Book Review


Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of a Scythe

  • Author: Neal Shusterman
  • Genre: Sci-Fi
  • Publication Date: November 8, 2022
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • Series: Arc of a Scythe #3.5

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: murder, blood, violence 

The New York Times bestselling Arc of the Scythe series continues with thrilling stories that span the timeline. Storylines continue. Origin stories are revealed. And new Scythes emerge!

There are still countless tales of the Scythedom to tell. Centuries passed between the Thunderhead cradling humanity and Scythe Goddard trying to turn it upside down. For years humans lived in a world without hunger, disease, or death with Scythes as the living instruments of population control.

Neal Shusterman—along with collaborators David Yoon, Jarrod Shusterman, Sofía Lapuente, Michael H. Payne, Michelle Knowlden, and Joelle Shusterman—returns to the world throughout the timeline of the Arc of a Scythe series. Discover secrets and histories of characters you’ve followed for three volumes and meet new heroes, new foes, and some figures in between.

Gleanings shows just how expansive, terrifying, and thrilling the world that began with the Printz Honor–winning Scythe truly is.

It’s been a while since I read the original series, but I was excited to dive back into it. I remember how eagerly I read all three of the books, and hoped that this collection of short stories would carry that same feeling. And while some of the stories did, they lacked a feeling of cohesiveness overall. 

There were some stories that I liked a lot, some of which featured characters that I remembered from the original series, and some that had all new characters. They touched on different aspects of the world, including people who had their lives touched by scythes in various ways, whether it was living in fear of being gleaned, being forced to work with or for scythes, or simply being related to a scythe. 

In other stories, we got to see things from the other side of the coin. These stories were told from the POV of the scythe themselves, and while some scythes worked for the lofty goals they were intended to further, others succumbed to greed, power, or control. Some were difficult for me to like, and there were other stories that I just struggled to connect with. These were generally the ones that took place in space, although there was one that definitely got me, and I was surprised to discover who’s origin story it was, since it was so long since I had read the first three books.

Overall, this was a difficult book for me to rate, since there wasn’t necessarily an underlying connecting factor to the stories, and they lacked an overarching theme running through them aside from there being a scythe in every story. However, I did enjoy reading this, and it was a quick and fun read, that made me think of the cost of living in a society where death, disease, crime, and other things that we face on a daily basis have been eliminated, and society is basically a utopia.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 7

4 replies »

  1. I’ve only read the first book in this series, but I notice that the series remains popular (and checked out at libraries), so I might have to read the rest of this series and determine whether or not it lives up to the standards of the first book.

    Liked by 1 person

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