Oct 26, 2021

Review--The Toll by Neal Shusterman




Citra and Rowan have disappeared. Endura is gone. It seems like nothing stands between Scythe Goddard and absolute dominion over the world scythedom. With the silence of the Thunderhead and the reverberations of the Great Resonance still shaking the earth to its core, the question remains: Is there anyone left who can stop him?

The answer lies in the Tone, the Toll, and the Thunder.

In the highly anticipated finale to the New York Times bestselling trilogy, dictators, prophets, and tensions rise. In a world that's conquered death, will humanity finally be torn asunder by the immortal beings it created?

The Toll is Neal Shusterman's grand finale to the Arc of a Scythe trilogy! The book will bring about a conclusion to the series at large and while you can say things leave off with a nice sense of finality, I couldn't help but have a question or two at the end that was left unanswered. All in all, the book was an entertaining read, but it wasn't without flaws.

When we last left things, Endura was in peril. Scythes and citizens were dying, all while Goddard laughed from above. Citra and Rowan were sealed in a vault by Scythe Curie to save them, and they were frozen inside as the city went under the sea. What now begins is something of a timewarp trip, as we kind of get scattered about over the next three years going to the third year, to back to the first, to the second...it was quite puzzling and had me scratching my head a few times before realizing the chapters weren't quite in sync with one another and the timeline. 

Throughout this mess of time, we learn that Goddard has spewed his lies to make himself supreme overlord of everything basically. While Scythe Farday and Munira continue to search for the not-so mythical Land of Nod, we also see an excursion being planned with a salvage team to go under the sea to where Endura sank to rescue the treasures within the Scythe vault. Naturally, they find something far more surprising than Scythe treasures.

This book was truly a whirlwind of action! I mean, yes, most of it was puzzling in the beginning as time has no meaning, in one moment we're days after the sinking of Endura, the next we're three years into the future then go backwards to a year ago. It was nuts. It was hard to keep up with things honestly with all this happening as there were times I was thinking something that was happening now was contradictory to what happened in the last chapter. Needless to say, we were never given an idea of what time we were in when we started a chapter. Honestly, that could've helped clear a lot of the confusion I had, of course it would have to be said "2 years after Endura" for it to have any meaning since years have obscure names instead of numbers.

Upon waking Citra and Rowan learn most of what has been happening in the time that they were gone, and once again they are separated. While Rowan struggles to get back to Citra's side, Citra is trying to stay ahead of Goddard's quest to find and kill her. Goddard now has nearly everything he's ever wanted, but Citra and Rowan are a threat to that and must be eliminated.

This book was kind of all over the place what with the differences in time, plus the continuous multiple points of view. It's kind of hard to tell another person what all was happening without getting insanely lost, but as you read along, you can pretty much follow what is happening in the moment. The matter as to when it's happening will take some extra thinking though.

I was once again saddened by the separation of Rowan and Citra. These two can't catch a break. The longest amount of time they spent together was the three years they were frozen. That just seems cruel. But there have been instances of crueler things happening to the "couple," so I guess being separated for 90% of the book is the lesser of two evils.

The ending was quite eye-opening too. Though I can't help but wonder just what happened to one of the characters. I mean, in a sense, I get it, but also, I don't. Lol. Since I'm trying to avoid spoilers needless to say what gets explained for one character's fate just left me scratching my head a bit as to how that was possible and what not. As far as endings go overall, it wasn't too bad. It's the way I like my series to end, one with hope, so that was a nice aspect.

The Toll was a rather decent ending to the Arc of a Scythe trilogy. It was a dystopian series that presented quite the conundrum of what society would be like if death wasn't inevitable and what people would decide to do with all their time and the choices they make. It's a series to get you thinking, while also presenting an entertaining story and some mysterious vibes as well.

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

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