Book Review: Thunderhead by Neal Schusterman

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How did I not already write a review for this fantastic sequel to Scythe?! Well, here we go:

I would argue that Thunderhead was an even better book than the first book in this series, and that’s a rare thing to find in the world of trilogies. Fast paced, high-stakes, multiple plot threads and character arcs, and an ending that left me reeling and wanting more!

A hard copy of Thunderhead is selling on Amazon for $15.00 right now.  Not bad.  If you’re not into buying from Amazon, it’s available through ten other sellers.  Check out the Goodreads page for a listing.

I digress.

Thunderhead picks up several months after the point where Scythe ends. There are many elements of this book that Schusterman did fantastically well. I’ll start with the thing I found most impressive: his handling of a difficult POV. The chapters tend to jump from character to character, so it’s easy to think that the book is written in limited serial third person, but it isn’t. It’s actually written using an omniscient POV, with the POV emphasis placed on a different character in each chapter. He did a brilliant job with this.

The characters really started to come into their own in this book. That’s something else Schusterman does well. Not that the characterizations were lacking in Scythe. It’s just that in this book, both Citra (now more Scythe Anastasia) and Rowan Damisch are developed in a more multifaceted manner.  Also, the new character, Grayson, was a welcome addition to the cast.  His story exposed readers to a whole other aspect of the world previously unexplored. Speaking of previously unexplored, several supporting characters from Scythe get a lot of time on the page.

I must admit, I’m struggling to get into the main villain of this series.

SPOILER TO FOLLOW!! 

Stop reading here if you don’t want any of the plot elements revealed before you go and read this excellent book.

 

Goddard is brought back as the main villain, despite having been decapitated at the end of the last book. This felt like a cheap trick to me. Like something you might expect of a cheesy daytime soap opera. I have to wonder if that was Schusterman’s plan from the outset.  Or, did he think of it later and architect an explanation to let it work.  It feels like the latter, because he failed to drop any hints at the end of Scythe that maybe Goddard and some of his crew weren’t quite as deceased as everyone thought. Had he dropped that hint, I would have willingly gone along with this storyline. As it stands, it felt too forced.

The Thunderhead becomes an active character in this book (hence the title). All I have to say about this benevolent overseer is this: ripe for a psychotic break. We shall see.

I can’t remember the last time an ending to a book left me so breathless and excited. I highly recommend Thunderhead, and I can’t wait for the next book in the series. There is a major plot development that has yet to be explored. What shall Rowan and Scythe Faraday find when they visit the Land of Nod?

View all my reviews over on Goodreads.

Comments

  1. cluculzwriter

    Writing in Omni is difficult for even seasoned writers. Good to hear he pulled it off. I’m taking a look just for that reason. Thanks for the great review, Kathy. I appreciate hearing about good books.

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