Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

I’ve been looking forward to this sequel for months and now that I’ve finished it I’ll be waiting for the final volume with baited breath. This was fantastic. Twists and turns that surprised and shocked me. And my highest compliment for volume 2 of a trilogy: Shusterman knows how to use the trilogy format perfectly, with each book having its own story and drama, beginning and end, and YET being part of a bigger story still with an ending that I always think of as the “Empire Strikes Back ending”–Perfect.

I was worried I wouldn’t remember enough about the first book, but it was easily and naturally incorporated early on. I was excited to see what Rowan had done since the explosive ending of Scythe, and I was not disappointed.  I really don’t want to give away any plot details-it was such a treat to just see what this story held.

Something that really struck me with this one, is that I don’t know how you could read about corrupt power, old and new factions, and people being fooled by a terrible leader and not think about the current events of today. It was pointed and wonderful. And Texas being a lawless Charter Region was, frankly, perfect and accurate.

I always liked Shusterman’s books, but when Scythe came out I thought it was the novel that would really bring him to prominence as a great writer,and I feel the same with this sequel. Exciting, well written, more thoughtful than you might expect (I loved how much of the Thunderhead’s point of view we had and how an artificial intelligence had such personality. Like Janet on “The Good Place” saying “not a robot” “not a human”, I felt like the Thunderhead kept benignly saying “not a god.”) This book hit all the right notes for me (except a bit of a nightmare scene which was truly my worst nightmare) and I know already it will be in my top 10 books of 2018. [*I finished two books in one week that were both 5 star books I know will be top 10 for the year. That makes for a great week of reading, and means only 8 more slots remain for the rest of the year.]

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