Monday, September 17, 2018

Book Review: Thunderhead

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
Book # 2 of Scythe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think it's important to know that I loved Scythe. Loved it so much that I told everyone I know to read it and it is one of my favourite books of the last few years. So going into Thunderhead I had big expectations. The problems with expectations is that they are often not realistic or even sensible.

There is quite a bit of political posturing and plot in Thunderhead. Much like in Scythe the internal politics of the Scythdom continue to spiral out of control. There was a point just past halfway where I got bored. It was a lull; and normally I'd have just powered through that lull. Instead, because I'm so behind in reading other books I actually read a couple books instead of powering through Thunderhead. That was probably a mistake in terms of continuity. However, once I got back into it a week or two later I found that only a couple pages ahead of where I had stopped was a massive plot twist in which the story just cascades down from. So if you hit a small glitch in your excitement with Thunderhead just keep going because it doesn't last long.

The Thunderhead
Almost all of the snippets or journal entries at the beginning of the chapters are the internal thought of the Thunderhead. As an AI that 'runs' the whole world I expected the Thunderhead to be very practical and have no emotional responses at all. Except that it does. Neal Shusterman has taken the idea of an AI made from human construct and really challenged how it would be. The idea here is that it would be flawed because it was created by humans. And that it can be 'tricked' by the humans who set-up the server connections... This was a hard thing for me to really accept until near the end of the book when events really allowed me to see (not just be told) what that might look like. Shusterman is brilliant at making readers eat up his logic by showing them a scenario in which his logic works.

I don't want say a lot here for fear of spoiling something. But let's just say all the characters we've come to know, love and hate in Scythe are back in Thunderhead (in some way shape or form). Much of the story is told from Scythe Anastasia's (Citra's) point of view.

Yep, you guessed it. Just like Scythe, Thunderhead ends with a major cliffhanger. This kills me as I am now dying to read the next book (not out yet at time of this writing) and makes it hard to get into new books for me sometimes. I get why it's done this way. Marketing hype is a hard thing to generate if people aren't dying to know what happens next. But sometimes I wish for the 'sort of ending' that we always got with Harry Potter or Narnia. Just sayin'.

Definitely this deserves a spot on my print bookshelf and this series continues to be one of the best in the last couple years, in my opinion. I love how sophisticated it is; while still being a teen novel. I wish there had been books like this when I was a teen! I think this shows how much we have changed as humans in just the last 20 years. We are able to be a little more critical of society; and we've certainly learned a lot (good and bad) about social media and mob mentality. Thunderhead does a good job of taking the society we know now and making his Scythe/Thunderhead future relatable.

Please note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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1 comment:

Leonore Winterer said...

I'm glad to hear this series continues to be great. I have Scythe lined up to read, only other things are getting in the way, and with all those cliffhangers I'm debating waiting it confirmed whether the next one will conclude the series (as trilogies are such a popular format)?