Book Reviews

Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

I cannot believe it’s taken me so long to read Thunderhead. I remember finishing Scythe and knowing I needed to read the next one. It’s a series with fantastic world building which gets me EVERY time. Keep reading this book review to see what I loved.


Everything else is out of human control, managed by the Thunderhead. It’s a perfect system – until it isn’t. It’s been a year since Rowan went off-grid. Hunted by the Scythedom, he has become an urban legend, a vigilante snuffing out corrupt scythes in a trial by fire. Citra, meanwhile, is forging her path as Scythe Anastasia, gleaning with compassion. However, conflict within the Scythedom is growing by the day, and when Citra’s life is threatened, it becomes clear that there is a truly terrifying plot afoot. The Thunderhead observes everything, and it does not like what it sees. Will it intervene? Or will it simply watch as this perfect world begins to unravel?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Thunderhead continued the fabulous and thought provoking world building I’m used to from Scythe. I adored the snippets of the book from the Thunderhead perspective, creating yet another new character. Thunderhead is an action packed sequel in a very plot driven series. It’s a book that discusses corruption, justice, and how we can fix the systems around us. This sequel felt broader as the world, and the science of the world, expanded around our characters.

I loved how Shusterman detailed the world not only through Rowan, Citra, and Greyson, but also Thunderhead. For me, this sequel was even more thought provoking as we explore what the Thunderhead is, and the history behind its creation. The plot is truly masterful in a world that is supposed to be so advanced, so thought out, and yet still retains the mistakes, greed, and ambition of humanity.

Justice always has its cost, we just rarely have to pay them directly till the end. Thunderhead asks readers, and characters, broad questions about how we can fix a system, one that seems perfect, but has cracks. It also asks us more focused questions about revenge and our conscience. When we are given a role, how much do we internalize our roles? Take pleasure in them? Lose the boundaries of ourselves?


In Thunderhead, we are faced with a society that seems to be beyond us. Except we know better. We know their greed, rage, and thirst for retribution. Humans who have never lost their humanity, their petty grievances, their burning resentment and intolerance. It’s a sequel that will satisfy all of those world building and theme geeks!

Find Thunderhead on Goodreads, Amazon (US) (UK), Indiebound,, The Book Depository.


What is your favorite SF world building?

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