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Thunderhead (Volume 2) (Arc of a Scythe) Hardcover – 9 January 2018
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The Thunderhead cannot interfere in the affairs of the Scythedom. All it can do is observe—it does not like what it sees.
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.
Will the Thunderhead intervene?
Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?
Frequently bought together
"The stakes rise rapidly, and the plot races at a breathless pace." -- Shelf Awareness, STARRED REVIEW
"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." -- Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW
"Shusterman wields his magic once again in this continuation... even better than the first book." -- School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
"Shusterman widens the already impressive scope of his neat-future utopia while also keeping a deft finger on the pulse of our own turbulent times. Exceptionally clear-eyed and brutal in its execution." -- Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
About the Author
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (9 January 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 512 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1442472456
- ISBN-13 : 978-1442472457
- Reading age : 12 years and up
- Item Weight : 581 g
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 3.81 x 20.96 cm
- Country of Origin : United Kingdom
- Best Sellers Rank: #237,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Top reviews from India
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By Nandhini(Books and Bliss) on 8 May 2019
Neal Shusterman has such a way to keep the readers, constantly, on the edge of their seats.
The world-building is amazing and so is the character development. Each and every character is so complex, one of them being Rand. The ending just hits you so hard and you barely have time to process it because so many things are happening at the same time.
Can't wait to read The Toll.
Disclosure, I wasn't a huge fan of the first book. Scythe was enjoyable enough but I had issues with it. You can check my review on that to know more. So, I wasn't sure if I should read this. I picked this up for one reason only. It's named Thunderhead which meant this was definitely going to focus more on the benevolent AI (the lack of which was a sore point for me in book one). Having said that, I wasn't really expecting to be blown away. Boy, was I wrong.
This was a gripping read from start to finish. We get a lot more background and world building here. While the first book was mainly about the two apprentices, Citra and Rowan training to be chosen as scythes and going up against corrupt Scythe Goddard, this second installment has a far more complex plot with much higher stakes. Like the author zoomed out and we finally get to see the true scale of the story. There are multiple threads in progress and the author weaves them together brilliantly. The Thunderhead plays a huge part. It's ruminations on it's origins, humanity and it's role in current events were by far the highlight of the book. The Thunderhead knows all, sees all and when it can't see, because of self imposed limitations, it knows to bend the rules just enough to find out. How else will it save humanity from the terrors of it's own making? As the story progresses we see its thinking evolve. We get new characters plucked from obscurity that take center stage and become central to the plot. Don't worry, we still have our main characters, Citra and Rowan fighting for the greater good albeit in different ways. The romance is still there but takes a backseat to everything that is going on. Scythe Faraday meanwhile has codes to decipher and quests to go on. There's political intrigue and devious plotting. We get to visit the illuminating city of Endura and the whole sequence of events there will give you an adrenaline rush like none other. There are twists and turns and a deep sense of foreshadowing, that 'something-big-is-about-to-go-down' feeling which will make you just devour the pages. And THAT soul crushing ending, you guys. I need a moment.
This installment has redeemed the series in my mind. I am completely invested in this world and the characters. Book three is definitely going on my TBR.
Rating: 5 stars
Follow me on Goodreads for more reviews. Link in bio.
Rowan has gone M.I.A. after the Winter Conclave.
He is now known as 'Scythe Lucifer' gleaning corrupt scythes using the power of fire.
Scythe Anastasia is now a junior scythe to Scythe Curie who finds a way to communicate with the Thunderhead.
Their separate paths ultimately lead to one goal.
Get rid of the corruption in the Scythedom.
But will they be able to do do or will they find themselves at the wrong end of a bad decision.
Thunderhead by Neal Schusterman was one of my top 5 reads of 2019.
The second book of Arc of the Scythe introduces new main characters that liven up the novel.
The pace of the book is fast and keeps you in your toes.
The integration of the Thunderhead's thought were done very well and it kept its relevance at a balance during the whole book.
The ending had me shaken up and I have got the next book but haven't read it yet but I'm dying to see what happens after that phenomenal cliffhanger.
I loved this book a lot because it's one of those YA books that has something different with the artificial intelligence aspect of it.
Fingers crossed I hope The Toll will be as good as the first two books.
