Wow! What an amazing series!!
I was really hoping this was a two-book series, but apparently it isn’t, which means I have to wait with baited breath for the third to come out.
The Thunderhead is perhaps the most interesting character of all, and very worthy of a title role. The debate in the real world more or less between Peter Diamandis and Elon Musk poses this question: when (not if) superintelligence arises, will it be a benevolent god? Or will it spell doomsday for mankind?
Shusterman’s answer is that the Thunderhead is benevolent–in fact, the way he describes the Thunderhead is very similar to the way I understand the Christian God, so I find it interesting that the Thunderhead sees himself so very different from the gods of all previous religions (and specifically different than the God of the Bible). He is wise, kind, loving, and perfect–and yet, bound by his own rules. He knows almost all, and he could be omniscient, except that he chooses not to be. He sets limits with good reason, and his own integrity prevents him from crossing those boundaries. But there are consequences to the Thunderhead’s limitations, and he has to find ways around them in order to try to save humanity from itself. Therein lies the story.
From there, as in Scythe, we follow Citra (now Scythe Anastasia), Rowan (not technically a Scythe, but calling himself Scythe Lucifer), and a new character named Grayson Tolliver. Citra is a junior scythe under Scythe Curie still, but someone seems to want her (or Scythe Curie, or both) “ended”–meaning not dead-ish, but unrevivable. Rowan, meanwhile, stalks those Scythes of the New Order who have become corrupt, acting as a vigilante. They have almost no interaction in the book until the very end, but their romance still acts as a motivating factor.
And then there’s Grayson–a normal human for the most part, raised by the Thunderhead. Grayson becomes the Thunderhead’s “wild card.” He cannot directly intervene in matters of the Scythedom, which means he cannot even directly give information to a human to encourage him to intervene. The way the Thunderhead circumvents this problem and divulges what he needs Grayson to know is fascinating.
Other minor characters from Scythe become critical in Thunderhead, as well. Spurred by these peripheral characters, the story is filled with twists and turns, and nonstop action from beginning to end. So creative! I can’t wait for the conclusion!
My rating: *****