Happy (sad) Monday readers! I hope everyone had the most fabulous holiday break, and if you’re not one to celebrate Thanksgiving – I hope you had a fabulous weekend! I am both happy and sad to be back from our little vacation. I love being home and my own bed is like sleeping on a cloud but I love being in the mountains, and having to work for a living is a major bummer when all I want to do is read! Alas though, I must be an adult and *do my job* even when there are things I’d rather be doing. However! I am freakin’ AMPED to be bringing ya’ll a review for Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. I’m going to try to not make this nonsensical but my enthusiasm for this series is making my brain a little jumbled in my excitement.
So if you’ll recall for my review of Scythe (book one in this series) Shusterman did a bang up job of literally slaying me with his sheer genius. Well folks, he’s done it again – only this time the magnificence of this story literally revived me heart and soul only to kill me once again. You may be asking yourselves: Christina, you’re saying this book literally killed you – can that actually be a good thing? YES, YES IT FREAKIN’ CAN. Thunderhead did not suffer any form of “sophomore slump” here at all and it’s continuation into Citra and Rowan’s story is just as enchanting, if not more so.
Death must exist for life to have meaning.
Ok, ok, onto the review. So I’ll start by saying if you haven’t read the first installment of this series – I literally can’t suggest it enough. It’s skyrocketed itself onto my favorites shelf and is now one of my go-to recommendations for ALL readers. No matter your genre of choice I can promise you, you wont be disappointed for having read this. Thunderhead picks up right where we left off at the end of Scythe with Rowan on the run, having gone rouge and calling himself “Scythe Lucifer” and Citra- now Scythe Anastasia beginning her first year as a Junior Scythe under Scythe Curie.
The same things I loved about book one are carried over, only with a few new twists. In book one we’re continually given journal entries of various Scythes (Faraday, Curie, Goddard etc) and it gives a unique look into the minds and souls of these famous Scythes. I loved the journal entries as it added a depth to the characters that I think would’ve otherwise been lost. However, in this installment – the journal entries are from none other than the Thunderhead. I found myself rapt by its thought processes and as the story progressed, I realized that while the majority of the story is told from other POVs – our MC in this installment is the Thunderhead. By doing this Shusterman breathed new life into this story and added a fresh and exciting take and outlook on a world I already found incredibly intriguing.
There is a fine line between freedom and permission. The former is necessary. The latter is dangerous—perhaps the most dangerous thing the species that created me has ever faced… While freedom gives rise to growth and enlightenment, permission allows evil to flourish in a light of day that would otherwise destroy it… And the unfortunate truth is, people devour it. Society gorges itself, and rots. Permission is the bloated corpse of freedom.
The conflicts that were presented in Scythe carry over seamlessly into this second installment. The rift within the Scythedom between the new-order and the old-guard are deepening into a fissure of epic proportions. Things are bubbling over and the political and societal implications of the deepening rift within the Scythedom created even more questions one must ask themselves when reading this book. The world building that I adored in the first installment carried over and Shusterman added yet another layer with more political intrigue.
While this isn’t an all-out, race-to-the-finish read, I absolutely couldn’t put it down or step away. The finesse that Shusterman shows in his delicate, intricate and beautiful world building and story development is some of the best I’ve ever seen. New characters, new questions and new problems are seamlessly brought into this installment and nothing else suffers for it, nothing is left in the wings or forgotten for the sake of something new and exciting.
Ours is a perfect world–but perfection does not linger in one place. It is a firefly, by its very nature elusive and unpredictable.
I feel connected to these characters, I care about what happens to them, what happens to their world. To be able to create empathy with even one character, to me, shows the mark of a phenomenal writer – but to be able to create such connection to them all? I don’t even know how to put that into words to fully express the beauty of this series. I am truly blown away, the only complaint I can levy against Shusterman is that he’s not writing fast enough because I.NEED.THE.NEXT.BOOK. That freaking ENDING ya’ll. I’m normally really not a fan of cliffhangers – I find them to generally be cheap shots to ensure people buy the next book. However, the ending to Thunderhead left me utterly breathless. It was a perfect ending, to a perfect book and created the perfect need within me to find out how this story will grow and develop in the next installment. My heart breaks for these characters, for the Thunderhead itself. I will be thinking about this story for a long time to come and I will auto-purchase the third installment of this the moment I am able to.
If you want a great description of this book – go to google, type in “synonyms for magnificent” and all those words will do a great job of describing for you Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman. If you want to take away one thing from my review for this book: pick up the dang thing and READ IT.
Suggested for: LITERALLY EVERYONE!
Music Mood: Might as Well by The Lil Smokies
Have you read Scythe or Thunderhead – what did you think? What are some books that created unlikely characters you adored? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!