Shusterman’s world is more utopian than dystopian (although the Scythedom is falling into chaos thanks to the events that were set in motion in the first book) and what’s made it utopian is the Thunderhead. The Thunderhead is essentially the cloud (times a trillion) that has gained consciousness and looks over humanity. I’m still skeptical of the Thunderhead, Terminator and The Matrix are too deeply ingrained, but the Thunderhead gets to tell some of its own story in this book and now I feel a bit guilty about my skepticism (but it’s not gone).
Full of murderous revenge plots (which is hard to pull off in a society that has done away with death other than the gleanings the Scythes provide), power, corruption, and questions about humanity (how essential is death in life? What is free will, if it comes without consequences?).
I liked Shusterman’s second book better than the first and am eagerly awaiting the conclusion of the series.