Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman: Age of Mortality List & Giveaway!!

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman: Age of Mortality List & Giveaway!! Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #2
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on January 9th 2018
Pages: 504
Source:Copy provided from publisher and Big Honcho Media

Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?

About Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including The Unwind Dystology, The Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his newest series Arc of a Scythe, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows. The father of four children, Neal lives in California. Visit him at and

If you’ve hung around here for any length of time, you’d probably know that I am a huge fan of Neal Shusterman. Dude is a straight up genius, there’s really no other way to explain it.

So when I was given a chance to help join the promo for Thunderhead (thanks, Big Honcho Media!) I jumped on it immediately. I devoured the book in just a few hours- even though it’s over 500 pages. It’s just too good not to. The writing is somehow better than ever (is that possible? I didn’t think so but alas) and the stakes just keep getting higher and higher. Obviously, I won’t say too much since it’s a sequel, and this isn’t a review, but friends. Read it.

Fun fact: That isn’t even Thunderhead in the dust jacket because I lent the book to my mom. Because she needed to read the sequel that badly. 

Erm. Anyway, so today, I am going to share with you my Age of Mortality list! In the Arc of a Scythe series, humans don’t die- and if they accidentally do, they can be brought back. Unless, however, they are gleaned by a Scythe. A Scythe’s purpose is basically to keep the population in check, but the chances of being gleaned are still pretty low. When the characters in the series refer to our time period, where people, you know, die, they call it the “Age of Mortality”. Our bucket lists would probably not impress them much, but we don’t have hundreds of years to live, so we’d better make it count!

Shannon’s Age of Mortality List!

1.Travel to all the places

Sure, this seems like a given, right? People love to travel! But I am kind of obsessed with it? It feels like some kind of high, being in a new place, experiencing new things. I love seeing the culture, the history, it’s so damn interesting, empowering, and life changing. And I am really determined to make it to as many countries as I can. And also, all 50 states, even if some of them probably don’t deserve my patronage right now. And I am doing well- though I have been lagging behind lately.

Shannon’s Travel Map

So close, yet so far away… 

2. Swim competitively again

Gosh, I miss swimming. And yes, I can just wander into a pool somewhere and swim, I suppose. But hell, it isn’t the same! I don’t know if there will ever be a point in my life when I can devote that kind of time again, but if there is, I’d love to do it. Fine, maybe not quite as much time as high school and college but you get the idea 😉

Look, it’s me. I won. 

3. Go parasailing 

I am not much of an adrenaline junkie or anything. Don’t really like heights, even. But something about sailing over the ocean or some such loveliness? Yes please. Sign me up. Plus, it’s nice to take a risk every so often yeah?

4. Have an epic love story

So it turns out this one isn’t totally in my control? Or maybe at all in my control? Idk, but I have always been such a hopeless romantic, and even though my pessimist side makes me think it’ll never happen, the tiny bit of me that still makes wishes on stars holds out hope 😀

Fine, maybe a *little* less hokey… 

5. Publish… something

There are days that I think maybe I could write a book, and there are days where I think I am just a better non-fiction writer and lose all hope. Which is why this goal is vague. I don’t know what it is yet, but I want to write… things. I mean, I do write things (super eloquent ones from the sound of this post, obviously ?) but something someone deems worthy of humans reading.

6. Do something great

More vagueness! I just want to do something that will be remembered. Something beyond ordinary. I think we all want to be remembered, whether we’re from the “Age of Mortality” or not- it’s human nature. But I want to make a positive difference somewhere, I suppose, is the bottom line. Otherwise, what’s it even all for, right?

One (1) winner receives: Copies of Scythe and Thunderhead Plus a Swatch watch(US Only), courtesy of Simon & Schuster! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Okay, I need to know: Would you prefer to live in the “Age of Mortality” or in the age of Scythes? Remember, you might live for a long time… or you might be gleaned! And what is one thing on your bucket list?

Posted January 16, 2018 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Funsies, Giveaway , , , / 38 Comments


38 responses to “Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman: Age of Mortality List & Giveaway!!

  1. Just a few hours? Dang. This series sounds so different from anything else, I have to admit I’m really curious now. Are the Scythes evil? Are humans immortal unless they are gleaned? I must find out. And awesome list. Travel all the places *yup* and swimming. You must swim! All those are great actually (except maybe parasailing?)

    Okay the answer depends on what the age of Scythes is like? Because living a long time sounds pretty good, but not sure I’d want to live forever. So I guess I better read the book and find out. 🙂

    • YES that is exactly it, it IS different than anything else, in so many ways. And NOPE, the Scythes aren’t evil. Yes, humans are immortal unless they are gleaned- or if their bodies are burned too badly before they can be reanimated. You will find out, soon 😀 HA I mean, parasailing is SO outside of my usual comfort zone, but I have always been drawn to it. As for swimming, I know I need to. I hope one day to be somewhere near a team again!

      See- as of now, it’s kind of forever, but no one really knows yet, because it hasn’t been like, thousands of years or anything, just a few hundred. So, so FAR people are immortal, I guess? That is all I am saying, you need to read it for yourself! My thing is, I am down with living forever, BUT I am not cool with having the gleaning thing hanging over my head. Especially when you consider that your family, friends, etc, will all be living for a long time after you’re gleaned. That seems like some real bullshit.

  2. Love this post! You have me beat on countries, but I have you beat on states since I’ve been to 46 😉 Kinda just passed through some though (in a car), does that still count? That’s cool that you used to swim competitively! I would also love to publish something. I really want it to be a novel since I’ve wanted to do that since I was a kid? But you’re right, just publishing anything would be pretty cool!

