The Toll Review: A Satisfying End to the Series

November 12, 2019 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

The Toll Review: A Satisfying End to the SeriesThe Toll by Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of a Scythe #3
Published by Walker Books Australia on November 7, 2019
Source: Publisher
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult, Fiction
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this conclusion to Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

This review may contain spoilers for the rest of the Arc of the Scythe series. Read reviews here for Scythe and Thunderhead.

It’s always satisfying and slightly terrifying delving into a series ender, especially one that I’ve loved as much as the rest of the Arc of the Scythe series. But when The Toll turned up on my doorstep, at over 600 pages, I was ready to delve in especially after the cliffhanger at the end of Thunderhead.

Although I read Thunderhead over a year ago, I was quickly familiarised with the setting of the series – where scythes are in charge of population control, and the population relies on the ominipresent, all-seeing A.I. of the Thunderhead. It was so easy picking up where we left off a year ago.

Each book just gets better

My favourite thing about this trilogy is that each book adds another layer of complexity upon a foundation that was built on the first book – Scythe introduced us to scythes, immortal beings above the law who are able to glean (i.e. kill people and remove them from existence), Thunderhead delved deeper into the self-titled A.I. being and how they assisted humans by knowing everything, while we saw the scythedom collapse into political power struggles against the new and old order.

The Toll builds upon all of these concepts – a religious sect rises to power while the rest of the human population fall into turmoil after their reliance on the Thunderhead is severed. We also see Scythe Goddard rise to power, a corrupt scythe who enjoys sacrificing human lives for his own personal gain. Safe to say, there is a lot to cover in the final book of the series, and not only does The Toll tackle all of these concepts, but we’re also taken through a journey to a final, satisfying conclusion.

Sometimes death leads to public oblivion. Other times it can make you larger than life.

So many beloved characters – new and old

I really enjoyed seeing Greyson Tolliver adopt his new role as the The Toll, a religious figurehead for The Tonists and how everything is constructed. It was kind of hilarious seeing him layer it on and play a role that everyone expected him to, but also act like the normal teenager that he is at other times.

As always I have a soft spot Rowan and Citra, or as they are now known, Scythe Lucifer and Anastasia, and their journeys never stray too far from each other. Since they became apprentices pitted against each other, their fate has always been on opposing sides, and things haven’t changed even in the last book.

It was also great to meet a new character, Jericho who is a non-binary character based on the region they are from. It was refreshing to see gender biases tackled through this character and the conversation they had with others.

When skies are clear, I choose to be a woman. When they are not, I am a man. – Jericho

The Toll is such a satisfying book and series ender to read and it is one of my favourite books of 2019! I loved seeing all the concepts from the previous two books expanded upon and the build up to the conclusion was incredibly epic and something I couldn’t have predicted. I’m definitely going to miss these characters and this world, but I’m really happy with how it ended and it gave me so many feels!

Rating: 5 out of 5

Thanks to Walker Books Australia for sending me a review copy!

The Toll is available from Australian bookstores for RRP$16.99 or from The Book Depository.


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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Tiktok@happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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5 responses to “The Toll Review: A Satisfying End to the Series

  1. Omg right!? This book was PHENOMENAL. Like just when I think Neal Shusterman can’t out-Neal-Shusterman himself, HE DOES. He is just amazing, the way he tied so many themes into this story flawlessly! And while still like, allowing us to fall in love with the characters and such! GAH so glad you loved this one too! Such a perfect series conclusion!!
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