Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)

By Neal Shusterman

93,756 ratings - 4.45* vote

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, no Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In

... more

Book details

Hardcover, 504 pages
January 9th 2018 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Original Title
Thunderhead
ISBN
1442472456 (ISBN13: 9781442472457)
Edition Language
English

Community Reviews

Emma Giordano

Edit 4/7 - After raving about this book for a video review (which you can find here: https://youtu.be/diBtmttjbSs), I decided to raise my rating to 5 stars. Despite that I didn't enjoy Thunderhead EXACTLY as much as Scythe, I feel the book itself is nearly flawless and one of the greatest YA books on the market. This story is too well-written for me to be comfortable giving it any less of a rating.

A very satisfying sequel!! I didn’t enjoy Thunderhead AS MUCH as Scythe (It is a TOUGH book to follow up) but it was still a great novel!!

I definitely enjoyed seeing how the world of the Scythedom expanded after the conclusion of Scythe. Conflicts deepen, the Scythe divides even further, and there are even more questions introduced on how the Scythedom should be conducted! Also, there is a lot of political intrigue added in the sequel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. As my favorite part of book one was the world, I’m very pleased with how it has continued to develop through the sequel.

Thunderhead introduces a new main character named Grayson into the story who we follow through some previously uncharted territory. While I grew to like Grayson by the end, I wasn’t overjoyed by his introduction to the story. I did not care for him nearly as much as Citra and Rowan and I felt his presence overtook much of the story. I understand the need for his perspective in providing insight on other parts of the story ARC, but it wasn’t my favorite element.

Finally, the ending was PHENOMENAL. I cannot begin to speculate on how book three will move forward with all of the events that happened within the last few chapters of the book. A seriously well done ending with some fantastic cliffhangers. The ending absolutely made up for some of my lesser-favorite parts of the book.

Overall, I enjoyed Thunderhead. There is definitely a bit of “second-book syndrome” going on, but overall a good sequel. I would totally recommend continuing with this series if you enjoyed Scythe!!

I received a free copy of this book from Simon & Schuster as a part of a paid YouTube campaign. I had no obligation to review this book as a part of that campaign and all opinions are my own.

Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin



"Scythe Johannes Brahms, you are accused of abusing your position and multiple crimes against humanity."
"How dare you!" Brahms gasped. "Who are you to accuse me?" He struggled, trying to rally strength, but it was no use. The painkillers that were in his system were filling his responses. His muscles were weak and useless to him now.
"I think you know who I am," the young man said. "Let me hear you say it."
"I will not!" Brahms said, determined not to give him the satisfaction. But the boy in black jammed a knee so powerfully into Brahm's chest that he thought his heart would stop. More pain nanites. More opiates. Brahm's head was swimming. He had no choice but to comply.
"Lucifer," he gasped. "Scythe Lucifer."


Rowan is doing his own thing and I just love him! Love him! There wasn't enough of him in the book though.

Scythe Anatasia (Citra) has her own way of gleaning people, which has the scythedom in a uproar. Actually, Rowan and Citra have them in an uproar.

We have the Thunderhead giving us tidbits here and there and he's using someone to try to sort things out.

I enjoyed Greyson in the book. He had all kinds of stuff going on with him and that ending with him! What!?

Actually, that ending, PERIOD! There was some sadness there =( I can't even begin to imagine what will happen in the next book! I hope everything will be okay!!! ??

Overall, I enjoyed it, but I just wish there were a bit more to it. It was a little slow in some areas for me.

Happy Reading!

Mel ????

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

AMAZON: REVIEW

Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

That cliffhanger though...Solid read! I liked it more than the first book. If you like political intrigues, you will love this!

Irina

EVERYONE GO AND READ THIS BOOK

I can't believe what I just read
THAT CLIFFHANGER

This is quickly becoming my favorite series EVER

I actually thought I will not enjoy this book as much as the first one because the first half was a little boring but the second half was the best thing that I have ever read and that's why this piece of writing deserves a million starts.
I can't remember the last time I was so invested in a story in this way.
I have so many emotions over this book and these characters that I don't know how to express them.
I'm not ready to read the next one because who knows what expects me there.

Matthew

5+ Stars – EXCELLENT!

Update 12/5/2018 - Should have won the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy Category! In my heart, it is the winner!

First of all – that cover . . . beautiful! It is one of my favorite covers of the past few years. An improvement on the cover of the first book – and that cover was pretty awesome, too. This cover makes you want to read this book even if you have no idea what the book is about. In this case you can judge a book by its cover!



A fantastic continuation of the story from book one; I would have to say it is even better than the first. The author has done a great job of carrying the story over, keeping it fresh, keeping it creative, and not losing any momentum. With that in mind, I can easily say this is one of the best sequels I have ever read. (i.e. Empire Strikes Back is to Star Wars: A New Hope as Thunderhead is to Scythe).

