Let's just say right off the bat - if you're squeamish, DO NOT read this book! Full of macabre and gory details, Scythe is not for the faint of heart. Having said that, the story is wonderfully original, and well worth the read. In the near future (2045), death - as in the end of one's life - has become a thing of the past. Humanity is living in a post-mortality world. Have an accident? Not to worry, your remains will be taken to a revival centre, and in a few days you'll be as good as new. Gotten too old? Never fear, all you have to do is 'turn a corner' and become young again. Pick your age! Anything from age 21 onward is possible - it's up to you to decide.
Of course, there is the problem of population control. This is answered in the form of Scythes, who have an annual gleaning quota to fulfill. The quota, and its specifications for candidates, is based on mortality-age statistics, and all Scythes must adhere to strict regulations to ensure a lack of bias. Ultimately, candidate selection is up to them, and once you've been gleaned, there's no coming back - there is, however, a year's immunity from gleaning for your remaining family members, so its not all bad...
Being a Scythe is not a job for everyone, and like any job, it requires training. This story follows the selection, induction, and training of two apprentice Scythes, whose lives have been irrevocably changed after a chance encounter.
A real page-turner, don't be surprised if you manage to get through this in a weekend (or a day, if you have plenty of down time on your hands). It's full of mind-challenging ethical dilemmas, sure to get your thoughts churning. Rated a pretty healthy 4.33 stars on Goodreads, why not give it a go?
Popular writer John Green's latest novel, Turtles All the Way Down, was surprisingly less tear-inducing than some of his previous works. It had plenty of heart-felt moments, sadness, and mourning, but the main focus of the story was the main character Aza's battle with anxiety.
The narrative gives a fascinating insight into the inner monologue of an anxiety sufferer, engendering empathy for the character and perhaps a stronger understanding of what those with mental health issues struggle with on a daily basis.
There is romance of a sort, so the story is not wholly consumed by Aza's involuntary self-torture, however there are other aspects of Aza's life, such as her connection with her best friend, the relationship she has with her mother, and so on, that help readers relate to Aza as a character.
The book developed a lot of interest in New Zealand not just because it was written by John Green, but because the story features a tuatara - New Zealand's largest endemic reptile. John Green appealed to New Zealanders for as many 5c coins as he could get, as he wanted to gift them to readers on his book tour as a 'token of kindness' - his own battle with mental illness being a contributing factor to the development of this book. Westlake Girls High School Librarian Megan Davidson rallied the troops, and collected a staggering 8,000 coins, which she delivered to Mr Green. He went on to publicly thank Megan, and the kiwis that donated the coins, saying "I will try to use them well; to give them out over the course of my life to those who might need a physical reminder of how kind people can be." You can watch the video he posted here: