The Scythes were created to be noble, impartial, and merciless. While Citra and Rowan's mentor Scythe Faraday is all three, a growing faction within the Scythedom embraces the merciless nature of the job without the mitigating factors of the training they go through. They decide that Citra and Rowan cannot both become Scythes; whichever fails their training will be immediately gleaned by the other. Citra and Rowan must face not only the terrible reality of being trained to kill their fellow human beings but the more immediate horror of either facing death at the other's hand... or dealing it. This book was really engaging: what does humanity do with itself after the immediate and total threat of death is removed from their lives? While the main plot concerns itself with Citra and Rowan's struggle, the background is a fascinating study of how society could either grow or stagnate when time is no longer of the essence. With the sequel "Thunderhead" now out, perhaps we'll learn how Citra and Rowan's actions help determine the fate of the human race.
In a world in which the only way to die is to be killed by a scythe, Citra and Rowan compete to earn a position as a scythe's apprentice--a competition that will see the loser die by the hand of the winner.