Review: Thunderhead (Arc of the Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The World:

I hate reading sequels.
Ew, the dreaded second book syndrome strikes again.
Can it ever live up to the magic of the first book?

Neal Shusterman upon writing Thunderhead:

Honestly, and I mean this, Thunderhead is one of the most delightful sequels to ever sequel. There is absolutely no dreaded second book syndrome here.

I feel like I am the last person in the world to read this, but just in case I’m not, Thunderhead is the second book in Neal Shusterman’s Arc of the Scythe series.

This YA series is set in a future where natural death has been eradicated. While natural death may be a thing of the past, population control is still necessary. Thus, we have the Scythes, whose job it is to glean people, aka. end their lives.

These books start by following some Scythe apprentices and then we sort of escalate from there. I was concerned this would lose some of the initial intrigue. Sometimes that happens with series, all of the magic lies in the world-building in the first book and then it will sort of dissipate.

Luckily, Shusterman was far from done building out this world. We’re introduced to new things in this book, including characters that really added to the overall story.

I also loved the trajectory for our two mains from the first book, Rowan and Citra. Rowan’s arc, in particular, really evolves in this one, heading in a different direction than what I would have originally anticipated for him.

There’s also a vein of this story that starts investigating the intentions of the founding Scythes. That avenue helped to build out the lore of the world. It brought in history and really got my brain cranking about how vast this scope actually is. It’s truly impressive.

Shusterman has a plan for everything with this one: past, present and future. There’s also so much commentary here, it’s overflowing with religious symbology and if you are searching for those types of connections, it certainly offers up a lot of food for thought.

Additionally, for a longer book, the pace of this never lets up. It builds and builds until one of the most shocking conclusions that I have ever read. It’s perfection.

My jaw was on the floor. I never in a million years could have predicted the end. It was one of those finales that made me so glad that I waited until all the books were released before I started it. I never could have waited.

I did start The Toll immediately upon finishing this and am so glad. If you haven’t made time for this series yet, you absolutely should. I recommend it to all Readers. It’s so unique and engaging. It’s definitely worth a go!

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