Books To Read After “Scythe”

Scythe has certainly carved a unique niche in the world of dystopian literature. Penned by acclaimed author Neal Shusterman, this riveting novel explores profound questions about life, death, and morality in a future where humanity has conquered death, and “Scythes” are the only ones who can end life. For those who’ve turned the last page of Scythe and find themselves yearning for more, this blog post is for you.

We’ll be delving into a curated selection of novels that echo similar themes, offer comparable world-building, or simply provide the same engrossing reading experience that Scythe does. Whether it’s a dive back into the Arc of a Scythe trilogy or a venture into a new dystopian landscape, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s embark on this literary journey together.

Books within the Arc of a Scythe Trilogy

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

If you loved Scythe, it only makes sense to dive right back into the world Shusterman has created with the sequel, Thunderhead. This sequel continues the story of Citra and Rowan, now fully in their roles within this dystopian society. Thunderhead adds a new dimension to the narrative by bringing the global artificial intelligence, the Thunderhead, into focus. The book deepens the moral dilemmas presented in Scythe and keeps readers on edge with shocking plot twists.

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Following Thunderhead, the trilogy concludes with The Toll. The story takes an even darker turn as the consequences of the events in Thunderhead unravel. Shusterman masterfully ties together loose ends while introducing new challenges for our protagonists. The Toll not only provides closure to the series, but it also encourages readers to ponder the philosophical questions the trilogy raises long after the final page is turned. This gripping finale will undoubtedly satisfy fans of the first two books.

Dystopian Novels

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver is a cornerstone of dystopian literature, presenting a seemingly utopian society where pain and suffering have been eradicated. However, the cost of this ‘perfection’ is revealed through the experiences of the protagonist, Jonas, who discovers the disturbing truth behind his world. Much like Scythe, The Giver raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of society and the sacrifices made for the sake of stability and order.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven offers a haunting yet captivating exploration of life after a pandemic has decimated the world population. Despite its somber premise, the novel is filled with moments of beauty and humanity, as it traces the lives of characters in both pre- and post-apocalyptic times. Like Scythe, Station Eleven challenges us to reflect on the nature of civilization and the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

In Brave New World, Aldous Huxley imagines a future where humanity is controlled through conditioning and technological interventions. This novel, like Scythe, explores the implications of a society where human life and death are manufactured and controlled. It is a powerful read for those who appreciated the moral and societal questions raised by Shusterman in Scythe.

Novels Exploring Morality and Death

The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy

The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a profound novella by Leo Tolstoy, exploring the life and death of a high-court judge in 19th-century Russia. This introspective read invites us to reflect on the meaning of life, the inevitability of death, and the value of authenticity – themes that are also central to Scythe. If Scythe intrigued you with its profound philosophical musings, this classic by Tolstoy will certainly captivate you.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go is a uniquely poignant novel that explores themes of mortality, love, and loss. Kazuo Ishiguro weaves a heartrending tale set in a world where human clones are raised for the sole purpose of organ donations. This novel resonates with Scythe as it delves into complex questions about life’s purpose, individual sacrifice, and the moral implications of playing god. Its haunting, thought-provoking narrative will surely appeal to those who appreciated the depth and complexity of Scythe.

Young Adult Novels with Engaging World-Building

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent catapults readers into a dystopian future where society is divided into five factions based on dominant personality traits. Our protagonist, Tris, must navigate this rigid society and face the challenges that arise when she doesn’t fit neatly into a designated category. If you enjoyed the vibrant world-building and character development in Scythe, Divergent’s engaging narrative and strong character arcs will likely strike a chord with you.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games introduces readers to a dystopian future where districts are forced to send children to participate in a televised fight to the death. The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, must fight not only for survival but also for the values she holds dear. Much like Scythe, The Hunger Games combines thrilling action with a deeply thought-provoking exploration of societal norms, morality, and the value of life.

Legend by Marie Lu

Legend is set in a dystopian future where the United States is divided into two warring nations. The narrative shifts between two characters, offering readers a dual perspective on the conflicts and challenges within this world. Legend’s complex society, dynamic characters, and suspenseful plotlines will appeal to fans of Scythe who appreciated the layered world-building and the moral ambiguities presented in the story.

Artificial Intelligence and Control:

In Scythe, the ‘Thunderhead’ is an advanced form of artificial intelligence that controls various aspects of society. If you’re interested in exploring this theme further, you might want to consider:

  1. “Neuromancer” by William Gibson: This seminal cyberpunk novel explores AI in a future world with advanced technology.
  2. “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke: This classic science fiction novel presents an AI system in a space expedition gone wrong.

