Friday, June 4, 2021

Book Review: The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Book: The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Genre: YA dystopian

Rating: ★ ★ 

Wow, but it took me an entire year to read this book! I started it... got distracted by other things, and then wasn't in the mood and then finally decided to just finally get it done. It was a struggle this book. The first two books in these series moved pretty fast and were quite engaging, but this one lost me in many ways. 

The whole world just got very complicated and it actually started making me crazy... this world... where everything became so very religious and just... WEIRD. You know? And we sort of lost the deepness of the characters... they got lost in the midst of all the rhetoric of this world. 

But still the whole premise of these books fascinate me.. .and I pushed on to see what would happen. The second half of this book did finally get going a bit better for me. And the climatic ending was absolutely intense!

Anyway. A summary? Hmmm.. .how to do that without spoiling pretty much everything??

In this book we are following several different threads from the previous two:

* Grayson has become The Toll, which is the leader and god-like figure for the Tonists... the people who are speaking out against the Scythdom. And his goal is to try and get these very religious zealots to tone it down .... HAHAHAHA... a bit. 

* Rowan and Citra have been rescued from the doom they faced at the end of book 2, but are separated and face completely different realities. Rowan is still on the black list and the bad Scythe is still trying to kill him. For real. For keeps. Citra ends up in the hands of the good guys again and they are out to try and figure out how to end this  mess.

* There's a new settlement that's started on an island that is beyond the reach of the Thunderhead and they don't know why they are making this settlement, but it will become clear by the end of the book. So we are following a few different people there. 

*And we also get the POVs of some of the "bad" people and how they are very conflicted in what's going on and we are left wondering if they will turn in the end.

Whew. It's a lot people.... these books. They are very powerful and deep and thought-provoking, but hard. HARD stuff. Very violent and very disturbing. If you've read them, I'd love to know what you think of them, and what exactly we should be taking away from it. 

Neal Shusterman was supposed to come to our library pre-pandemic. He had to cancel, then the pandemic happened and he had to of course cancel again. We are left wondering now if he will try to still come. He is one of the authors on my dream meet list... and I really hope that still happens someday. I would love love love to hear him talk about what he was thinking about this series. Fascinating! Please, let it happen!

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