Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman (9781442472457)
This is the sequel to the award-winning first book in the Arc of a Scythe series. It continues the story of Citra and Rowan. Citra is completing her apprenticeship under Scythe Curie when they find themselves being hunted down. Rowan meanwhile is doing the hunting, taking out scythes who are hiding illegal activity. He kills as Scythe Lucifer and has become a legend of sorts. As the time for the Winter Conclave comes about though, something far more sinister is rising up and just in time for when the MidMerica scythes gather.
I often have issues with second books in series, a kind of sophomore slump. Shusterman though does not miss a step here. He brings readers right back into his sharply drawn world. It is the writing itself that does this. He has a particular tone and style evident here as he writes of beloved characters and introduces new characters to root for. They are all marvelously complexly drawn, the heroes full of darkness and the villains full of righteousness. The character of the Thunderhead itself is also wonderfully created, its voice wise and also full of questions.
The book is one that will keep readers guessing throughout. Even as they know something is coming, it is not clear what it is or what that will mean. There are layers here that reveal, foreshadowing that is deftly written, and an ending that is so fast and wild that you almost can’t turn the pages quickly enough.
Beautifully crafted and written, this is a worthy successor to the first. And that is saying something! Appropriate for ages 14-18.
Reviewed from copy provided by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.