If you’ve read Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe series, you know that it is truly unforgettable. In the future he’s imagined, all diseases can be cured, all injuries can be healed, and even old age can be reversed. Death is no longer inevitable, but must be inflicted by Scythes to keep the population under control. These books combine so many fascinating genres (speculative fiction, dystopian, horror, political thriller, high-stakes action/adventure), and they leave you desperate for more. Here are some places to start!
Series to Read if You Love Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe
1. The Skinjacker trilogy by Neal Shusterman
Before Neal Shusterman wrote Arc of the Scythe, he gave us the Skinjacker trilogy, and it won’t surprise you to know that it also has a lot to do with death. In the Skinjacker trilogy, kids who die linger in Everlost, a limbo made up of all of the things and places that no longer exist in the living world. It’s a magical, dangerous place where bands of lost kids run wild. If you were intrigued by Neal Shusterman’s speculative takes on life and death in Arc of a Scythe, you’ll love to see the beginnings of those ideas here.
2. The Program series by Suzanne Young
In Arc of a Scythe, no amount of self-inflicted harm can kill a person. In fact, “splatting” is a fun hobby for thrill seekers. But in The Program series, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the dystopian solutions are potentially even more threatening to humanity as we know it. If discussions about how we process life and death appeal to you, The Program should be your next read.
3. The Diabolic trilogy by S. J. Kincaid
The Scythedom was always ruled by twisty politics, and it reminds us of the brutal court politics in The Diabolic Trilogy. This series follows Nemesis, a bodyguard created to protect the daughter of a galactic senator, as she takes the place of her charge in a court filled with schemers and liars, trying desperately to keep her identity a secret. It’s Red Queen meets The Hunger Games in a fast-paced series you won’t be able to put down.
4. Girls with Sharp Sticks series by Suzanne Young
Arc of a Scythe is all about imagining what it would be like to live under totally outlandish social rules that begin to feel normal. In the Girls with Sharp Sticks trilogy, Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale when the girls at a boarding school begin to realize that there is more to their strict environment than meets the eye. And once the dark secrets are revealed, the girls must learn to fight back. Read the first two books now to get ready for the finale, GIRLS WITH REBEL SOULS, in March 2021!
5. Liars series by Jack Heath
If Arc of a Scythe’s high-stakes action scenes thrilled you, the Liars series will be the perfect next step. When Jarli builds an app that listens in on your conversations and tells you when someone is lying, he becomes an overnight sensation. But fame can be dangerous, especially when you’re in the business of exposing deep, dark secrets.
6. The Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin
Since Arc of a Scythe is all about life and death, it has an inherent spookiness to it. If that was your favorite part, you should check out the Mara Dyer series, which amps up the eerie and also the romance. Mara can’t remember the night her friends died. All she knows is that the abandoned asylum collapsed and she was the only survivor. But now she’s seeing things that can’t possibly be real, and a boy at school seems to know more about her past than she does.
7. This Mortal Coil series by Emily Suvada
Speculative fiction can get too real sometimes—or just real enough. Cat is a gifted gene-hacker, and when her brilliant geneticist father is kidnapped, it is up to her to hack the vaccine he was working on, end a terrible plague, and save humanity. But everyone around her has an agenda, and Cat will have to decide whom to trust when even her own integrity is suspect. This near-future world that has been twisted by one small change will appeal to readers who love the speculative elements of Arc of a Scythe with plenty of action on the side.
8. Rot & Ruin series by Jonathan Maberry
The Rot & Ruin series is another great pick for anyone who appreciated the speculative/horror/adventure combination from Arc of a Scythe. Benny trains as a zombie killer with his big brother, and killing the undead may—somehow—lead to discovering what it means to be human.