I was pretty excited to read this one because so many of my friends and mutuals have loved it. Admittedly, I am late to the party (what else is new) but I really loved the premise of this YA utopia turned dystopian. Imagine a world where death and poverty and hunger and disease have all been eradicated. No one wants for anything and, when you get “too old” you can just turn a corner and reset yourself to a younger time. But when death is a thing of the past, and people’s existences become a bit meaningless, population control becomes a big necessity. Hence the creation of the Order of the Scythe, or a modern-day reaper. What they bring is the only true, permanent death, but not everything is as it should be in this order, so leave it up to a couple of teenagers to uncover that, but not for a while. And, once the world building was set up, the book became far too predictable and frustrating for me, which made me wonder, did I read the same book as everyone else?
Honestly the stuff the synopsis brings up didn’t even get established until after 2 hours into the audiobook. Maybe that’s not that long, but it FELT long. The book read like a cool world building idea with just a sprinkling of plot. And the plot? Was painfully predictable with its competition and frustrating with the corrupt Scythe being so over the top bad and mentally torturing his apprentice, compared that to what our FMC undergoes and it was very lopsided with Citra having done nothing to get what she supposedly "earns". I found Rowan to be truly sympathetic and I wish the author had done better by him because Citra was a it too annoying and heavy handed with the undeserved “chosen one” trope without Rowan being set up as her counterweight. Which didn’t happen, and made Citra just a boring character and the “romance” between the two leads feel forced and unbelievable. Honestly, this book is just a story of Citra and Rowan’s apprenticeships that drags on far, far too long and lacked any real chemistry between these characters. That’s on top of a very black and white world where the Scythe council needed to be overly stupid in order to add in some kind of excitement to an otherwise lackluster story.
I know this is all incredibly harsh, but that’s honestly because the ending became so predictable in such a frustrating way that I honestly groaned out loud. Perhaps my expectations were just too high, but when a cool concept is ruined by a boring, predictable story with too many ex machina moments to fix issues… well, then you get reviews like this. While I really liked the concept of the Thunderhead and a utopian turned dystopian, and the audiobook narrator did a good job with the different characters, this book is a disappointing 2 stars for me, and a I won’t be continuing the series.
Click the book images to see them on Amazon!