Top reviews from other countries
I said in my review of the previous book that I didn't think that it was as good as Shusterman's other series Unwind, but after reading this, I've completely changed my mind. It was great to see the world and characters develop. I also mentioned that the villains didn't seem that threatening in the first book; after reading this I can honestly say they are - with one in particular who I won't name - being absolutely terrifying. This book was much more fast paced than the first, and like Unwind, I loved the world that Shusterman has created.
There was a small romance between the two main characters, Ronan and Citra, in the first book, which I didn't really mind but wasn't crazy about either. In this book however, there is no romance at all as the two of them are only together for about twenty pages max. Both of their stories were really interesting, and it was great to see them both, particularly Citra, develop as a character. I also really enjoyed that we get small pieces of dialogue from the Thunderhead's point of view at the end of each chapter. New character, Grayson Tolliver, was written superbly and I can't wait to see how his story pans out in the next book.
I usually despise cliffhanger endings, but I loved the ending of Thunderhead. As annoyed as I am about having to wait a year for the next book, I thought it was written superbly. I really have no clue where the story is going to go next but I can't wait to find out.
The 2nd edition of Scythe was great It felt like a little history book of the Scythe world and it was so deeply interesting. The politics were a tad boring and had me skimming it a bit but I understand it was necessary. But a part of me is so tired of the politics parts of books and I wish that people wouldn't dedicate so much of the plot on it because it leaves me so utterly bored. It made me take almost a month to finish this book because to be honest I wasn't as amused with it as the first one and found myself more bored but I've already become so attatched to the characters I demanded more. I'm also so in love with this world and unique concept I'm glad I pushed on because to be honest it is such a wonderful series and I love this world so much and could happily read it over and over again
My main issue, and the reason I have tasted it one less star than the first book is the villain. While most of the characters are fairly nuanced, the main villain here is definitely not, and borders on the pantomime. This a shame as the concepts this series is dealing with are intriguing and complex, and while the consequences of the villain's actions produce interesting and results that get the mind juices going, it's a shame that they have to do it while twiddling thier metaphorical moustache, let's hope they get more nuanced in the third book. Some how I don't see that happening.
In some ways, Thunderhead's world building felt a lot stronger than that of Scythe. The focus is not so fixed on the Scythe order this time. We learn a lot more about the lay of the land, the nature (and limitations) of Thunderhead, and even a brief glimpse of the events that brought about an end to the Age of Mortality. And this blew me away. The world of Thunderhead is vast and enthralling, completely original and eager to suck the reader in.
However the plot itself was, in this reader's opinion, a little weaker than that of the first. Thunderhead is very long for a young adult novel and its plot felt as though it lacked focus. There were a number of threads this time, following Citra, Rowan, Faraday and newcomers - Munira and Greyson. Yet, for the most part, these threads were unconnected. The only two that really collided were Citra and Rowan's, and this was not until the climax of the story. Really, it felt more like an extended build up to what looks to be a explosive final novel.
Despite Thunderhead's length, I never got bored. While the book certainly shared some of Scythe's flaws - such as the tendency towards exposition - and annoyingly glossed over certain early plot points like Tyger's fate, its tension kept me turning the page. It was clear that something terrible was building from the first attempt at Citra and Scythe Curie's life, but it wasn't until the final few chapters when the true horror of the villain's plan became clear. This terrible twist was completely unpredictable, and makes me very excited to find out what will happen next.
In terms of character, the book was once again very strong. Citra, in particular, has an excellent character arc in this book. I liked the way that the author flipped between calling her Citra and Anastasia, depending on what occurred on stage. The awkward thanksgiving dinner with her family and way that the young scythes flock to her also served to empathise how far she had come.
While Rowan received less development in this novel, his spell as Scythe Lucifer raised some interesting moral questions. While it was hard not to root for him his methods - murdering murderers - certainly left a lot of room for ethical debates. I also liked the way that his actions in Scythe came back to haunt him. So much of this book could have been avoided if he had not targeted his enemies so viciously in Scythe...
The newcomers - Munira and Greyson - were also set up well in this novel. While they unfortunately did not have a lot to do this time around, they were set up nicely as strong and well-rounded individuals. While I would have liked to have seen more of Munira in particular, I am incredibly curious to see what role they will play in the next instalment.
All in all, Thunderhead was a bit of a middle novel. While it was still a thoroughly enjoyable read, its plot and character arcs just felt a little weaker than those of Scythe. Still, I'm very eager to see this series through to the end and look forward to reading what will happen next.