I am trying to come up with other positive adjectives so I can describe this story. The suspense and action are perfect. So many questions answered and so many new ones to leave you hanging. Great pacing with no filler. The chapter breaks with thoughts from the Thunderhead are very HAL from 2001; insightful, thought provoking, and totally creepy. The climax and the ending – just WOW! Outstanding stuff all around.

If you read the first book, definitely read this one. If you haven’t read any of this series yet, why are you wasting your time reading my reviews and clicking around on Goodreads!?!? Get outta here! Go check this out ASAP!

Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥

”The Thunderhead had managed to achieve something unique in the history of humanity: a bureaucracy that actually worked.”

Well, ain’t that the bitter truth? *lol* What a swipe at politics and society! Neal Shusterman sure knows how to criticize humankind and I’ve yet to read a book in which he makes no use of his –admittedly very accurate - verbal barbs. XD I love all the thoughts that go into his books and it’s really more than just a little amazing to see them on page. Still, no matter how nice all the theories, teachings and doctrine that went into “Thunderhead” this book was one hell of a ride!

And this even though it started pretty slow and felt like not an awful lot of things were happening. I mean yes, there happened A LOT but at first glance it was a really slow start. If you ask me I think this was mostly due to the introduction of the Thunderhead and how it operates and thinks. In “Thunderhead” we finally got to see the Thunderhead’s personal journal entries and for an entity that’s supposed to be omniscient and impartial it sure as hell seems to have its favourites and preferences, which was great! *lol* It kind of reminded me of AIDAN in Illuminae and as you all know I loved that AI to bits and pieces! <3

Another thing that was intriguing to follow were not only the internal conflicts in the scythedom, but also the different ways to live under the watchful eye of the Thunderhead. This time around we got a better glimpse at the Tonist cult and an insider view of the people that don’t fit into the norm of the Thunderhead’s perfect world: The “Unsavories”! I guess their name already says it all and the irony of the Thunderhead giving people a chance to be criminals and outcasts of society wasn’t lost on me. I mean it even has a plan for people that don’t want to play by its rules. You either gotta love it for its thoroughness or hate it for always being in control. ;-P

Taking all this into consideration we had all the necessary ingredients for a powder-keg that only waited for someone to strike a match. And boy, did this tinderbox catch fire!! Anyway, enough of me trying to tempt you to read this book! Let’s head to my spoilery spoiler section before we reach the point of no return. *lol*

The characters:

Welcome to my characters section, which in all honesty should probably be renamed into rant section because I love to rant about books and therefore spoil like crazy! XD So if you haven’t read the book yet, you better don’t linger and run out of this madhouse as fast as you can! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;-)

Scythe Anastasia aka Citra:

”In all instances, though, their method of death had been their own choice. For Citra that was crucial, for the thing she despised most about the scythedom’s policies was the indignity of having your death chosen for you.”

First of all I’ve to say that I loved Citra’s gleaning method! I think if I’d have to be a Scythe I would have chosen a method like that too. It’s compassionate and fair and it gives people who think they are invincible and immortal a chance to get used to the idea of actually dying. I loved that she gave them one month to get their affairs in order and even went as far as to let them choose her method of gleaning. That way their fear of dying wasn’t as overwhelming as it could have been and they even got a chance to say goodbye! So yes, Citra is one hell of a Scythe and I’m still rooting for her! I had such high hopes for Scythe Anastasia to defy the new order and to become a leader of the old guard and then... well then the ending happened and I was left speechless and reeling! Like WTH!!?? ARGH!! I’m still not over that ending!!! Guess I’ll need to go back to the woods and scream a little before I can continue to write this review. *lol*

”This is what the scythedom was incapable of understanding. They were so focused on the act of killing, they couldn’t comprehend what went into the act of dying.”

Scythe Lucifer aka Rowan:

”If there was one thing that Scythe Faraday had taught him, it was to live by the convictions of his heart, no matter what the consequences. And if there was one thing Scythe Goddard had taught him, it was to have no heart, taking life without regrets. The two philosophies forever warred in Rowan’s mind, rending him in two. But silently.”

