Thunderhead

Neal Shusterman. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (512p) ISBN 978-1-4424-7245-7
Shusterman cranks up the stakes in this blistering sequel to 2016’s Scythe, set on a “post-mortal” future Earth in which easily revived humans are only “deadish” when killed, not permanently dead, except for the few “gleaned” by scythes, who kill to keep population growth under control. The narrative focuses primarily on Citra, who is gaining influence as Scythe Anastasia, and Rowan, who has adopted the mantle of Scythe Lucifer as he furtively gleans amoral scythes. New presences include Greyson Tolliver, an unassuming young man who becomes aware of threats on Scythe Anastasia’s life, and the voice of the Thunderhead, the artificial intelligence that manages virtually all aspects of life on Earth. As the political machinations between scythe factions collide, the Thunderhead’s dispatches reflect powerfully on its relationship with humanity (“All I can do is watch unblinkingly as my beloved humankind slowly weaves the rope it will use to hang itself”). Interweaving heady questions of morality, responsibility, loyalty, and power, Shusterman builds to a devastatingly intense conclusion that sends the characters and larger world into terrifying new territory. It’s difficult to fathom what awaits in the next book. Ages 12–up. Agent: Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/06/2017
Release date: 01/09/2018
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-1-5344-1786-1
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