Friday, February 9, 2018

Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Title: Thunderhead
Series: Arc of a Scythe #2
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 9, 2018 
Format: Hardcover 

Page Count: 504


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? (taken from

“If we were judged by the things we most regret,
no human being would be worthy to sweep the floor. 

Usually, I hate waiting to write my reviews. I typically crank them out within a day after finishing the novel so that my thoughts are still fresh. However, with Thunderhead, I needed some time to reflect. The ending was more than a little mind-boggling, and I didn't want that to couple with my love for the first book and cause me to give this sequel a higher rating than it deserved.

So, let's start with the big question: did it live up to the hype? Scythe was one of the best novels I read in 2017, and I'll admit that my expectations for book two were probably unfairly high. After really thinking about my overall enjoyment of the book, I've decided that Thunderhead is a worthwhile installment in the series, but not one I'd add to my all-time favorites list. Here's why:

The characters are still fabulous. Rowan, Citra, Sycthe Curie, and the rest of the cast comes back to play, and I gobbled up the chance to get to know them better. (Especially Rowan *fans self*) I also appreciated getting a bigger look behind the curtain that is the Thunderhead, as well as the more intricate details of the Scythe realm.

Another bonus: I can't say too much, but I'll let you know that you finally get a taste of the romance the first book promised, and I was thoroughly delighted by the results.

The thing I ADORED about Sycthe was its striking, penetrative gaze into the human soul and morality. I feel that Thunderhead failed to encapsulate that concept as adequately, which makes me sad. Additionally, I wasn't a fan of the villain that the story presents. Spoiler in white text: I mean come on, we couldn't come up with a new baddie? This Scythe Goddard guy has kinda run his course, even if he is crazy evil.

Also, a new character was introduced, and several chapters are told from his POV, which made me grumble in annoyance. I picked up this book to read about my babies Citra and Rowan, not hear about this new guy's problems.

Now, don't get me wrong: Shusterman's still a genius and this series is still awesome. It's just that I wanted a little more bang from this second book, but don't let my meager disappoint keep you from sticking with these books. The world of the Scythes is an amazing one, and Shusterman's writing is always impressive.

P.S. The ending will leave you reeling, so be prepared. 

I'll applaud it, just not as much as I would the first book.