Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman

This book explores death in a society that has overcome it. It is a society where you can live to 200, where there is an all-knowing AI who helps you with everything you need, where no one knows disease or even pain, where people jump of building for funĀ but where people do still die, or rather are killed. This is done by the Scythes, it is their occupation to kill, a sort of maintenance of natural order. Scythes choose how they kill and how much, as long as they meet a quota. Some mimic the era of mortality in deaths, some give warning, some research targets, some kill at random some use blades and others poison, some give warning and some do not. Sitra and Rowan become apprentices and learn how to become scythes, they see the inner workings of this institution, learn how to kill, learn about the compassion of their killer master. While they choose how to kill, they do not choose to kill in the first place. It is noble work and should not be driven from bloodlust. But maybe things are changing in the sycthedom… Maybe two young apprentices will shake the sythedom, and the world, to its core…

This series is so well done, and only get more and more interesting. The political intrigue and large scale questions become grander, but our characters remain well developed and evolving, in a way that ties everything in very well. navigates the boundaries between utopian yet dystopian society, between societal and individual introspection, character development and engaging plot and questions of morality. I loved this book so much I’m trying to wait a good few years before I re-read it, in the hopes that I can return to it without remembering it, to try and recapture the awe.