The Toll: Book Review

While not perfect, The Toll is a satisfying ending to one of the most unique and intense YA trilogies I’ve read this year.
Rating: 4 Stars

The Toll
Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Synopsis: In the highly anticipated finale to the New York Times bestselling trilogy, dictators, prophets, and tensions rise. In a world that’s conquered death, will humanity finally be torn asunder by the immortal beings it created?

Citra and Rowan have disappeared. Endura is gone. It seems like nothing stands between Scythe Goddard and absolute dominion over the world scythedom. With the silence of the Thunderhead and the reverberations of the Great Resonance still shaking the earth to its core, the question remains: Is there anyone left who can stop him?

The answer lies in the Tone, the Toll, and the Thunder

The Toll is an epic tome in more ways than one. First, it’s a beast in size, clocking in at 627 pages, which might not sound like much to some, but the book is thicc. Second, it’s epic in scope and story. The sheer expansion of the world is at times fascinating, but sometimes it seems plodding. The thing with this series is Schusterman always has a reason to show you a random POV. Always. It’s just not always evident why this random POV is important at first and it can throw you a little out of the story. Schusterman has done this in all the Scythe books, but it feels more prevalent in The Toll because while reading all I cared about was Citra, Rowan, and Greyson.

And now we hit one of my issues with this book: the lack of Rowan. Both Citra and Greyson were given fantastic plots through the story and Rowan was just sort of…around. It felt like Schusterman had great ideas for Citra and Greyson but couldn’t fit Rowan into them. Rowan was all but forgotten and given random scraps of plot that either served to bolster another character’s plot or felt completely random. And while I enjoyed Citra and Greyson’s stories, I constantly felt the absence of Rowan.

There really is too much going on in this book and to critique every aspect of the story would leave us with a review almost as long as the book (and it would be rife with spoilers). I will say that I was about 90% satisfied with the ending. It was intense and tragic and brilliant. There were a few little things I would have liked to have played out differently, but you can’t satisfy everyone. The way everything wrapped up was pretty gosh darn genius and I wish I knew if Schusterman knew it was going to end this way the whole time.

This book was not perfect. But the way it closed this series, that was nearly perfect. I think there are certain things in this book that will bother people, but everyone reads things differently. I feel like my enjoyment at reading the end of this series would be a 4.75 star, but my actual critical rating would be 3.5. So, I’ve rounded it out to 4 stars. If you’ve been a fan of this series from the start, you’ll most likely love this final book. If you’ve only hate read the series, then you’ll probably find more kindling for your spiteful fire. Either way, The Toll is one heck of a read.

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