Review Buku: Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)
Neal Shusterman
Simon & Schuster Books, 2016
Fictional Fantasy, Dystopia, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
448 pages
Goodreads

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

BLURB (via Goodreads)

Two teens are forced to murder—maybe each other—in the first in a chilling new series from Neal Shusterman, author of the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology.

In a world where disease has been eliminated, the only way to die is to be randomly killed (“gleaned”) by professional reapers (“scythes”). Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythe’s apprentices, and—despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation—they must learn the art of killing and come to understand the necessity of what they do.

Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice. And when it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another in a fight for their lives.

“Love remained mortal, while we became eternal.”

Agak telat ya sebenarnya, baru mulai baca buku ini di tahun 2020 padahal buku ini sudah ada dari sejak 2016 dan termasuk salah satu yang booming pada masanya. Total ada tiga buku dan trilogi ini sudah selesai di tahun 2019 kemarin.

Ide seri Arc of Scythe ini berbeda dari cerita fantasi biasanya. It’s something unusual, unik, bisa dibilang membawa angin segar untuk genre fantasy/dystopia/sci-fi. Settingnya di masa ketika manusia sudah berhasil sampai pada titik dimana teknologi sudah jauh lebih maju, segala jenis penyakit sudah tidak ada karena tubuh manusia sudah jauh lebih superior, yang meninggal dapat dihidupkan kembali dengan bantuan teknologi, dan yang sudah berusia lanjut dapat me’reset’ usianya kembali ke masa muda. Singkatnya manusia dapat hidup selamanya (immortal).

Untuk mengendalikan populasi manusia ini, akhirnya dibentuk lah yang namanya Scythedom, dimana tugas para scythe adalah membunuh manusia secara random. They call it gleaning, instead of killing. Yah walaupun sebenarnya maksudnya sama. Hanya lebih halus saja bahasanya. Dan jika manusia di ‘glean‘ oleh para Sycthe ini, maka mereka tidak dapat dihidupkan kembali.

Tokoh utama dari cerita ini adalah sepasang anak muda bernama Citra dan Rowan yang tanpa mereka rencanakan, tiba-tiba diangkat menjadi Scythe Apprentice. Semenjak itulah kehidupan mereka berdua berubah total.

Tak hanya ada aksi, tapi ada banyak juga pembahasan berlatar belakang filosofi, politik dan perbedaan cara pandang makna hidup di dalam buku ini. Ini yang membuat ceritanya jadi tidak membosankan. Yah memang sih di awal cerita sempat agak lambat progresnya. Tapi ngga sampai yang membuat pembaca kepingin menyerah begitu saja.

Hal yang aku sayangkan di buku ini adalah hubungan antara karakter-karakternya yang kurang terasa berkembang. Si dua tokoh utamanya contohnya. Masih bisa dimengerti sih kenapa mereka dari yang tidak kenal sama sekali akhirnya bisa menjadi teman. Tapi ngga berarti dalam cerita ini digambarkan dengan jelas bagaimana mereka akhirnya bisa tertarik pada satu sama lain. Tiba-tiba saja gitu mereka suka satu sama lain.

Terlepas dari itu, Scythe ini termasuk bacaan yang menarik. Untuk yang sudah sering membaca buku fantasi/sci-fi pasti bisa bilang buku ini agak berbeda dari biasanya. Itulah kenapa menurutku buku ini termasuk salah satu yang worth untuk dibaca dan diikuti serinya.

Review Buku: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars
Leigh Bardugo
Orion Children’s Books, 2019
Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
514 pages
Goodreads

Rating: 4 out of 5.

BLURB (via Goodreads)

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

“The monster is me and I am the monster.”

First of all, I LOVE LOVE LOVE THE COVER. Detail dan posisi embossnya eye catching banget! Buku ini jadi salah satu buku paperback atau hardcover yang wajib di koleksi.

description

Buku ini bisa dibilang merupakan kelanjutan langsung dari seri Six of Crows dan karena plot utama buku ini semuanya berhubungan dengan The Grisha Trilogy dan Six of Crows duology, ada baiknya pembaca yang baru akan memulai seri ini mulai membaca dari seri yang paling awal dulu yaitu The Grisha lalu seri Six of Crows dan baru akhirnya memulai seri Nikolai Duology ini.

Bukannya apa, supaya teman-teman pembaca at least punya pengetahuan dasar tentang Grishaverse dan bisa lebih gampang mengerti alur cerita buku ini dan sekaligus membiasakan diri dengan glosarium/istilah-istilah yang banyak akan dipakai di dalam buku ini. Belum lagi, akan ada spoiler ending The Grisha trilogy di sini. Jadi kalau mau, lebih baik baca serinya berurutan ya biar ngga ke spoiler. 😃

Kita akan terjun ke cerita lanjutan ini lewat perspektif tiga karakter: Nikolai, Zoya, dan Nina. Walau ada tiga POV tapi semuanya saling berhubungan. Dan walaupun semua karakternya menarik, tapi menurutku alur Zoya dan Nina jauh lebih seru untuk diikuti dibandingkan alur Nikolai.

