Thunderhead

thunderhead

Thunderhead (Arc of the Sythe Book 2)

By Neal Shusterman

Genre: Science Fiction/Post Apocalyptic

Publication Date: January 9, 2018

Bang Bang Review

I kinda don’t remember how Scythe ended so hopefully I don’t reveal any spoilers.  After Rowan kills Goddard and Rand, he escapes. A major takeaway is after Rowan pushes Citra and snaps her neck leaving her deadish, Citra hears a voice telling her she is meant for greatness (or some bullshit like that-I don’t remember).  That voice was the Thunderhead and you can probably surmise by the title that book two is about the Thunderhead. Thunderhead picks up almost a year after book one where Scythe Anastasia, Citra, is the new scythe and remains working under Scythe Claire.

Thunderhead is riddled with spoilers so this review is going to be very short.  If you want spoilers, click here.

If you recall from book one, Goddard was a new age scythe who believed there should be less rules involving quotas or less government if you will.  His death was meant to squash all that thus ending all the panic.  Anastasia is the new shiny scythe and she’s decided to give her victims one month to get their affairs in order before she returns to glean them and of course all the new age scythes and some of the old ages ones are up in arms.  Giving people time is unheard of and as a result, Anastasia is now in the spotlight of followers and haters.

Meanwhile, there’s a mysterious scythe named Scythe Lucifer who is killing scythes he deems as bad-revenge gleaning; race cleansing gleaning; etc. When Anastasia and Claire are almost murdered, gleaning by fire, they think Lucifer is after them and Scythe Constantine has ordered them to be protected.

Meanwhile again, we have a new character named Greyson Tolliver who is a loner and talks to the Thunderhead adnausium because his parents are shitty.  He’s selected to enter an academy but is soon singled out.  I won’t tell you why because of spoilers.

More stuff goes down but I can’t say and there’s another conclave but I can’t say and some serious shit goes down in the end but I can’t say.  What I can say is that this book is NEVER boring and that ending-DAMN!

It is DISGUSTINGLY clear that the 2016 election affected Shusterman because there are plenty of Trump metaphors.

The Thunderhead is an interesting character and reminded me of Google with a heaping cup of government splash of God.  The Thunderhead, like we’ve been taught in church, is always watching us-there are cameras everywhere.  Although it sees all of the good and bad, it can’t intervene and when bad things really happen it cries.  This was an interesting theme because the Thunderhead is basically a computer but it has feelings.  This series is extremely approachable to teens because it’s good vs evil and moments of violence but there are some pretty strong themes under the surface.  Acceptance, free will, judge and jury, and mortality-if a short life has been eliminated, does life have meaning?

This book was a perfect score until about 75% in.  It started to get a little too bananas.  It was entertaining and shocking but I felt it was a bit too ridiculous. There was one moment between the villains that bothered me and I’ll explain in the spoiler section. With that being said, I liked Anastasia and all the other characters; Shusterman’s world building is clear and concise; and the story was never predictable.  I enjoyed it immensly, I just wish the ending wasn’t so…

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb 1/2

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Gilded Cage

gilded-cage

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)

By Vic James

Genre: Science Fiction/Alternate Universe/Fantasy

Expected Publication: February 14, 2017

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb 3/4

Review

In this contemporary alternate universe London, all citizens who are not an Equal (wealthy, influential, magical) are required by law to participate in slavedays-serving ten years as a slave.

Abi Hadley was able to get her parents, her seventeen year old brother, and her ten year old  sister to complete their slavedays at the house of one of the most wealthiest families in London, the Jardines. Although two of the Jardine boys are powerful and mean, the third brother is kind and has caught the eye of Abi.  While servitude in the Jardine house is peaceful, there’s an uprising in one of the slave towns and the Jardine’s and the other wealthy families who make the laws will do anything to keep slavedays law.

Gilded Cage is an allegory to what our world could have looked like if slavery had not been abolished.  In this book, the lawmakers are Skilled and have immense magical powers and although our lawmakers do not posses magic; they still posses the power to oppress.  The powerful ones on the outside think slavedays are not that bad because the slaves have jobs and are fed so therefore life is good for them until someone sheds light on reality-hunger, police brutality, and sloven conditions.  Similar to the start of the Civil Rights Movement where the North witnessed the fire hoses on TV, people began to take action to end slavery and this where Gilded Cage begins.

In addition to the politics, there are feminist themes and themes of unconditional love. Wonderful character development considering there are a lot of characters and James has created an interesting world.  Gilded Cage was thrilling and exciting and I can’t wait to see what happens in book two.

My only issue was the family tree.  The Parva-Jardine family is quite extensive and confusing so a glossary or a simple family tree would be a helpful addition to the final book.