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Thunderhead
Cover of Thunderhead
Thunderhead
"Intelligent and entertaining." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Even better than the first book." —School Library Journal (starred review)

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.
Humans learn from their mistakes. I cannot. I make no mistakes.

The Thunderhead is the perfect ruler of a perfect world, but it has no control over the scythedom. A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent.

As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the "new order." But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.

Old foes and new enemies converge, and as corruption within the Scythedom spreads, Rowan and Citra begin to lose hope. Will the Thunderhead intervene?

Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?
"Intelligent and entertaining." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Even better than the first book." —School Library Journal (starred review)

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the chilling sequel to the Printz Honor Book Scythe from New York Times bestseller Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.
Humans learn from their mistakes. I cannot. I make no mistakes.

The Thunderhead is the perfect ruler of a perfect world, but it has no control over the scythedom. A year has passed since Rowan had gone off grid. Since then, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. His story is told in whispers across the continent.

As Scythe Anastasia, Citra gleans with compassion and openly challenges the ideals of the "new order." But when her life is threatened and her methods questioned, it becomes clear that not everyone is open to the change.

Old foes and new enemies converge, and as corruption within the Scythedom spreads, Rowan and Citra begin to lose hope. Will the Thunderhead intervene?

Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    6.7
  • Lexile:
    870
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    4 - 5

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
About the Author-
  • Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including the Unwind dystology, the Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his newest series, Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. Neal is the father of four, all of whom are talented writers and artists themselves. Visit Neal at StoryMan.com and Facebook.com/NealShusterman.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 6, 2017
    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.

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2018

    POPGr 9 Up-A year has passed since the events of Scythe and Scythe Anastasia, once known as Citra Terranova, lives with her mentor, Scythe Marie Curie, and performs her gleanings in relative peace despite causing a rift in the Scythedom by giving her subjects a month to choose how they want to be gleaned, aka killed. Anastasia argues that it is more humane this way which earns her the favor of the "old world" scythes, those who feel they perform their job with dignity and humility rather than with joy and pride, like the "new world" scythes. Still, she cannot escape the tidbits of news surrounding her fellow apprentice Rowan Damisch, who now goes by the name Scythe Lucifer. He is hunting down corrupt scythes as a vigilante who deals death to those whom he feels besmirch the title. Ruling over this world is the Thunderhead, an omniscient artificial intelligence. However, it has no jurisdiction over the Scythedom and therefore has done nothing to stop Rowan. When an old enemy resurfaces, throwing the Scythedom into chaos, and Rowan unable to stem the flow of corruption on his own, the world begins to wonder if the Thunderhead will break its own laws and intervene. Shusterman wields his magic once again in this continuation. The exploration of how the Thunderhead operates and thinks, told through "diary entries," gives the story an extra dimension: how would an all-knowing, all-powerful AI think, and how would it process a flawed humanity? The climax and twist ending will leave fans of the series begging for the next installment. VERDICT A rare sequel that is even better than the first book.-Tyler Hixson, Brooklyn Public Library

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from December 15, 2017
    Death proves impermanent in this sequel to Scythe (2016).In a world run by the (almost) all-powerful and (almost) omniscient artificial intelligence Thunderhead, only the Honorable Scythes deal permanent death to near-immortal humans. Yet a growing contingent of scythes, feared and flattered by society and operating outside the Thunderhead's control, are proving rather dishonorable. No longer apprentices, 18-year-olds Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch realize "the scythedom is...high school with murder" as they watch their fellow scythes jockey for power and prestige. Citra now gleans as Scythe Anastasia, questioning the status quo but also opposing the homicidally enthusiastic "new-order" scythes and their dangerous demagogue. Self-appointed as Scythe Lucifer, Rowan hunts other scythes whom he deems corrupt. Meanwhile, the existentially troubled Thunderhead questions its role as both creation and caretaker of humanity, sworn not to take life but fearing that its utopia will otherwise collapse into dystopia. Nationality and race are minimally mentioned--ethnic biases and genocide are considered very gauche--yet a population that defies death, aging, sickness, poverty, and war risks becoming bleakly homogenous, alleviated only by "unsavories" and scythes. This sequel digs deeper into Shusterman's complex world and complicated characters, offering political maneuvering, fatal conspiracies, and impending catastrophe via a slowly unfurling plot and startling bursts of action.Fear the reaper(s)...but relish this intelligent and entertaining blend of dark humor and high death tolls. (Science fiction. 14-adult)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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