Thunderhead Co-Read With Beth (BiblioBeth)
Welcome back to part two of our Arc Of The Scythes buddy read which features book two, Thunderhead. Thunderhead is probably one of the most intense follow-up novels I have ever seen in fiction and me and Beth were blown away. The ending alone gives this book full marks in my opinion! Neil Shusterman is a master when it comes to moving his characters around his bold narratives. Each development stopping readers in their tracks and setting them on edge. I appreciated how evolved this series has become and Shusterman’s courage to explore completely new characters while still maintain an almost complete cast from his previous efforts. I didn’t know what to expect from Thunderhead but somehow I did not expect this. What a ride. If you like stories with bold themes, unforgettable characters and enough twists and turns to make you dizzy, then the Arc Of The Scythes series is definitely for you.
03.5.2018 / Walker Books / Young Adult / Paperback / 528pp / 9781406379532
Target Audience: Readers who love bold themes, memorable characters and huge storylines that will have you up out of your chair and shouting to yourself. Described as YA but suitable for everyone!
The dark and thrilling sequel to Scythe, the New York Times sci-fi bestseller.
The stakes are high in this chilling sci-fi thriller, in which professional scythes control who dies. Everything else is out of human control, managed by the Thunderhead. It’s a perfect system – until it isn’t. It’s been a year since Rowan went off-grid. Hunted by the Scythedom, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. Citra, meanwhile, is forging her path as Scythe Anastasia, gleaning with compassion. However, conflict within the Scythedom is growing by the day, and when Citra’s life is threatened, it becomes clear that there is a truly terrifying plot afoot. The Thunderhead observes everything, and it does not like what it sees. Will it intervene? Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?
About Neil Shusterman
Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including The Unwind Dystology, The Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his newest series Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. The father of four children, Neal lives in California. Visit him at Storyman.com and Facebook.com/NealShusterman.
Co~Read With Beth
Beth: Don’t you worry, just whenever you’re ready. I have in my sticky paws a copy of Thunderhead!! When do you want to start and how do you want to divide it up? 🤔
Stuart: We did 100 pages, halfway, 3/4 and the end last time didn’t we? plus little comments here and there 😀 same again?
Beth: Perfect! See you soon! 👍🏻
Beth: Hey Stuart, shall we read until the end of Chapter 9? p100 falls right in the middle of a chapter. 😀
Stuart: Sounds good. I still need to finish my current read so J might be a bit behind you but I will read furiously to catch up.
Beth: Don’t you worry. Take your time, I’ve got plenty to read whilst I wait for you. It’s started off very strong!
Stuart: ‘A scythe in black’
Beth: Yesssssss. Did you see the front cover too? One Scythe in turquoise, one Scythe in black…🤔🤗
Stuart: This cover art is just as superb as the first. I am onyl about 20 pages in due to a busy work schedule but I should be up to speed by tonight!
Stuart: Woah! You were right about a strong start. I am glad Lucifer is in it from the beginning, I would have missed him too much if he was a ghost. We are getting some decent insights into The Thunderhead now as well (should have guessed due to the title). That was a bit of an epic moment to stop reading 🤣. Are you as happy with the narrative this time around as you were with Scythe?
Beth: I am, it feels familiar and comfortable to read, like being with an old friend if that doesn’t sound too odd? I am loving how both Lucifer and Anastasia go about their tasks. That scene when Lucifer is confronting Brahms at the beginning – holy hell that was tense! And did you feel as creeped out as I did about the way that Brahms gleans? I used to have a doll that played that lullaby so know it well and the thought of it is plain eerie! 😱
Stuart: I sing Brahms Lullaby to my children! Ruined that forever 😂. I think Thunderhead is actually a lot cooler than Scythe. Looking into more interesting Scythes. What is Scythe Rand going to do with Rowan’s friend? Who is after Citra and Curie? Why is the Thunderhead protecting Lucifer? I need answers! You’re absolutely right about fitting right back in with the story. It is good to be back!
