Gleanings by Neal Shusterman is a short story collection involving the Arc of the Scythe series. The Arc of the Scythe series is about the Earth figuring out a way where humans can no longer die, the came up with a way to limit population is that they have people called Scythes who have a quota to kill so much people as a way of population control. Goodreads has it marked as 3.5 as it has 2 out of the 13 stories that go beyond the Arc of the Scythe. But most of the stories take place during the series, with 3 taking place before the series (which I feel are the best stories) and 3 that don’t reference time and can take place anyplace where Scythes are. I liked the mix of stories some add insight to characters and events that were referenced in the series, some are about the interesting world of Scythes and what makes them tick, and we get more insight into the Thunderhead the Big Brother that watches all except Scythe business. I would recommend you read the Arc of the Scythe series before reading this but some stories do not require it. This is a book that will give you a better understanding of the fascinating world of the Scythes, but if you read this book hoping for more insight on the characters that left on the shuttles then the book only has two stories and they aren’t about the main characters, but they are mentioned. My rating for the short stories are 3 five star, 5 four star, 3 three star and 2 two star. I was selected to read Gleanings through Netgalley from Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Gleanings is published on November 8 2022.
Plot Summary and Ratings:
The First Swing is a poem about Scythes that okay it deals with the burden of Scythes who have a job to do. I rated it 2 out of 5 stars.
Formidable is a Story about how Scythe Curie came to be and her style and it is about the fall of the world under Scythe rule as the President of the United States doesn’t want to adapt to the new way of society. This story took a second to get into I liked the climax and what is says of this new society. I rated this story 4 out 5 stars.
Never Work With Animals coauthored by Michael H. Payne A mostly dark comedy tail about Scythe Fields gleaning a couple for there dog, but get way more than he bargained for with the dog. I t has a nice twist and an appearance by Scythe Lucifer making this short story around the Toll. I rated it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a little long and it repeated its self a little too often.
A Death of Many Colors is a tail told by the Thunderhead about Scythe Sojourner Truth infiltrating an All Hallows Eve party, that is full of doubters. The Scythe makes an example out of one guest to get more to believe. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars. A very focused story that was pretty short and sweet.
Unsavory Row is about a girl deemed unsavory after she deals with grief after Rowan (scythe Lucifer) was an apprentice killed her friend. She joins the group the Apocalyte’s as she tries to take down the Thunderhead servers and finds a secret out about the group. I rated this 4 out of 5 stars. It was very interesting story how the thunderhead watches the unsavories even though it can’t.
A Martian Minute a really cool tale that will have you guessing where in the Ark of the Scythe the story takes place and you will be wrong. It does cleverly tie -in to the series. This story is a long one but it has a cool twist and a gut punch at the end. I rated this story 5 out of 5 stars. I was hovering between 4 and 5 but the end pushed me over.
The Mortal Canvas co authored by David Yoon, a story about a class on creative art is interrupted by a scythe, that makes an art challenge, the winner will be given a year of immunity, and the losers get … they don’t know but all are thinking death. The story takes place soon after immortality is created, and Scythe’s are fairly new. I rated it 2 out 5 stars. it was too slow.
Cirri is the first story that takes place in the future of The Arc of the Scythe it is a short and sweet story about how the life vessels are maintaining life and birth. One of my favorite B characters from the Toll dies but some beautiful happens. I rated this story 4 out of 5 stars.
Anastasia’s Shadow a tale about Citra’s Brother Ben and Constantine’s plan to make Ben a scythe. we saw a quick version of this in the Toll but it was great and more emotional. It as a crazy love story. I rated this story 4 out of 5 stars. This story had the fastest pace.
The Persistence of Memory Co -Authored by Jarrod and Sopia Lapuente is about dueling scythes in Spain. This is one of my favorites, a really interesting backstory on Scythe Dali and a really good climax that was perfect. The pace was really good. The conversations on death were very poignant. I rated this story 5 out of 5 stars.
Meet Cute and Die is a romantic tale about a Scythe niece who is accident prone and meets a man who is just as accident prone. The niece doesn’t reveal who her aunt is for fear of what she might do. but when they both die the scythe visits the guy and invites him to their home. The niece is very weary and will fight for her guy even if it is with a scythe. A pretty cute and short tale. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.
Perchance to Glean Co-Authored by Michelle Knowlden an interesting story where a Scythe can hunt in a dream an if he kills you you have 12 hours where he kills you in real life. It was an interesting take but it felt more middle grade than Young Adult. the story felt out of place. I rated it 3 out of 5 stars.
A Dark Curtain Rises is a story after Arc of Scythe Trilogy about how Scythe Curie is reborn in one of the transport vessels. The shortest story but it felt right knowing what happened at the end of The Toll. I rated this story 4 out of 5 stars.
What I Liked: The variety of stories there a lot to explore and still a lot to explore. The couple stories that were on the downfall of society after reaching immortality could easily be a book. The insight in to the main villain of the series was really cool, his story I want explored more as well. I liked all the new stories on Scythe Curie. I liked that we got something after the Arc of the Scythe trilogy even though I wanted a lot more.
What I Disliked: I wanted a lot more about Scythe Anastasia after she left earth. A Scythe Faraday story would have been nice at any time in his life we get just a taste with Scythe Curie backstory.
Recommendation: If you love Arc of the Scythe series then this book has a whole lot of insight into what makes the Scythes tick. If you just want to know about the main characters from the Arc of the Scythe series there’s only a couple of mentions and two stories involving them, so this book might not be for you. This book cover really interesting backstories on villains and supporting characters in the series. There’s an interesting variety of stories that go places that i didn’t think about like dream Scythes. I rated Gleanings by Neal Shusterman 4 out of 5 stars.