Tag Archives: Morality

Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2)
Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster
Published January 9, 2018

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About Thunderhead

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

My Review

Okay, let me review this backwards and say that the ending of this book hit me like a kick to the guts. (Does that need a spoiler warning? I don’t know. I feel like we can expect the ending of a second book in a trilogy to have a big issue because it sets up the final book and makes us desperate to read it?)

Anyway, now, days later, I’m kind of still reeling. I need gentle books for a while. Haha.

I think one of my favorite things about this series so far is the way the story pushes Scythe Anastasia (Citra) and Rowan apart and yet their feelings pull them together. They each have incredible strength and big things to contribute. I love that. What I’m not sure about yet is whether together, they’re more than the sum of their parts. I suspect that THE TOLL will address that pretty well.

As THUNDERHEAD progressed, I felt like I could see all the threads of the story pulling toward something big. At first the points-of-view all seem very separate– Citra, Rowan, and Grayson all seem to be individual characters with their own goals and motivations, intersecting at times but moving in totally different directions.

There are always hints at a bigger plot happening. And a greater evil emerging. I’m excited to see how all the threads weave together in the third book. Eventually. Once I get my insides sorted out and feel ready to face the end of the series. 🙂

As with Shusterman’s other books, this one has some heavy/dark themes. I think it’s balanced by incredible characters with deep moral values. Good guys committed to remarkable good in a world of others who are indifferent at best. True evil at worst.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

I don’t remember race details. It may be that most central characters are white? I’m not sure. I’ll try to revisit the book and update this.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl. References to sex.

Spiritual Content
A cult called Tonists oppose the Thunderhead and Scythes.

Violent Content
Obviously descriptions of death where Scythes “glean” people. Some try to do this in humane ways while others revel in the violence and power of it. In one section, a character visits clubs in which patrons are permitted to bully or attack workers as part of extreme role playing.

One scythe decapitates and burns his victims after they’ve been killed. Some descriptions of and descriptions leading up to violent deaths.

Drug Content

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Review: Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant

Eve and Adam (Eve & Adam #1)
Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant
Feiwel and Friends
Published October 2, 2012

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After a devastating accident, Evening is sent to an advanced medical facility called Spiker Biopharmaceuticals to recover. With her mother as the director, no expense is spared to get Eve back on her feet. To keep her busy and distracted, Eve’s mother offers to pay her to test simple simulation software. Eve agrees and begins to create a boy. The most perfect boy.

As Eve’s body rockets through recovery, Eve begins to suspect that there are things her mother isn’t telling her. Then Solo, the mysterious boy who seems to live at the medical facility, offers her a dangerous gift: the truth. What Solo tells Eve could shut down the whole company and land several prominent figures, her mother included, in prison and Eve must decide whether to warn her mother, beg Solo to maintain silence, or turn in the information herself. If anyone discovers Solo’s plan, he may not live long enough for Eve to decide what to do.

A fast-paced, clever exploration of genetics and morality, Eve and Adam balances light humor with dark issues. As Eve chooses traits for her perfect man, she wrestles with popular conventions about what’s most important in a potential mate. Physical beauty? Intelligence? Bravery? How much of what Eve programs in genetically would govern who her perfect man turned out to be? Solo’s careful cataloging of the evils perpetrated by the medical facility leaves readers in no doubt as to the importance of moral laws governing medical research. Beyond the science, the authors offer a thrilling journey filled with high drama and narrow escapes as well as tenderness and empathy.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Moderate word choice, mild frequency.

Sexual Content
Eve’s friend Ashlynn lives something of a promiscuous life. Eve doesn’t share many details, but Ashlynn makes several suggestive comments, especially about certain body parts of the boy Eve is creating using an advanced computer program.

Spiritual Content

Ashlynn relates a story to Eve in which she and her bad-boy boyfriend Maddox are attacked by gang members. Three men beat Solo savagely. A man is stabbed in the skull with a large metal sculpture.

Drug Content
Eve’s mother runs a high-tech medical facility which performs research and experimentation on disease prevention and eradication as well as genetic manipulation. Ashlynn’s boyfriend sells marijuana and lands himself in a mess of trouble both with the law and with a local gang.