Coming of Age under Difficult Circumstances:

Scythe’s protagonists, Citra and Rowan, go through significant personal growth while grappling with their roles as Scythes. For more on this theme, you could try:

  1. “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton: A powerful story about a group of young boys trying to find their place in a world that seems against them.
  2. “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness: A profound exploration of a young boy dealing with grief, with a twist of fantasy.

Power, Corruption, and Rebellion:

These themes are vital to Scythe’s plot as the Scythes, endowed with the power over life and death, grapple with corruption within their ranks. For further reading on such themes:

  1. “Animal Farm” by George Orwell: This allegorical novella reflects on the corruption of power through the story of farm animals overthrowing their human farmer.
  2. “V for Vendetta” by Alan Moore: A graphic novel showcasing a totalitarian government, a masked vigilante, and themes of rebellion and freedom.

Philosophical Inquiry and Morality:

Scythe probes deep questions about morality, the value of life, and the implications of immortality. For more philosophical novels:

  1. “Sophie’s World” by Jostein Gaarder: A novel that introduces philosophical ideas through the eyes of a young girl discovering philosophy for the first time.
  2. “The Stranger” by Albert Camus: An existentialist novel exploring the absurdity of life and questioning societal norms.

Exploration of Immortality and Its Implications:

Scythe’s world is one where natural death has been eradicated, leading to unique societal issues. If this aspect intrigued you, consider:

  1. “The Postmortal” by Drew Magary: A novel that explores a world where a cure for aging has been discovered, leading to an array of unforeseen consequences.
  2. “How to Stop Time” by Matt Haig: The story of a man who ages extremely slowly, providing a deep exploration of time, life, and love over centuries.

Additional Recommendations

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Another compelling series by Neal Shusterman, Unwind presents a dystopian future where parents can choose to have their children ‘unwound’ – their bodies taken apart and used for organ donations. Its complex themes and thrilling narrative make it a great follow-up read for fans of Scythe.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner offers an intriguing dystopian world where teenagers must navigate a massive, ever-changing maze to survive. It’s a gripping read for those who enjoyed the suspense and mystery in Scythe.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

A classic dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451 imagines a world where books are banned, and ‘firemen’ burn any that are found. It’s a powerful exploration of censorship and the value of knowledge, resonating with the societal control themes present in Scythe.

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched presents a society where everything, including love, is controlled by officials. The protagonist’s struggle for choice and freedom will appeal to those who appreciated the rebellion and search for autonomy in Scythe.

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

In Delirium, love is considered a disease and everyone must undergo a procedure to remove the capacity to love. This novel’s exploration of control and the human condition aligns with many of Scythe’s themes.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave delves into an Earth devastated by alien invasion. The fight for survival and the exploration of humanity’s tenacity make this a thrilling read for Scythe fans.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

In The City of Ember, citizens live in a city of eternal darkness, their entire lives lit by lamps. The protagonists’ journey to discover the truth about their city will captivate those who enjoyed the mystery and revelation elements in Scythe.

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Mortal Engines presents a post-apocalyptic world where cities are mobile and consume smaller towns to survive. The novel’s unique world-building and exploration of survival themes make it a captivating read for fans of Scythe.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

In The Road, a father and son traverse a post-apocalyptic landscape, battling for survival. Its poignant exploration of humanity, love, and survival in a dying world will resonate with Scythe’s readers.

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Life As We Knew It explores a world drastically altered after a meteor pushes the moon closer to Earth, causing worldwide disasters. The struggle for survival in a drastically altered world is a theme that fans of Scythe may find engrossing.


After journeying through these enthralling narratives, each offering a unique perspective on themes present in Scythe, we hope to have provided you with your next captivating read. These books delve into various aspects of dystopian societies, moral dilemmas, death, and the human condition, just as Scythe does.

As you delve into these recommended novels, you will likely find elements that resonate with your experience of Scythe, and hopefully, these books will inspire the same reflection and enjoyment that Neal Shusterman’s novel did.

Finally, reading is an adventure, and the beauty lies in the diversity of stories available to us. Keep exploring, and may your journey be filled with meaningful narratives and profound insights. Happy reading!

rj adams books

R.J. Adams

My first job was at Barnes & Noble, so books and reading have been a big part of my life for as long as I could remember. My Kindle is jam-packed with books I likely will never get around to reading and my To Be Read pile is even longer!

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