Semua karakter dalam buku ini (tidak hanya Nikolai, Zoya dan Nina) bisa dibilang cukup kompleks karena mereka punya masa lalu dan masalah masing-masing. Tapi seiring dengan waktu, pembaca akan dibawa mengikuti kisah mereka, belajar tentang masa lalu mereka dan di akhir cerita akan jadi lebih mengerti tentang mereka. So you can expect a lot of development in each character.

Jangan mengharapkan terlalu banyak romance di buku ini karena sedari awal memang King of Scars ini lebih fokus ke military, war and politics. Ada sih romancenya, tapi ya sedikit banget, ibarat bumbu pemanis tambahan aja.

Sayangnya menurutku alur ceritanya agak lambat di awal. Sempat merasa bosen dan sampai kepikiran, ini serius nih bukunya Leigh Bardugo yang sudah ditunggu-tunggu banget? Karena biasanya buku Leigh Bardugo yang lain itu dari awal aja sudah berasa seru dan fast pacing. Mungkin karena beliau sedang mencoba membangun lagi world of Grisha secara pelan-pelan di buku ini? Ya seenggaknya bisa berasa nostalgia aja sih. Tapi begitu sudah ketemu pace-nya, ceritanya jadi lebih seru kok. Untung ngga keburu di DNF. 😆

Plot twist di buku ini juga menurutku ngga terlalu memberi efek yang sampai gimana banget. It’s an OK, but not that wonderful for me. Endingnya juga begitu. Intinya King of Scars ini cukup memuaskan rasa kangen dan penasaran yang muncul setelah era The Grisha trilogy dan Six of Crows duology. I really enjoy it, but I can’t say I like it better than the other books in Grishaverse. Tapi tetap saja ada rasa penasaran akan kelanjutan kisah Nikolai dkk di buku selanjutnya. And I need more Zoya and Nikolai in the next book! 😆

On the Way to You by Kandi Steiner

On the Way to You
Kandi Steiner
Createspace, 2017
Fiction, Contemporary romance, Adult
341 pages
Goodreads

Rating: 3 out of 5.

BLURB (via Goodreads)

What makes you happy?

That was the question Emery Reed asked me the day we met, and I couldn’t give him a single answer. I could have said my dog, or my books, or yoga — but I just stared.

And then, I got in his car.

It was crazy to take a road trip with a stranger, but after years of standing still, he was my one-way ticket to a new life, and I wasn’t going to miss it.

We shared the same space, the same car, the same hotel room — and still, we were strangers. One day we’d be laughing, the next, we wouldn’t speak. Emery was surrounded by impenetrable walls, but I wanted in.

Discovering his journal changed everything.

I read his thoughts, words not meant for anyone’s eyes, and the more I learned about him, the harder I fell. It turned out nothing made Emery Reed happy, and I wanted to change that.

I earned his trust by violating his privacy, and as wrong as it was, it worked — until one entry revealed a darkness I never knew existed, a timer I never knew was ticking.

Suddenly, what made me happy was saving Emery from himself. I just didn’t know if I could.

To be honest, I jumped to this book expecting a typical love story, the one that makes you squirm from every interaction between the two main characters, the one that makes you think you live on a fluffy cloud with warm sunshine and happy swarm of butterflies in your stomach. But apparently what I got was the opposite. It is a raging thunderstorm. A story full of insecurity, depression, and unpredictability.

The two main characters in this book are unique. One has a disability with disgraceful and useless parents, while the other has depression with heavy mood swings, and possibly suicidal. But how they see and deal with their individual life problems is the opposite. One is bright and positive while the other is pessimistic and emotionally volatile. But the great thing is that they turned out to be well matched and actually suit each other.

But even though this story is so tense and depressive, it is also remarkably well written. And thanks to that, I can finish reading it. It is definitely thought-provoking. Instinctively, this story forces you to think and question again whether we as ordinary human beings can actually be that strong when faced with all the flaws and imperfection in ourselves and others.

And unfortunately, no matter how promising those ideas and premises are, the story still doesn’t feel perfect for me. I just can’t ignore the biggest plot hole. It just feels so weird how someone so conservative would take the risk and just go out of the town with a stranger for more than a two-week journey. A stranger who she has just met for a couple of hours. Is she really that naive? Or just sheer dumb luck? I mean, not trying to be a killjoy or anything, but human trafficking is a real thing you know? Or maybe I’m just that type of person who don’t believe a stranger that easily. That’s why the first part of the book is just not working for me. But seriously, I’m glad everything works out for good in the end for both of the MCs.

One more thing, what is it with the ending? Why is it so rushed? Abruptly the conflict heats up, and suddenly they make up, and then the story is over. Just like that. Well, I still love the epilogue tho. It’s better than nothing.