The Toll by Neal Shusterman - Book Review
Updated: Jan 19
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Goddard has risen to power and the Thunderhead has labeled all but one human Unsavory. Greyson, now the only person left to speak with the Thunderhead, quickly becomes a Tonist figurehead. As he attempts to sway those around him for the better of humanity, Goddard is basking in power, gleaning any and all he pleases. The perfect world is falling apart and help will come from an unexpected place. But can the Thunderhead help a world that it can no longer communicate with? Or has it made an error in it’s calculations?
Neal Shusterman showed the theme of a perfect society achieving it’s inevitable downfall with sarcasm, wit and dark humor. I enjoyed the Thunderhead’s scheming and it’s attempt to circumvent rules without breaking them. I also enjoyed seeing Greyson emerge as a reformed and driven character. As with the previous books, there were snippets in between chapters, but this time they varied. Sometimes readers were privy to information from Scythe journals, other times it was people from centuries in the future trying to glean meaning from the events unfolding in what would be their past. Although I felt the latter was more filler than anything else.
While the book was fast paced and I found any spare moment to sit down and read it, when I finished I felt like something was missing. Characters that were once active and outstanding to read, fell to the wayside and became only ghosts of themselves, serving to move the plot forward and little else. Throughout the series the character arcs were brilliantly written. Citra, Rowan, Greyson and Goddard to name the most prominent, were unique and allowed a build up of tension and conflict to keep the reader glued to the pages. I won’t say that their arcs didn’t come to appropriate endings for them all, but some were left lacking.
And the ending was so well built up and tempered into being an exciting mix of hope and desperation, but it fizzled out too soon. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t entirely satisfying either. Like all the build up and anticipated conflict was concluded too soon, too anticlimactic. Do I still think this series is worth reading? Yes, absolutely. The writing style is enjoyable and the humor was perfect for me, I just wish it had concluded better.
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