It is baffling how often a final book in a series can either close the narrative perfectly or go against everything that the series stood for. So how does the Arc of a Scythe series end? We got a lot to talk about with this book.
The world has fallen into disarray since Scythe Goddard has taken over the Scythedom without the artificial intelligence Thunderhead to interfere or guide the rest of the world. Citra and Rowan need to be found and resurrected to ensure the scythedom doesn’t fall under Goddard’s rule, Greyson Tolliver needs to guide the world as the sole confidant in the Thunderhead, and Scythe Faraday with his newfound assistant Munira need to find the land of Nod as the one failsafe to stop Goddard. Because in the middle of masses of people being killed, opposing forces grow more violent, the likes never seen since the Thunderhead was created.
This book worked very well at showcasing every point of view and closing their character arcs. In the previous novel I was uncertain of what the many perspectives in the novel were for, but this novel those and the new POVs all made perfect sense and offered perfect closure. From Rowan’s redemption arc to the Thunderhead’s understanding of the world, all pieced together near perfectly. I could understand where everyone was coming from, even the villains! God, the villain’s perspectives worked so well. They weren’t sympathetic unless they naturally needed to be, you didn’t need to know their entire backstory, and Shusterman knows how to paint them as their own heroes. Brilliant!
I also found it fascinating how the ending brought humanity full circle, almost to a point where we are at today. I won’t spoil it, but it does follow the trope in Dystopia of fixing the future becoming a little bit more similar to our society today. And it does it so well. The fate of humanity in its ‘current state’ has a very well established background and the way to fix it is equally fascinating. I will say the ending doesn’t wind up being completely happy, but it still finishes very well to see the new state of this version of humanity.
The almost non linear fashion worked really well with this novel too. The singular narratives and plot points were chronological within their own timelines, but it was a very good decision to have each develop when they needed to – to pause and rewind time to when it most makes sense in terms of getting the story told properly. Shusterman did this expertly for a novel that takes place over close to three years. Much better than other novels who tell things non linearly.
I can only hope the movie series will do it justice.
The Toll gets a score of 5/5. It’s the circle of life guys, just without the lions.
Series rating time!
Scythe – 5/5, this book instantly made me fall in the series.
Thunderhead – 4.5/5, I was lovingly scared for humanity
The Toll – 5/5, everything came full circle.
I will always recommend this series as a gateway to dystopian fiction. It accomplishes so much more than the genre stereotypes set out for – an exploration of the human state through a society deprived of something core to us in our current world. That core was mortality. Such a huge core explored expertly through portrayals of morality, beliefs, purpose and of course death. So many characters show all these aspects beautifully, and yet I hope this not what our future will actually be. All things said, this is the highest rated series on my blog to date.
The Arc of a Scythe series gets a score of 5/5. It’s staying proudly on on my bookshelf.
Yours in writing