Goodreads: The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopia
It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.
In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.
You know when you’re so excited to read a book and then you finish it and you’re left feeling pretty… whelmed? Not over or under whelmed just… WHELMED? I think that’s kind of how I feel after finishing this series. I don’t know, I’m honestly kind of confused!
“You can whisper, and people will still hear thunder.”
The world building and storytelling in general throughout this whole series has been amazing and it continued to be so in The Toll. I think the magic of Shusterman’s writing is his ability to weave so many different storylines together and to drop little clues along the way that give readers an idea of how things might tie together. We were introduced to quite a few new characters but old characters we’d previously met (and likely overlooked) were brought back and given bigger roles. I liked most of the new characters but Jerico was by far my favorite. Although I did find myself questioning just how relevant their character was after their role in the first half, I also just really enjoyed their personality. I don’t want to give anything away, but if there’s one romance to ship it would’ve been this one and I wanted more from it!
As always, Shusterman threw in some unexpected revelations that shook me and it took the story in a direction I didn’t expect (although about 60% of the way through I predicted exactly where this was going).
“The problem with setting out to change the world was that you were never the only one.”
That said, perhaps the reason why I feel so blasé about the finale is because I was trying to find that spark/connection and it just wasn’t there for me. I wanted to know how the story ends and I was certainly hoping the characters would get a satisfying ending, but I also wasn’t as invested as I thought I’d be. I was slightly annoyed that we saw so little of Citra and Rowan. I mean, while the fate of the world and humanity obviously didn’t rest solely in their hands, these two were so built up in the first two books only to end up being practically irrelevant in the end. Citra had a bigger role to play but Rowan had two/three scenes throughout this chunkster? And damnit, I missed my cinnamon roll! Also how their story ended really frustrated me but that’s all I’ll say about it 🙃
I was also really confused about what was happening for a good 30% of the book. I had to ask a friend who’d read it whether I was just too slow or whether the timeline really was that convoluted (she said it was). I didn’t like the nonlinear past/future/present timelines especially as it was done without any explanation until much further on in the book, plus it was different to how the other books were written, so that was confusing. The ending itself wasn’t wholly unsatisfying but it did feel rushed and some character storylines ended quite abruptly, and some did end unsatisfactorily and left me wanting much more.
“So, if you’re asking me if it’s possible for you to make errors in judgement, the answer is yes. You make errors all the time… as does every other human being who has ever lived. Error is an intrinsic part of the human condition – and it is something I deeply love about humankind.”
All in all, while this wasn’t the finale that I was expecting, it was still a satisfying enough conclusion for me and it’s one that I think many readers will be happy with. All elements were tied up pretty neatly, but I can also see how the ending gives room for more stories to be written and if Shusterman does write them, I think I’d be interested in reading them! The Arc of A Scythe trilogy will continue to be one of my favourite series because it’s such a well-written and entertaining story with a unique premise and I did love it.
Have you read The Toll or is it on your TBR?
Did you think this was a satisfying conclusion to the Arc of a Scythe trilogy?