Come, dear readers, and sit ’round the table while I dish out a delicious recipe for my very own Mimi’s famous chicken noodle soup and a review for the freakin’ KNOCK OUT novel that is Scythe by Neal Shusterman! Scythe has been on my radar for a hot minute given not only the phenomenal reviews it has on Goodreads but that the second novel in the series Thunderhead is nominated for a GR award this year! Ya’ll know I love fantasy so this was an easy choice for me and I was feeling something *exciting* and boy did it deliver!
Christina Loeffler (Jones) – Born: September, 21 1989. Died: November, 6 2018. Cause of Death: Scythe by Neal Shusterman.
Ok, ok, all jokes aside I’m obviously not dead because I still have to finish the second installment of this series! However, this book SLAYED me with it’s sheer magnificence and brilliance. The world building was epic beyond all reason, the character development was top notch, the forward progression was steady without sacrificing any other areas of the story and the writing was spectacular.
My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.
Scythe takes place in a distant future where humans have cured the earth of nearly all strife. Disease, aging and even accidental (or purposeful) death has been completely eradicated. The one issue that is left in question is population control. Enter: Scythes. Scythes are trained in the art of death and are charged with the “gleaning” (killing) of citizens of the world in order to keep the population in check. Earth is now ruled by an AI named the Thunderhead (developed from the cloud) and the only thing the Thunderhead has no control, say or sway in – is the Scythedom.
This premise is what initially drew me into this read and what kept me the most intrigued throughout. The unique vision Shusterman puts forth with the Scythedom and the Scythe’s in general is absolutely riveting. Each Scythe has their own moral code, their own compass for how they choose which citizens to glean and how to glean them. The development into this world and the choices made by it’s characters is absolutely inspired.
Without the threat of suffering, we can’t experience true joy.
Our main players in this read are Citra and Rowan – both young, vibrant and ballsy teens who are chosen by Scythe Faraday to apprentice to be Scythes. Citra nor Rowan particularly want to become Scythe apprentices but they ultimately take the leap and begin a journey that is full of incredible twists and turns. If you’re thinking to yourself any of the following: A) obvi they fall in love B) I am not really into YA or Fantasy, I don’t think this is going to be up my alley or C) meh, I can already tell how this is going to end – let me tell you, you are dead ass wrong my dude – this is not a predictable novel.
While this is ticketed as young-adult, and it is without a doubt a fantasy novel, you’d absolutely be missing out if you didn’t pick it up. It defies all of the traditional YA / Fantasy tropes that so many novels fall into and was a complete and total slam dunk. The development into Citra and Rowans story lines were just as compelling as the world building. This isn’t an all out race to the finish with cheap thrills along the way – this was an incredibly in-depth look into a unique world that had its twists and turns expertly placed and that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time.
Innocence is doomed to die a senseless death at our own hands, a casualty of the mistakes we can never undo. So we lay to rest the wide-eyed wonder we once thrived upon, replacing it with the scars of which we never speak, too knotted for any amount of technology to repair.
If you can’t tell by now, I am completely enamored with this book. There is a subtlety here that surprised and impressed me. The lessons that can be taken away from this story are numerous, and their depth was incredible. I found myself pondering the questions and situations presented and asking myself if I would make the same choices given the same circumstances. I read this one with my husband and it’s a real treat to be able to discuss the ins and outs of the moral dilemmas presented and I highly suggest reading it with others because the discussion was almost as much fun as reading it!
Along with the development into the Scythedom, the world, and our main characters we also learn that there is upheaval going within the Scythe’s ranks. There is the old-guard and the new-guard and soon Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another as the fight to hold on to morality in the face of immortality collapses upon one another. The story lines, the characters, the world and the development into this entire book was so solid I’m not sure I have even one complaint to make. Scythe asks difficult questions and doesn’t spoon feed the reader the answers, but rather allows the reader to meditate on the moral dilemmas presented on their own.
Death makes the whole world kin.
In the end, I have been completely taken by this book. I immediately requested the next installment from the library and moved it ahead of some other scheduled reads because I just can’t step away from it. If you love good books, regardless of your typical genres – I can’t suggest picking this one up enough!
Long Story Short:
Suggested For: EVERYONE JUST FREAKIN’ READ IT.
Beep. Boop. Bop. Anywho – I’ll quit my mouth breathing over here over this book and move along to our recipe! So as I mentioned earlier, I’m especially excited by this weeks recipe because it is my very own Mimi’s famous chicken noodle soup! She passed away a few years ago and it was one of the most difficult times of my life. However, making good food passed down from loved ones seems to me the best homage we can pay to their memory. So I hope you all enjoy this recipe and it brings you warmth the way it does for me. At just 160 calories per serving and taking only 30 minutes to cook – you couldn’t ask for a better weeknight meal for your family! *Sappy side note: in many cultures the Cardinal symbolizes a lost loved one visiting you, there has been a Cardinal outside hanging on our bird feeder while I made this recipe!
Mimi’s Chicken Noodle Soup
- Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Pans: 1 – ENAMELED CAST IRON BECAUSE CAST IRON IS THE BEST!! *apologies, my enthusiasm for cast iron gets the better of me sometimes*
- Servings: 6
- 1 tablespoon butter or oil
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup green beans (if using fresh over canned, ensure they are cooked BEFORE adding to the soup)
- 8 cups chicken broth or stock
- 1 1/2 cups egg noodles
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1/2 pound cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
Easy edits to make, per preference:
- I use french green beans because that’s what my Mimi would use – however, you can use any kind you have or prefer. If you’re using fresh green beans, I suggest par-boiling them to ensure they are as soft as you want them when the soup is done.
- The key to this particular soup and my grandmothers “secret” is using egg noodles instead of any other type of noodle.
- You could easily add in any other veggies you have on hand or that you prefer (like celery), however, I wanted to stay true to my grandmothers recipe which is why I did not.
- You can use any type of chicken broth but I couldn’t suggest Better than Bouillon enough! It’s super flavorful and I use it for all of my stock / broth needs!
- I’m feeling lazy today, so I used rotisserie chicken. HOWEVER, you can use and boil chicken breasts yourself and then use the liquid to make a stock if you’re feeling extra fancy.
- In large pot, melt butter and saute onion. I personally let mine cook a bit longer because I like to caramelize / grill my onions. However, the minimum you want is to saute until translucent.
- Add garlic and cook for only 45 seconds – 1 minute (until fragrant). Garlic burns much faster than onion.
- Add chopped chicken, green beans, carrots, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and broth to pot. Bring to simmer and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve and call your grandmother if you can and tell her how great she is and that you love her!
Quote: Citra sat up, feeling only a little bit loopy now, and Scythe Curie put the tray with the large bowl of soup in her lap. “It’s a chicken soup recipe passed down for more generations than anyone remembers,” she told Citra.
Music Mood: Always by Panama
Have you read Scythe or any other books by Neal Shusterman? If so, what did you think? What are some recipes that have been passed down in your family? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!