Beth: Haha oh no!! 😳🤣 You’re right, it’s just thrown up so many questions and I’m so intrigued to find out what’s going to happen. We’re getting little snippets from the Thunderhead- are you as surprised as I am about it’s attitude/feelings? I wasn’t expecting THAT! 🤔
Stuart: Very unexpected. It has kind of evolved and moved on from just pure calculations. It has consideration and semi opinions. I loved the image of The Thunderhead nurturing the neglected young man. I am enjoying the insights into its mentality and how it invests time into progressing humanity whole reminding where we came from.
Beth: It’s quite canny as well isn’t it? If it’s limited in its own capabilities it’s quite astute at using other people to get the result it wants! Shall we read on? Where do you want to read to this time?
Stuart: Chapter 26 is central..ish p268. Is that good for you?
Beth: Perfect. See you there. 👌🏻
Stuart: Ooooooh Brahms is going to pay!!!!
Stuart: I’m ready when you are! Lots to talk about 😁
Beth: Ok I’m there! WELL, where do I start? Brahms? The Emerald Scythe? How frustrating I’m finding Tyger? I thought it was bad enough when he was obsessed with splatting in the first book but now? 🙄
Stuart: He does seem to be Rowan’s weakness though. His oldest friend who stuck with him always. I want to talk about Greyson! What a change of tone for the series. When they were in the prison I laughed to myself and wondered if I was still reading the same book 😅. I do like his addition to the narrative though as it keeps it fresh, I think anyway. I wondering what he is going to do now he is alone? Rand is going to be interesting. Rowan should have seen that coming from a mile off. I am enjoying Scythe Constantine’s unpredictability. So much has happened! Shusterman knows how to keep driving a story forward!
Beth: For sure. Yes the whole Greyson “unsavoury” thing is really interesting! This world just keeps on developing- now we have bars where people can be rude and beat each other up and the staff are employed to take that? To keep the unsavoury contingent happy? Crazy! It’s like they can live out their bad side in a controlled environment? The Thunderhead is also really surprising me in that it has a very deep conscience and can mourn just like everyone else. 🤔
Stuart: Yes indeed. I wonder if it will actually cross a line in the future to save someone or something. I am fascinated by the way it operates and experiments with guidelines and trusting people with their secrecy. It has taken all the necessary steps to allow humanity to flourish and itself to stay fair. I can see it may be becoming corrupted in the future? Manipulated. The rain bit made me sad 🤧. I would say my only problem so far is that Rowan is falling into a trap he should have seen coming due to the fact he has been living in hiding, observing and only striking when needed. Foolish mistakes don’t make sense to me, do you agree or am I wrong?
Beth: Totally agree. I mean, he’s been trained by one of the best, Scythe Faraday and he KNEW he was being hunted so you would have thought he wouldn’t have walked himself straight into that situation, it was naive and didn’t make sense with the character he had become. I guess you could maybe say he was allowing his emotion about his father to cloud his judgement?
Stuart: But he wasn’t that emotional about his father… I guess he is more hurt by the betrayal of a scoundrel Scythe. What do you think Purity has planned? Are you enjoying Thunderhead as much as Scythe?
Beth: Ooh I think she’s been taken in by a rogue Scythe! I have my suspicions who but don’t want to voice it in case I spoil things. I am enjoying it very much, it does feel slightly different though, I can’t explain why? What do you think?
Stuart: It is different but not at all in a bad way. I am impressed by Shusterman’s momentum and how he manages to make even the slightest development feel pivotal to the overall plot. Everything is changing continuously and I really like it that way. The halfway point means it can go any which way, I suggest we crack on to find out more 😀 Meet back at p409?
Stuart: P312! What the hell!
Beth: Aaaaaargh!! I wasn’t expecting THAT!! 😱
Beth: p345 name of one of the Scythes. It’s killing me!! 🤣🤣🤣
Beth: Ready whenever you are! 🤗👍🏻
Stuart: That was pretty funny! I have never known in all my time as a reader an author who can drive a narrative forward with such precision and fascination than Neil Shusterman. The mythology, chaos, calm and considered moves and plenty of raw emotion. What about that twist! Everything is up in the air!
