Book Review

Gleanings by Neal Shusterman | Book Review

Gleanings by Neal Shusterman
Release Date: 8th November 2022
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Publisher, NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★

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.

I should preface this review by declaring two things. First, I’m a huge fan of the Scythe trilogy. I’ve been reading Shusterman’s books since the Unwind days, and Scythe is perhaps one of my all time favourite series for the commentary and theology alone. Second, I can’t stand short story collections. I often find them difficult to read, poorly paced, and I struggle to jump in and out of each one.

So why did I request and read this book, you might ask? Because it’s a Scythe book! I love the world of the Scythe and after the explosive ending to The Toll I wanted more. I was really hoping we’d get to see more of where humans ended up after the conclusion to the original trilogy, and that’s what mostly kept me going.

What I didn’t realise, however, is this collection is written by several different authors. I feel like people (and the publisher) haven’t really been talking about this? As a self declared Massive Fan of the original trilogy and of Shusterman’s writing, I found it very jarring to read a story set in such a familiar world but written in such an unfamiliar style. I could tell these stories weren’t written by Shusterman. They had a different style and vibe.

I did enjoy some of the stories, though. Mostly the ones that Shusterman wrote himself. We got to revisit some of my favourite characters. Scythe Marie Curie got a couple of stories in here, and we also got to see Goddard’s origin story. It was wonderful! My favourite story was actually Cirri, because that’s what I’m now most interested in after finishing the series, but I also really enjoyed the three stories mentioned above.

There was a really strange story about a Scythe and his dog, which had be chuckling. Readers may feel as though that one could be left out but I honestly disagree.

I don’t think this is an anthology that everyone absolutely must read. It’s actually just one for massive Scythe fans, like myself, as it spoils all the events in the trilogy. I would recommend it if you can’t get enough of the Scythe world and the Thunderhead.

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