Review | The Toll

Title: The Toll
Series Details: Arc of a Scythe #3
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 05, 2019
Genre: FantasyScience Fiction
Pages: 625

Blurb from Goodreads:

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.

There’s nothing more disappointing than loving a series so much and finding the finale to be such a let down. To describe this book in a few words it would be long, boring, and underwhelming. The Toll wrapped up the series pretty nicely though. No questions from the previous books were left dangling, but was it satisfying? Sadly, it wasn’t.

“We are imperfect beings. How could we ever fit in a perfect world?”

Scythe is without a question the strongest book in this series, taking us to Shusterman’s version of utopia. The idea of a world sans crime, poverty, and even death, was really refreshing. It has one of the most impressive world-building in this genre and it continues to impress up to this final installment of the series. Unfortunately though, the world-building here tried to cover so much ground and the book lost its most intriguing subject in the processthe scythes. Even the main charactersCitra and Rowanwere absent for most part of the book.

Just like the second book, The Toll gives a whole lot more attention to the Thunderhead and all its activities. Therefore taking us to wherever the Thunderhead turns its focus on, which is basically everywhere. So we see a lot of things going on but not all of them were very exciting. The sad part is that our main characters who we patiently followed from the beginning of the series seems to have been forgotten in this book. It’s like Citra and Rowan were buried beneath all the things that’s happening, and so it was hard to connect to them.

“A successful lie is not fueled by the liar; it is fueled by the willingness of the listener to believe. You can’t expose a lie without first shattering the will to believe it.”

The final confrontation was also largely unsatisfying. Hundreds of pages were spent trying to build up something big for the finale, but when it get there we got a boring fight that just lacks impact. Maybe it’s because I’m missing the personal connection with the characters so I didn’t really care who lives or dies during the battle.

Overall, The Toll is still a decent book to end a series although it definitely wasn’t as strong as the first two. It felt like its reaching for the stars but fell a bit short. I think it’s enjoyability kinda depends whether you liked the first or the second book of the series. If you’re here for Citra and Rowan, you might want to lower your expectations. But if you loved following Jason Tolliver and the Thunderhead from the second book, you might enjoy this one.

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