The Toll by Neal Shusterman

This may have been my MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2019. Ever since I finished  Thunderhead two years ago I’ve been eager for this final book in the Arc of a Scythe trilogy to be published. [I see I didn’t review Scythe here, but did briefly mention it in my Top Ten of 2016.) Readers, it DID NOT DISAPPOINT. There are only two days left in 2019 and I knew midway through this that it would most certainly be ending up on my Top Ten of 2019 list (which I can’t wait to get started on today.)
So, where to begin.  First of all, this book is 625 pages long. When I picked it up from the library I was thrilled to see how long it was. And then I waited a whole week to read it (because, Christmas.) And it was wonderfully long and satisfying.

As I mentioned, it’s been two years since Thunderhead and while the conclusion of that book has stayed in mind most vividly, I wasn’t sure what else I remembered. No worries-I was easily brought up to speed. This novel is so beautifully constructed you almost want to go back and read it again now that you see how it all fits together. There are multiple sections, multiple points of view, and once again we are reading the Thunderhead’s direct commentary and thoughts. In addition periodic witness to another conversation-but you’re not sure who the participants are. And another repeated interstitial that I think I only just now realized exactly what it is. (so might go back and reread those parts.)

This conclusion is pretty epic. It covers a lot of ground, both in storyline and chronology. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, other than the story is continuing on. It explains exactly what has happened in the world since the dramatic conclusion of Thunderhead and continues, chronicling a rise to power of what I would call a megalomaniac despot. I think you’d have to be blind to not see the parallels to our current socio-political situation. It’s really an amazing work showing how civilizations rise and fall. Throughout the novel I really had no idea how this was going to conclude in a satisfactory manner. I will say –it did. 100% satisfied.

5 stars and one of the best of the year!

 

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