe’s think of it as taking a life, they think more as a statistical way. They don’t kill they take a life or glean so more people can live.

2. Did you feel that given the setting in the story that the job of a Scythe was a necessary or crucial one to be respected?

For the setting of the story it seems crucial, however as a person in this world it seems crazy to me.  I think they do need to be respected however there is a difference between respect and lifting them to a higher power.

3. How did you feel about relationship between Citra and Rowan? How did this affect your experience as a reader?  

I was so torn about their relationship; they were and were not friends.  I enjoyed it very much, both Citra and Rowan were very complex characters that needed to develop throughout the book and did very much.

4. Without spoilers, be truthful, who were you rooting for? Or were you torn between the two young protagonist?

Okay so I was torn, in the beginning it was totally Rowan, then in towards the end it was Citra.  That’s all I can say without spoilers!

5. For myself this was a somewhat dark read that still managed to feel light and enjoyable at times. How would you describe Shusterman’s writing in this specific title?

This book definitely is a dark read.. but has such hidden light elements you wouldn’t even know you read them until you were chuckling to yourself. There were some moments that really struck a chord with me the “aha” moment that relate to your life were really good.

My Answers to Debby’s Questions:

How do you feel about the aging process in the book?

Without exploring too much of the book (for those who have not read it), I found the aging and renewal process to be crucial in Scythe. The plot relies heavily on these elements to emphasize the need for and importance of Scythes and gleaning. I felt the author utilized this all brilliantly to provide a sense of justification and dare I say, respect for the difficult task of Scythes. The significance of their role was solidified by these elements. I could not imagine it having been presented any other way.

Further in the book when we get to meet more Scythes, which would you choose to be paired with if you were in training?

This is a difficult question. I am almost torn between Scythe Faraday and Scythe Curie. Curie is wise with her age and experience. Her history as a Scythe would certainly provide a lot of value during training. However, I think ultimately, I would still choose Faraday. His character just resonates with honesty and sincerity. I never found myself questioning his intentions or methods.

Did you feel the main two characters developed well throughout the book?  Or would you have liked to see them grow more?

I found the character development to be surprising rewarding in Scythe. Citra and Rowan are both faced with the most difficult task of their lives and each handle this in very individual ways. The plot fostered a ton of growth and character depth, which is hard not to appreciate. I am excited to see how the sequel unfolds.

The thing I noticed most about this book is there is little romance, did you find that added or took away from the book?

I actually appreciated the lack of love story within Scythe. I feel that the main story-line would have suffered if Shusterman has attempted to squeeze in a romantic element that was more than the existing interest noted among certain characters. It was refreshing to read a book that did not have an underlying love theme. So in this case, it was certainly a benefit.

Cover love? Not so Cover love?? 

COVER LOVE!

My Final Thoughts..

Scythe is a brilliant read that manages to incorporate odd elements of humor and wit into the normally darker subject of death. Through a cleverly implemented setting, Shusterman hand-delivers a dystopian tale that places a new emphasizes on humanity and the significance of controlling the balance of the population. Tasked with the “grim” job of gleaning, Scythes maintain that balance. When Citra and Rowan are selected for a duel apprenticeship under Scythe Faraday, they will find themselves tasked with learning to take lives or facing severe consequences.

It is through this unique and unsettling career path and training that the author presents a series of significant events all tucked within an incredible story telling that produces thought-provoking results. What reads as an entertaining piece of science fiction soon becomes an in-depth assessment of humanity told through alternating point of views.

Untitled design Enjoyed with a cup of raspberry, hibiscus tea.

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Purchase Links: Amazon.com Book Depository

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

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Vices and Virtues: An Anthology of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Dark Virtues ~ Sneak Peek



I am excited to take part in the Vices and Virtues Blitz Tour today with Xpresso Book Tours. Stick around to for a sneak peek and a giveaway for a $25.00 Amazon gift card. Don’t forget to pick up a copy!

Vices and Virtues: An anthology of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Dark Virtues
Publication date: November 14th 2017
ASIN: B0772Q82X5
Genres: Adult, Horror, Supernatural, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Suspense/Thriller

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Synopsis:

Sins will weave you into their webs. They become the Vice you’re unable to shake. There are the values, taught from birth, which ride a razor’s edge. They turn into Dark Virtues, a twisted mockery of their true meaning.

Pride, envy, lust, gluttony, anger, greed and sloth all have their place in the tapestry of life. They are the Vices who lost sight of the Virtues: charity, temperance, forgiveness, humility, kindness, chastity and diligence.

Enter the worlds where the tales of the most sinful of Vices and the darkest of Virtues will entice and intrigue you…

…for even among the most devout there is a dark side.

On sale for $0.99 for a limited time only!

Purchase on Amazon.com


 

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SINS OF THE FLESH (Gluttony)

BY STACEY BROADBENT

Throwing caution to the wind, I slipped my feet into a pair of runners and walked down the road, telling myself it was to clear my mind. But really, I was on the prowl for fresh meat. Someone vulnerable—easy prey. I had to be smart about it; it was broad daylight after all.

Every person who walked past became a possible target. In my mind’s eye, I pictured a computer log for each one, listing their attributes. Having limited knowledge on the ins and outs of cannibalism, I had no idea what the perfect body type was for consumption. Would it matter if they were male or female? Was it better if they were lean and muscular, or was a layer of padding more flavourful? How was I to choose?

