Review | The Toll by Neal Shusterman

The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3)Title: The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3)

Author: Neal Shusterman

Rating:★★★★★

Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR

Release Date: November 5, 2019

“You can’t expose a lie without first shattering the will to believe it. That is why leading people to truth is so much more effective than merely telling them.”



I’m in this limbo of awe after finishing this book. It was surprising, satisfying, shocking, and frustrating. Truly an unforgettable series that will resonate with readers. And there’s no possible way I could form a coherent review in a traditional format, so enjoy this bullet list of my thoughts and feelings below:

•It really felt like the world expanded even more. Seeing more scythes from different regions, learning more about different charter regions, the memory construct santums (which were so freaking cool – and harrowing revisiting Tyger)

◦ New characters were fantastic and I loved them all. They all added so much to the story and to the chracters we already love, without taking away page time.

•Goddard is such a scary effective dictator and I hate him. He is so charismatic and vile at the same time. Changing the definition of protected class, getting other regions to donate their rings to him, mass gleaning at Rowan’s failed gleaning. He is the perfect combination of effective, chilling, and unhinged.

•Seeing Grayson struggle with being the mouthpiece for the Thunderhead and how to navigate still voicing his opinion without inflating his self-purpose (where he could easily become Goddard) and being a mouthpiece for a god-like figure was great and really made me appreciate Grayson more.

•The ‘Iterations’ we see between the Thunderhead and an unnamed entity were super intriguing: kept me guessing and engaged through the entire story.

•Faraday refusing to self-gleam while Goddard is still alive, if only to spite him is a BIG MOOD.

•I know Constantine is an opportunistic MOFO, but I didn’t like how wishy-washy he was. Probably because we don’t actually know all that much about him.

•It was a little hard to keep track of timelines in the story because in the beginning, each of the storylines were in different places time wise – and they’d shift depending on the plot. But I think once we got to part 2 is was easier to follow clearly.

•Citra exposing scythes censoring history and how their past attrocities are hidden by scythe and Thunderhead seperation was so messed up! And seeing the scythes selfishness and narcissism in thier actions surrounding the lunar colonies was mind blowing.

•I loved seeing how the Thunderhead could still work around the separation of scythe and state – and still manage to communicate with unsavories even if it is more one way, like overhearing conversations and things just suddenly appearing. But seeing the Thunderhead use Jeri’s body was both wonderful and awful: the beauty of experiencing senses, but the horror of taking their free will. Seeing the Thunderhead be fallable was kind of heartbreaking.

But just thinking about this series gives me chills. It’s genuinely one of the most thought provoking series I’ve ever read and it will go down as one of my favorites of all time. If you haven’t picked up the series yet, you are missing out.

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