Neal Shusterman is the author of dozens of books for young readers, including The Dark Side of Nowhere, The Shadow Club, The Star Shards Chronicles, The Skinjacker Trilogy, and the Unwind Dystology. His latest series, set in a far-future world of eternal life, where teenagers train to become sanctioned killers to control the population, began with Scythe in 2016 . Here’s Kirkus Reviews on the opening novel.
On post-mortal Earth, humans live long (if not particularly passionate) lives without fear of disease, aging, or accidents. Operating independently of the governing AI (called the Thunderhead since it evolved from the cloud), scythes rely on 10 commandments, quotas, and their own moral codes to glean the population. After challenging Hon. Scythe Faraday, 16-year-olds Rowan Damisch and Citra Terranova reluctantly become his apprentices. Subjected to killcraft training, exposed to numerous executions, and discouraged from becoming allies or lovers, the two find themselves engaged in a fatal competition but equally determined to fight corruption and cruelty… Elegant and elegiac, brooding but imbued with gallows humor, Shusterman’s dark tale thrusts realistic, likable teens into a surreal situation and raises deep philosophic questions. A thoughtful and thrilling story of life, death, and meaning.
The second volume in the series, Thunderhead, arrived last month. It was published by Simon & Schuster on January 9, 2018. It is 504 pages, priced at $18.99 in hardcover and $10.99 for the digital edition. The cover is by Kevin Tong. Read an excerpt at Entertainment Weekly.