Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of a Scythe

Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of a Scythe

by Neal Shusterman

Narrated by Neal Shusterman, Megan Tusing, Fiona Hardingham, Greg Tremblay

Unabridged — 11 hours, 54 minutes

Neal Shusterman
Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of a Scythe

Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of a Scythe

by Neal Shusterman

Narrated by Neal Shusterman, Megan Tusing, Fiona Hardingham, Greg Tremblay

Unabridged — 11 hours, 54 minutes

Neal Shusterman

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The New York Times bestselling Arc of the Scythe series continues with thrilling stories that span the timeline. Storylines continue. Origin stories are revealed. And new Scythes emerge!

There are still countless tales of the Scythedom to tell. Centuries passed between the Thunderhead cradling humanity and Scythe Goddard trying to turn it upside down. For years humans lived in a world without hunger, disease, or death with Scythes as the living instruments of population control.

Neal Shusterman-along with collaborators David Yoon, Jarrod Shusterman, Sofía Lapuente, Michael H. Payne, Michelle Knowlden, and Joelle Shusterman-returns to the world throughout the timeline of the Arc of a Scythe series. Discover secrets and histories of characters you've followed for three volumes and meet new heroes, new foes, and some figures in between.

Gleanings shows just how expansive, terrifying, and thrilling the world that began with the Printz Honor-winning Scythe truly is.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


Spanning from the end of the mortal era alluded to in Scythe to the period following The Toll, Shusterman’s amalgam of in-world extrapolations—many written in collaboration with creators including Joelle Shusterman and David Yoon—explore previously under-illuminated corners of the Arc of a Scythe universe. While a handful of excellent stories add notable depth to two of the trilogy’s most pivotal characters, and others flesh out personages mentioned only in passing, the best engage playfully with the established works’ rules and tone. These include a paranoid-feeling thriller (“Never Work with Animals,” coauthored with Michael H. Payne), a deadly game of cat and mouse occurring in a literal dreamscape (“Perchance to Glean,” coauthored with Michelle Knowlden), a romantic comedy starring an accident-prone pair (“Meet Cute and Die”), and a surreal feud that turns Barcelona into a murderous Rube Goldberg machine (“The Persistence of Memory,” coauthored with Jarrod Shusterman and Sofía Lapuente). Though the volume’s not a starting place for series newcomers, existing fans will relish the varied tales, which handle themes of art, meaning, and morality in a post-death world with an efficacious mixture of humor, violence, and gentle absurdity. Ages 12–up. Agent: Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary. (Nov.)

School Library Journal


Gr 7 Up—This work returns to the post-mortal world of the bestselling "Arc of a Scythe" series, telling more captivating tales of the Scythedom. In a society that has conquered hunger, disease, and death, Scythes are the sole arbiters of death, tasked with the responsibility of ending life through gleaning, each with a preferred, sometimes unique, method. This newest installment, presented as an anthology, reveals histories of familiar characters, while also introducing new figures that play a part in the rise and fall of the world that has triumphed over death. Shusterman, in collaboration with David Yoon, Jarrod Shusterman, Sofía Lapuente, Michael H. Payne, Michelle Knowlden, and Joelle Shusterman, paints an enlightening picture of this dystopian world, exposing secrets spanning centuries, and shedding light on further terrors that lay within the Scythedom. The world of the series is brilliantly crafted, with precise and intricate details. In this collection, every chapter works as a standalone story, each with something new and interesting to offer. Standouts include "A Martian Minute" and "A Dark Curtain Rises," both of which expand on stories of familiar characters with cleverly executed twists. Also memorable is the elaborate "The Persistence of Memory" and the satisfying "A Death of Many Colors." Multiracial characters make up this civilization, and multiple characters are introduced as members of the LGBTQIA+ community. VERDICT Fans of the "Arc of a Scythe" series will be pleased with this thrilling continuation.—Amanda Harding

Kirkus Reviews

Welcome back to the post-mortal utopia of the Arc of a Scythe series.

In the original trilogy, Shusterman posited that even a true utopia is imperfect thanks to human nature. Here, he returns to the Thunderhead’s world with a collection of shorter works that explore moments before, during, and after the end of the Scythedom. While some stories need only basic contextual knowledge of the world, most are directly related to Citra’s and Rowan’s experiences: prequel tales of teenage Scythe Marie Curie (gleaning the last corrupt politicians) and Carson Lusk (later Scythe Goddard and unpleasant from the start); stories focused on Citra’s brother, Ben, and on the sister of the first gleaning Rowan attends in Scythe (2016); and even one from the perspective of the Cirrus, the multifaceted AI offspring of the Thunderhead. The always accomplished, straightforward writing is at its best when it moves away from the larger Scythe-Thunderhead politics and instead focuses on humanity, art, and love in a world without natural or accidental death. Standouts include “The Mortal Canvas,” focused on the first (and maybe last) post-mortal artist, and the slyly humorous “Meet Cute and Die,” about the niece of a domineering and needy Scythe in Britannia.

One for the legions of fans of this world. (Science fiction. 14-adult)

Product Details

BN ID: 2940178826003
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 11/08/2022
Series: Arc of a Scythe Series
Edition description: Unabridged

Read an Excerpt

1. The First Swing The First Swing
Slicing through the air with effortless aplomb,

the moment you take your first swing,

you wield your axe

like you are a master in the art of gleaning.

Those before you are in awe.

They cannot imagine what your next move will be.

You carry yourself as balanced and poised as a performer

dancing brutally among them;

the searing star of stars,

your robe cascading to the earth

in showers of gold.

But that is not the truth.

Your worth does not matter

to those who now matter to you.

You are truly nothing but a tiny sunspot

to the eyes of others like yourself.

An insignificant fleck.

And as you take that first swing,

they laugh at you.

You try to rise above their derision,

to be noticed in some small way.

To find favor from the old ones,

who are never old.

To gain respect from the young ones,

who have slain their own youth.

To justify the arrogance

that comes with the pride

of being chosen.

But that is not the truth either.

It will be years until you come to know the truth:

That those you revere are merely servants

to the collective that we prune.

It was their choice to let us choose

all those years ago.

The awed, terrified, relieved spectators;

the real ones in power,

the puppeteers of your actions.

Standing in a perfect line before them,

a cutting edge,

wielding our axes,

each one of us is the same as the last.

We are one in all,

We are all in one, and




Our mantra, our commandment,

our duty to remind the immortal of mortality.

To teach them

that eternal repose may be distant,

but not lost.

Who are We?

We are Scythes.

And the weapons We wield

are not by any means our friends.

The devastating force

of bullet, blade, and bludgeon

tears us apart each day, every day,

piece by piece,

and leaves us with wounds that will never heal.

This is what ties us to the masses,

yet restrains us from being one with them.

And with each new gleaning,

We bleed and break anew,

yet our resolve never changes.

For We are scythes.

Nothing will ever change that fact.

And when it is your time to bleed,

you will know,

and you will learn.

—Joelle Shusterman

Customer Reviews