Beth: I know I was so surprised 😳 how on earth are we going to talk about it without giving away major spoilers?! Did you see it coming? Also, I had a feeling that the Tonist cult was going to play a larger part in the narrative, I don’t think we are done with them yet!
Stuart: That seen with Greyson was quite sad. I should have seen it coming but I would have never imagined it would go from that to that in such a short window of time. Crazy! I do think he is going to win though as it would be rock bottom for everyone. I thought Scythe was twisty and riddled with turns but Thunderhead has way surpassed that. I don’t know about this excursion by Faraday. It is the only part of this novel I feel doesn’t fit.
Beth: I feel exactly the same. I’m not sure why they’re going, I think Shusterman is being deliberately vague but he suddenly talks about what all the other scythes in the world are doing and we just haven’t heard anything about that so I’m wondering how it’s all going to fit together? 🤔 I am intrigued though by Scythe Curie’s past gleanings which keep getting alluded to. Have we heard anything about that in the first book or have I missed something? 😅
Stuart: I know what you mean. I must have missed that too. The global view is intriguing but we both know Shusterman always has another great reveal up his sleeve. I have no idea what happens next. With anyone. Especially Greyson, he has been one hell of a journey! Do you have any spoiler free predictions?
Beth: Haha so tricky to find something to say that isn’t a spoiler! 😂🤔 I think that the High Blade will be appointed and it won’t be the best decision 😉 then things will kick off royally across the world and the “incredible journey,” will prove even more important. I am worried for Rowan though especially with the percentage odds The Thunderhead gave him! 😳
Stuart: I like those odds 😀 This post is going to be infuriating because no one has a clue what we are chatting about 😂 only those who have read it will get it. I am looking forward to Endura, let’s continue and meet back at the finish.
Beth: Okay see you then! 😁
Stuart: What an ending! Neil Shusterman is pure genius! I can’t believe it 😂😭🤯. Good stuff.
Beth: OH. MY. GOD. Just finished. I don’t know what to say! Just when I think I can predict what’s going to happen, he blows it out of the water once more. I thought things might go down in the worst way possible but I still never anticipated that! Haven’t read an ending that good in I don’t know how long?! 🤗😰😭😱😳
Stuart: Totally blew me out of the water (excuse the pun). I don’t know what to say either… Bloody hell 😂. He made me believe right until the last second that there might be salvation and then boom, gone. I can’t imagine what book three is going to look like…
Beth: 😂 I know and Citra and Rowan and Scythe Curie and…the sea life?! It was just brutal and so incredibly tense. I seriously don’t have any nails left, they’re bitten down to the end!!
Stuart: It was a real edge of your seat, hands in the air, talking out loud to nobody pure mayhem finale. I need the next book now!
Beth: I knowwwwwww. When’s it out again?! 😅
Stuart: I don’t know 😭. I am going to have a serious book hangover in the morning. So what did you think overall?
Beth: Me too. So overall, really accomplished, world building and character development is on top form and the best part about it for me? You never know where he’s taking you next! Love the unpredictability of it all!!
Stuart: Shusterman must be a chess grand-master or master tactician because he knows how to move characters around with precision. The annoying thing is he dangles all the clues in front of your face but you are too busy worrying about other people or events to notice!
Beth: Yes it’s always really subtle and you’re always distracted by whatever else is happening! The second book in a series is sometimes a bit of a let down for me but not in this case. He’s created something so incredible that waiting for the final instalment is going to be unbearable! 😬
The Toll in 2019. I should not have read this article, makes the wait even worse 😂
Beth: Aaaargh I want it NOW!
Thank you for coming by to check out yet another ATIB/BiblioBeth Buddy Read! We are doing well as a reading duo and there will be plenty more co-reads in the future so keep coming back for more. Thunderhead has to be one the biggest sequels I have ever seen in a book series. The ending blew both our minds several times over and I cannot wait to get into book three (The Toll) next year. My anticipation meter is off the charts and we will definitely be joining up on that as soon as physically possible. Thank again for your continued support and I hope you enjoyed the post.