“We are imperfect beings… how could we ever fit into a perfect world?”
The Toll by Neal Shusterman is the third and final book of the Arc of a Scythe Trilogy, a Dystopian series set in a world where humanity has conquered death. Those who die are simply deadish, able to be revived within a day, and old age is no longer a concern either; anyone and everyone is welcome to ‘turn a corner’ and go back to a certain age at any time. Scythes manage population control, gleaning people to make sure the Earth does not exceed its population capacity. But of course, with great power comes great responsibility, and some just do not possess that needed quality.
As this review is for The Toll, and not the first two books of the series, there will be spoilers for Scythe and Thunderhead. If you haven’t read those yet, I recommend that you do that first!
Regardless, onto the review.
Going into this, I had high expectations. Scythe and Thunderhead were both incredible reads, and I was hoping that The Toll would wrap the series up well. I was not disappointed; this book left me reeling with a variety of emotions, and even now, I’m still processing the ending. It’s been such a journey seeing the characters develop throughout the years, and in contrast to what I critiqued in my review of Scythe, I have come to relate to the many protagonists in this world, and it brings me so much joy to follow them on their many adventures.
The Toll started off quite slow, and I was rather confused at the beginning due to the vague blurbs that occurred at the end of each chapter. However, those started to make sense as I continued to reading, and it actually added to the overall experience, much like how the Thunderhead’s thoughts were really cool sneak peeks in The Thunderhead.
Towards the end, everything tied together so so well, but that didn’t mean it was entirely peaceful either. This is a book that keeps you hooked til the last word, and even beyond that.
On top of that, the worldbuilding in this series makes everything seem possible, because imagine characters who literally cannot die. You’d think that would lower the stakes and make the story rather boring, but that was completely not the case. It just pushed me to think outside the box and try my very best to predict what on earth was coming next (usually unsuccessfully), and I thoroughly enjoyed how much this book kept me guessing.
The only grudge I have with The Toll is that it ended. I wanted more scenes with Rowan and Citra (NEVER call me a romance hater again because I love these two), and I would’ve loved to learn more about the Thunderhead. I also missed Scythe Curie so much, but I think she died in the most honorable way possible.
Overall, I would rate The Toll a solid 8.5/10, a very very good score. The missing 1.5 comes from the fact that I think an epilogue would’ve been a very nice addition to the story, and because the beginning baffled me a little. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys Dystopian and Adventure, with well thought out plotlines!
P.S. If you’ve read this series, PLEASE talk to me about it, I’m dying to hear your thoughts.