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The Antelope

The Antelope

Scythe: Two teens fighting against order, corruption



Antelope Staff

Scythe by Neal Shusterman is a dystopian utopia book based on the near future of humanity on Earth. Through an evolution of the Cloud, the world is now governed and managed by a sympathetic AI known as the Thunderhead. The Thunderhead handles all aspects of the world and uses humans to help keep the gears turning.  

This new society, while still having some economic gaps out of necessity, keeps everyone equal. Because of the Thunderhead taking over, technology and medicine were able to advance to the point where people have nanotechnology within them that heals them of any illness; even death. 

That is where the Scythedom comes in. The only organization the Thunderhead has no power in, it is run only by humans because it controls the only thing the Thunderhead cannot understand, death.  

The members of the Scythedom, or scythes as they are commonly known, operate all over the world gleaming people within their designated regions to manage the world population. While penalties for over and under gleaming are given to scythes, the way they choose to operate, and gleam is for them to decide.  

In this book, Citra and Rowan are two high school students living within the region of Merica. They, under equally weird circumstances, meet a Scythe by the name of Faraday. The two of them are recruited under scythe Faraday as his apprentice to train and study to become Scythes one day. Battling between the Old Guard and New Age ideals of the scythes, their corruption within the Scythedom and managing the mysterious death of their master, Citra and Rowan must work together to find where they fit in this world of corruption and order. 

While reading this book I honestly was not expecting this book to leave me on the cliff the way that it did. The book itself was an easy read. It is labeled as a young adult-level novel and the writing is fairly simple and only gets a light embellished when a new scene is being described.  

The Thunderhead was my biggest interest, however. Basically, it was an AI that evolved from today’s Cloud server. This basically gave it easy access to the entire internet, also known as all of human history.  

Even more interesting, instead of developing human hatred, it was sympathetic to us as a species and began its self-proclaimed purpose to help us make the world a better place for everyone. 

In the book, it claims that the Thunderhead solved basically all of the world’s problems except for overpopulation which it allowed humans to handle.  

In the book, there are a few areas where the world and plot do not quite match up with the way the Thunderhead is said to have recreated society, such as a mansion in a world of almost perfect equity.  

To me, the story is driving home the idea that humans corrupt anything they create or control. I think in reality the Thunderhead would have achieved advanced space travel for humans and allowed them to colonize new planets. With their immortal and resilient bodies, it would be easy.

I did enjoy reading the book and finding out more about how this near-future works. Seeing Citra and Rowan grow as people with their fair master and their lives be changed forever because of the adventure of the Scythedom is something I would recommend anyone to explore when they have an hour or two a night to invest.  

The world the book takes place in was a little rough, however. Then again, if the author was able to refine the world of his story, maybe we would all be under the care and structure of the Thunderhead already. 

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