Oh gods! How I suffered with Rowan! I loved that he became Scythe Lucifer and went after corrupted scythes and even though I’m aware that it was a bad thing to do I can’t help but feel the same way Rowan does. By killing those scythes he did something good and managed to prevent a lot of damage yet it still wasn’t good enough. In the end his emotions got the better of him and he was caught by Scythe Rand and Goddard, which killed me! Seriously! To know he was in their hands gave me all sorts of anxiety and I dreaded to read those chapters! You’d think Goddard hurt and messed up Rowan enough, but no! He had to hurt him even more! AKDFASDFJAFJ! My poor boy! He deserves so much better than he ever got and I swear if things don’t end well for him in the last book I’m going to be devastated! It’s enough! Neal Shusterman, you hear me?! It’s enough! Stop breaking my boy! *sobs* T_T

”As they die, I think of their victims. The men, women, and children that they have gleaned – because the scythes that I end don’t glean with remorse, or the sense of responsibility that a scythe is supposed to have. Instead, I’m the one who feels compassion for their victims. And that frees me from feeling any remorse for the twisted scythes that I end.”

”Over the past two years, Rowan had been physically beaten, psychologically flayed, and emotionally battered. But he had survived it. What hadn’t killed him had made him stronger – more resolved to do what was necessary to fix what was broken. But now it was he who was broken. And there weren’t enough nanites in the world to repair the damage.”

Scythe Curie:

”Guard your conscience, Anastasia, and never let it wilt. It is a scythe’s most valuable possession.”

The Grande Dame of Death was once again amazing in this one and I really, really, really wanted her to become High Blade! She would have deserved it; she should have had that job! Scythe Curie should have been the one who went out of this alive but URGH!!! Scythe Goddard did and this in such a conniving and horrible way I still can’t wrap my mind around it! WTH??!! I can’t believe Curie is dead and that he got away with it. I just can’t. *shakes head* And I think what gets me the most about this all, is that Scythe Curie and Anastasia tried to play it fair. They stuck to the rules and wanted to weather it out, and then... GAH! You’d think two weeks would be enough to get over this book, but nope. I’m still not over it! XD RIP Scythe Curie you were one of the best and you will be remembered, no matter what Scythe Goddard does! >_<

”As she laid the woman’s head gently down, the other scythes followed her example, and began gleaning with such heart, compassion, and love that it did bring enormous comfort, and at the end, people were crowding around them, asking to be gleaned next.”

Scythe Goddard:

Then he rolled closer, and whispered, “I am your eagle, Rowan. And I will feed on your misery day after day for eternity. Or until your suffering bores me.”

In German we’d use the word “Weltenbrand” to describe what went down on those last 100 pages but since this word doesn’t exist in English I’ll have to translate it freely and hope that it will suffice: a world on fire or the world going up in flames. So yeah, that’s basically what happened at the end of “Thunderhead”! And Scythe Goddard was responsible for all of it which is the reason I’ll go all “Queen of Hearts” now and demand: OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!! Ironically this already happened at the ending of the first book and despite everything this bastard of a man found a way back to life! I hate him; I hate him so much my heart is burning with the fierce desire to kick his ass into another universe! HOW COULD HE GET AWAY WITH ALL THIS!?? Why is he freaking High Blade now!? Why could no one stop this from happening?! How is it possible no one saw what he did?!!! HOW DARE HE TO DESTROY ENDURA??!! AHHH!! I think I’ll go cry with the Thunderhead now... my emotions are still all over the place! I’ll never forgive Scythe Rand for bringing Goddard back. NEVER! T_T

Goddard paused to look at him in abject disgust that for a moment decayed into regret. “You could have been among the greatest of scythes,” Goddard told him. “You could have been by my side, redefining our presence in this world.” He shook his head. “Few things are sadder than squandered potential.”

Greyson Tolliver:

”His hair, his clothes, and those baby horns at his temples might have fooled someone else, but his slim build and body language gave him away. And his eyes. An odd cross between deer in headlights and a wolverine about to attack. The kid lived in a constant state of fight or flight.”

Greyson was such a sweet character! I really liked him and I loved the way he was introduced. The Thunderhead seems to care about him deeply and my heart broke for him when it used him to save Scythe Anastasia and Scythe Curie. It was obvious the way the Thunderhead chose for him was more than just a little difficult, but he still decided to go down that path because he trusted it to do the right thing! Greyson was such a loyal soul, it hurt so much to see his struggle! I really felt for him when he was lost and stranded at the Tonist cult. His entire life, his career, just everything! He gave it up in order to help the Thunderhead and all he got back was pain. T_T I wonder what he’s up to now. I mean after everything that happened he’s probably the only person the Thunderhead is speaking to, so I’m really curious what will happen next! XD

The Thunderhead:

”I see their fine deeds, as well as their foul deeds, which seem to be on the rise. And each time I witness a cruel act by a corrupt scythe, I seed the clouds somewhere in the world, and bring a lamentation of rain. Because rain is the closest thing I have to tears.”

