When Citra challenges the Scythe who joins her family for dinner and borrows their kitchen knife to glean their neighbor, she is thinking of nothing beyond expressing her disdain. When Rowan does the same, he wants only to be sure his classmate doesn't die alone. They achieved their goals, but they also attracted the attention of that Scythe, Faraday, who selects them both to learn the art of killing from him. They will spend a year studying Kill Craft with him, and at the end of that time, one will return home while the other is ordained to the Order of the Scythe, those tasked with killing humans who would otherwise live forever, with trying to slow population growth.

Filled with surprises both subtle and stunning, Scythe takes a long look at human nature, at the faults and failings and foibles that make up our individual identities, and at the alchemical reactions that happen when those traits are exposed to extremes of unchecked power and abundance. Shusterman's deft turning of circumstance is enthralling. His characters are as familiar as our own families and still so alien as to seem a separate species. I look forward to the next two books.