Turns out, I didn’t need to think about it at all. On my walk back home, I was knocked off my feet by a man out for a jog. He’d been too busy flicking through the playlist on his phone to see me, and by the time we’d both looked up, it was too late. We collided, my forehead into his chin and mouth. My hands automatically went up, pressing against his chest and sending us both bouncing off each other, landing on our behinds. Apologising profusely, he offered me his hand and pulled me to my feet. The impact had left a red egg on my head and skinned my palms raw. He, however, came across a little worse for wear, sporting a newly chipped tooth, and fat, bleeding lip. As soon as I got a whiff of the blood on his breath, I knew, he was the one.

I pointed to my house across the street, inviting him in to clean up while he called the emergency dentist. It was the least I could do.

Ushering him into the bathroom, I had him perch on the edge of the bath while I rummaged through the cabinet for the first aid kit. I needed to knock him out somehow. There was no way I could do this without it… unless…

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Enter the Giveaway Here

This giveaway is offered through Xpresso Book Tours is International and not sponsored by Books, Vertigo and Tea.

  • $25 Amazon gift card
  • 2x $5 Amazon gift cards
  • Surprise gift card
  • Direct to Kindle e-copies of the already published authors’ back list of books:
    • Maggie Jane Schuler (hers and other’s books, winner’s choice)
    • J.M. Butler
    • Stacey Broadbent
    • Alana Delacroix
    • QT Ruby
    • Trinity Hanrahan

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I would like to thank Giselle and Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate in this blitz.

Happy Reading and Good Luck ❤

Danielle

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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

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past reviews
Dark Matter
By Blake Crouch
Narrated by  Jon Lindstrom
Audiobook ISBN13: 9781101924471
Length: 10+ hours
Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller

Blurb:
Jason Dessen is walking home through the chilly Chicago streets one night, looking forward to a quiet evening in front of the fireplace with his wife, Daniela, and their son, Charlie—when his reality shatters.

It starts with a man in a mask kidnapping him at gunpoint, for reasons Jason can’t begin to fathom—what would anyone want with an ordinary physics professor?—and grows even more terrifying from there, as Jason’s abductor injects him with some unknown drug and watches while he loses consciousness.

When Jason awakes, he’s in a lab, strapped to a gurney—and a man he’s never seen before is cheerily telling him “welcome back!”

Jason soon learns that in this world he’s woken up to, his house is not his house. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born.

And someone is hunting him.

Is the life Jason remembers just some crazed dream? And can he survive long enough to discover the answers he needs?


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Dark Matter boasts some impressive stats that include a Goodreads average of 4.12 with nearly 60,000 ratings. It  certainly holds the popular vote in recent science fiction thrillers. It has been on my TBR screaming at me for some time. I couldn’t seem to make that time though, so I turned to audio. And admittedly, I was pretty excited to begin what seemed to offer promises of sci-fi suspense.

Unfortunately, I found a lot of disappointment during my time with Dark Matter. A lot. I am going to keep this review on the light side for that very reason. I am not one to spend any significant time cutting into an authors hard work. I get that reading is a personal experience. I understand that just because I did not enjoy a book does not mean it is a bad book. Clearly this book has an audience. But I am not a part of that audience.

I fault part of my less than stellar experience partially on the fact that I was expecting something much more complex and dense than what I actually received. The plot, while not without interest, felt too familiar. I am no stranger to tales of multi-dimensional, alternate universe scenarios. And that is what we have here. Sure it’s was served with a dash of tech jargon a.k.a. fancy words, but I was unable to find anything grand beneath the surface. It was simply an okay story being delivered at a fast past with a the added element of love and family (which are not exactly original either).  The premise, while not to be labeled terrible, did not offer anything extremely new. For me Crouch’s sci-fi adventure read more as a steady blend of the many common components one can expect find frequently in tales of multiverse travels.

“We all live day to day completely oblivious to the fact that we’re a part of a much larger and stranger reality than we can possibly imagine.”

Sadly, the characters were the biggest disappointment here for me. I did not connect with our protagonist Jason in any beneficial way. If I am being honest, I came to find myself annoyed with him and his decision-making which was ultimately detrimental to my final impression of the story. The dialog was often dry and offered little in terms of stimulation or character development. There was no growth happening. World building was another area of lost potential. Each dimension and scenario felt bleak and almost bland. Maybe I have seen or read one too many multi-dimensional stories and the bar is set too high? But I really don’t feel that is the case.

With that all said, Dark Matter is not without a few notable qualities. The writing style felt fluid and the narration cohesive, which can be a challenge in science fiction. There was certainly significant possibilities buried within this story. The author has attempted to address elements of love and humanity within. He questions the what ifs.

“If you strip away all the trappings of personality and lifestyle, what are the core components that make me me?”

The execution and end product just fall short. I think this would be one that I might recommend for those who do not normally venture into sci-fi. It’s lack of complexity and easy readability, might make it ideal for anyone who is looking to ease into the genre. I have a feeling this one would translate better to film for myself. I was unable to find that magical connection that Dark Matter has seemed to so easily achieve with many others.

Purchase Links:

Amazon US Amazon UK  Book Depository

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