You can say what you want but I think the Thunderhead has feelings and isn’t as indifferent as it claims to be. I mean hell! It switched off the lights for 1.3 seconds just to let Greyson know that it actually cares about him!!! And he didn’t even see it!! ARGH!! Despite its principle not to get involved it actually got involved fairly good! *lol* It’s a pity it didn’t have cameras on Endura or it would have been able to thwart Scythe Goddards attempts at a new world order right from the start. *sighs* And believe me when I say that I screamed alongside the Thunderhead when Endura sunk and Rowan and Anastasia died in the sea. I still can’t believe that ending!!! What is the Thunderhead going to do now? Can it work against Goddard without going against its own principles?! I really dunno. >_<

”Please...,” he begs.
And so I oblige. I reach out into the electrical grid, and douse the lights. Not just in the chapel, but throughout all of Wichita. The lights of the city blink for 1.3 seconds. All for the benefit of Greyson Tolliver. To prove beyond a shadow of doubt how much I care, and how heartbroken I would be for all he has suffered, if I had a heart capable of such malfunction.”


The relationships & ships:

Citra and Rowan:

”Justice? The scythedom doesn’t know what justice is anymore.”
“Some of us do, Rowan. I have to believe that eventually wisdom and reason will prevail.”
Rowan reached out and touched her cheek. She allowed it. “I want to believe that, too, Citra. I want to believe that the scythedom can return to what it was meant to be... But sometimes it takes a necessary darkness to get there.”


I still love those two and I wish they wouldn’t have had to deal with so many things! They should have been a happy couple but I guess Neal Shusterman wanted them to be star-crossed lovers and boy, star-crossed lovers they were! XD Their struggle with their roles and the expectations that came along with them felt real and always broke my heart but I think that ending broke it even more! I can’t believe this book ended like that! I just can’t!!! How could it end like that?!! I mean ADKFASKDFJASKDF! The only consolation is that they died in each other’s arms and were together when everything went to hell! Well, and the fact that they’ve a chance to be found and to be revived. The only question is WHEN??! ARGH! I can’t stand the thought of Goddard doing as he pleases and getting things in a complete mess. This ending and the injustice of it all... it’s killing me, I swear! T_T

”When he took her in his arms, it suddenly didn’t seem to matter what was going on outside of their tiny, sealed universe. In these terminal minutes of their current lives, it was just the two of them finally, finally giving in to their ultimate act of completion. The binary at last becoming the one.”

Scythe Rand & Scythe Goddard:

”Ayn fought back every last emotion threatening to overtake her. She just shut them down cold. It was either that, or fall apart in front of him. She would rather self-glean than do that.”

Stupid Scythe Rand! Why the freaking hell did she ever think it would be a good idea to bring Scythe Goddard back!?! She should have let his head rot in hell! I hate that cold and calculating bwitch and I hope she goes down like a stone in the sea! No one needed Goddard back and I have no idea why she did it? Is she really in love with him?! They never gave me that kind of vibe and I just don’t understand it. Yes, she obviously loved Tyger, yet she still killed him in cold blood! I’m sure Tyger would have taken her gladly... how could she be so stupid!?? I don’t get this woman AT ALL! But I get the distinct feeling that in one way or another she might not only be Goddard’s rise but also his fall. Hopefully he takes her with him. I’d even pay their tickets to hell. Don’t worry, it’s my treat! ;-P

Conclusion:

“Thunderhead” might have had a rather slow start but it certainly went out with a bang! XD Just like its predecessor it had a lot of twists and turns. Some of them I saw coming from miles away and others were so sudden they felt like a punch to the face! Neal Shusterman knows his stuff and he’s not afraid to use his skills to his advantage! ;-) Did I enjoy this: Hell yeah! Am I going to read the next book soon: Definitely! I guess I just gotta lick my wounds for a little while longer, though. *lol*

❄️BooksofRadiance❄️

Second time reading and that ending!!!

Still worth every stars.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First read: 26/4/18

Hot damn. That ending.

Shit absolutely and unequivocally just hit the fan but... no worries. It’s only a year right?


The cruelty...

I pondered for days over how to rate this (needlessly it seems) because I finally came to my senses.
There’s nothing to overthink here because I am so fucking speechless that I don’t know how I could give this anything less than what it deserves.

NS is. A. Genius.
The symbolism, the intricacies of the overarching plot and the religious imagery that took root in book one and brilliantly and ever so subtly intertwined in this book is simply... awe inspiring. Everything was artfully constructed.

All I can say is: read between the lines. Shusterman is onto something here.

Korrina (OwlCrate)

I am dead! This book killed me!! That ending!! Dead. All I will say is that this is becoming one of my absolute favourite series ever. The wait for the next book is going to be brutal.

Heather

Holy freaking crap this was amazing. So many twists and turns and so thought provoking! So amazingly good!

Topics