    Umm, I haven’t read the books yet so maybe I don’t understand how it works exactly, but I think I might like to live in the age of Scythes? Like, yeah, you might be gleaned, but you can also die crossing the street on any random day. At least there’d be a chance to have a long life full of awesomeness!

    • DAMN, 46!? That is awesome, you are SO CLOSE! It counts if you are in a car. Airports do not count unless you leave the building. Also, I ended up ruling out trains, too, which was a bummer because I’d have had South Carolina! I agree, I;d rather it be a novel, but I am not wholly confident in my abilities 😉

      YES that is very true, you have a SUPER slim chance of being gleaned, whereas here, you have a 100% chance of dying at some point hahah

  3. Good luck with your list! All awesome goals. I wish I had the means to travel, because that is how I like to spend my money. I have very little lust for things, but I have a LOT of wanderlust.

  4. I have Scythe sitting on my TBR shelf. I need to read soon. Also, I LOVE your list. I want to visit all the places. I’ve been parasailing. It would’ve been more fun if I wasn’t so seasick from the boat. I spent most of my parasailing trip throwing up over the side of the boat.

  5. IT’S OVER 500 PAGES? How long did it take you to read it Shannon? I love your life goals, I liked swimming but I’m not good at it. I just get tired ans stop. Haha. And parasailing sounds like a lot of fun, I wanted to do it at Disney World!

    And your epic love story is just around the corner!

    • Not long, shockingly! Like… 3 nights? (I usually read like, 1-1.5 hours a night, if that helps!) AWW but you don’t have to be good at it to do it- though getting tired and stopping is probably not a good idea because… drowning ? OOOH parasailing at Disney sounds AWESOME!! I didn’t even know that was a thing, but I like it!

      And thank you, you are too sweet ♥♥

  6. I have a friend that has been pressuring me to pick up Scythe for ages now, and when I finally went to burrow it from my library, my temporary library card had expired LOL. I did manage to read a preview of it and OMG it was so dope! I’ve never read anything like it, so I’m lowkey desperate to get my hands on it again so I can witness the hype for myself!

  7. Age of Mortality but gleaning sounds terrible! I feel really bad that I’ve never read a book by this author. Will immediately go search for one on the library website.
    As for a bucket list thing….I would like to take my mom and kids to visit Okinawa someday.

  8. Kel

    Great bucket list, Shannon! I’d definitely like to see more of the world, but I’m kind of vague and indefinite on the rest. Like, see where God takes it and hope it’s something cool? ^^; I get the publishing “thing” though. Some days, I feel like I NEED to write a story or just something. And other days I’m like nope. 🙂 It’s a vicious cycle.

  9. AWWW YOUR LIST. You took all my suggestions hahha. And I’m still laughing at how a swatch watch is included in the giveaway.

    I don’t know how I feel about living forever, but if living forever also comes with endless money (and not working a boring job every day?), then yes I would travel, learn new hobbies, and DO EVERYTHING. Especially leaving a piece of poo on Mount Everest.

    • HA I won’t lie, I don’t fully get it myself? I still think someone owns stock. Well- money isn’t *endless* but they also don’t really seem to have much in the way of poverty, it seems. I hope you get to ummmm…. relieve yourself on a mountain?

  10. I haven’t read this book yet but I know sooo many people that absolutely love it. Haha, I love your Mortality List though! I also would love to travel across the world and do dangerous things like sky-diving or parasailing – the more adventure, the better!

  11. Age of Scythes. I have way too much I need to do, want to do, and should do- I’d need over 100 years to fit it all in (assuming my body doesn’t age infinitely into some dried-out husk). Thanks for the giveaway! I’ve had all of his books on my library wishlist for awhile now, but this is more motivation to start reading them. 🙂

    • DUDE right?! That is how I feel too. And nope, you do not husk, you get to reset! The one thing that scares me is the possibility of gleaning because how pissed would you be if you got gleaned at 40 but everyone else you knew got to live to 812? And YESSSS read them!! ::Throws books at you:: 😀

  12. I keep hearing about this series. I can’t believe the second book is out and I still haven’t read the first. Ugh! I need to get these books. Thanks for the chance to win them!

  13. Shusterman is amazing. I loved Scythe and can’t wait for Thunderhead. I’m going to re-read Scythe in the next week or two, because it’s a finalist for CYBILS in YA speculative fiction, then I’ll be ready to tackle Thunderhead.

    Bucket list? Alaska, Scotland, Nepal, and to live in Europe for a few years again. Yes to a vague wish of publishing something. Hot air balloon ride.

    I don’t know about living forever. Wouldn’t things start to become meaningless?

  14. I haven’t read this author but I have the first book on my GR to-read list. I have heard so many awesome things about it! Your enthusiasm for the series has sealed the deal for me. I need this series in my life!

  15. Speaking as someone who hasn’t read this series yet (whyyyy?? I love Unwind, I need to get on these), I’d choose to live in the Age of Mortality. And like you, travelling more would definitely be on my list. I’d love to visit South Asia at some point, and I’d like to visit all the provinces in Canada too. ?

  16. I’m so sad because I was going to go to a Neal Shusterman event for this book last night, but then I got sick and even though I was feeling betterish last night, I wasn’t feeling well enough to drive 45 minutes to a bookish event, even for an author I adore. 🙁 NEED this book!!

  17. Rose

    I’d rather live forever. But… I think my blood fear would make the scythes want me as their apprentice, you know, because if your afraid of blood, then you would never kill some one… I meant glean.

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