Review: Thunderhead by Neil Schusterman

Title: Thunderhead
Author: Neil Schusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #2
Release Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Sci-fi
Pages: 504

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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?

Wow. That ending was insane and I immediately had to start The Toll. I’m not sure how people managed to wait a year for the final book after that emotional cliffhanger. This series just keeps getting better and better and honestly I’m a tad nervous for what’s coming next.

Thunderhead starts where Scythe left off. 

➽ Citra – initiated as Scythe Anastasia and is having a hard time separating Citra Terranova from for Scythe persona. She’s a rising star in the Scythe community, known for her passion and dedication to the old ways. Junior scythes look up to her and the older scythes respect her. Her friendship with Scythe Curie has grown from mentor/mentee to a genuine camaraderie. Someone is out to glean her though and it’s a race against the clock to figure out who before they succeed

➽ Rowan – has taken the issues within the Scythedom into his own hands and is gleaning scythes he considers bias or corrupt. Known as Scythe Lucifer, he has brought genuine terror to the new order. Terror brings desperate actions though and someone is out to get him, the question is who?

Thunderhead brings us not only the thoughts of the Thunderhead itself, but a new player to the game. 

➽ Greyson – A guy who was raised by the Thunderhead even though his parents never relinquished him. His connection with the Thunderhead is a deep one, different than that others share with it. It is because of this personal connection that he is chosen to breach the scythe-state separation on a mission from the Thunderhead itself. This task leads him down a dangerous path though, one he might be unable to come back from if the wrong people find out

I really enjoyed being privy to the thoughts of the Thunderhead and seeing how it it viewed situations happening beyond its control. It felt like a real person, with thoughts and feelings that were there even if a tad remote. The Thunderhead cares for the population yes, but I felt like it had a special connection not only with Greyson but also Citra and Rowen. It can’t be involved with scythe affairs, but sneakily gets around it with Greyson which I found interesting. The ending also threw me though. It acted out of character and it’ll be interesting to see why and how that will effect everything. 

Rowen has taken justice into his own hands and while Citra doesn’t approve she knows he’s just trying to bring about change like she is. The new and old orders are so evenly split it felt like this book. Citra was trying to bring change within the Scythedom with Marie, but she hit a lot of walls. She was so smart and cunning though that I could see her being a formidable leader later. While not apart of the Scythedom, he is still considered a scythe issue. I just wasn’t sure how much change could be brought by more killing though. You can’t kill the bad guys to scare the rest into being good. Baddies gonna stay bad. 

Like with Scythe there were so many twists and turns! Halfway through the book we get a surprise, like I thought I knew who was after Citra and Marie. I was very sure actually and then BAM! Wrong. Then that ending was wild. I don’t want to give too much away, but there was a meeting on Endura with the Grand Council which was a nail biter. The outcome I expected occurred but I was actually still surprised. Then we get another twist that was just so shocking I was in disbelief. I think I still probably am.

Shusterman has outdone himself with Thunderhead. It’s an exceptional read that again doesn’t stray too far into sci-fi territory. If you were unsure about continuing this series after Scythe, do it you won’t regret it. I’m excited to continue on to The Toll, but I’m also nervous because how could it possibly be better or twisty-er? Or even worse what comes next for the world?

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