Hello. I am not dead. So, The Toll. I read it. It's the first book I've read in months. Woo. Bella and I have sorta gone through the ringer these past couple of days, week, months- ...
- Emotional Trauma4.0
Hello. I am not dead. So, The Toll.
I read it.
It’s the first book I’ve read in months. Woo.
Bella and I have sorta gone through the ringer these past couple of days, week, months- basically the year. Time has not been kind to us, and after a lot of personal growth and emotional turmoil, we’re back! Hopefully.
Okay, now onto the book. I was ecstatic when this book came out. I adored Scythe, was morbidly enthused about Thunderhead, and couldn’t wait to read the conclusion of the series. After the release, I got The Toll on my trip to New York, though I didn’t pick it up until finals week, where I read it after I finished my tests and also at home while I was stalling to avoid studying for said tests.
Here’s my review for Scythe:
And here’s my review for Thunderhead:
Like with all of Neal Shusterman’s books, the ending delivered, and overall, I really enjoyed reading it. However, that didn’t stop me from having some… hangups.
Onto the review. Which I know how to do. Definitely.
Keeping this relatively spoiler-free, I’m going to keep this section short and sweet. Right off the bat, the world-building was incredible. Like always, the laws, moral integrity of the Thunderhead, the inner workings of the scythedom, and all the inventive, futuristic methods of function in the post-mortal society are really fun to read about. I can’t commend the author enough for the masterful interpretation of a resident AI: compassionate but not all-knowing, and this entry in the series really showcased the limitations of the Thunderhead.
The Thunderhead, unlike in the other novels, experiences very, very human-like emotions, and it’s super cool to see how something born out of technology can mimic the human experience, too.
The symbolism, like always, is great. Fantastic. Especially within the Tonist religion. Super cool. All the props.
However- like always, I’m amazing at complaining-, it was slow. Just like Thunderhead, there’s a definite sense of build-up in The Toll– as in, it’s all set-up. It’s chapter after chapter of disagreements and hints that characters know more than they’re letting on and Goddard being insane and… oh, it’s the climax of the book.
That’s not to say the climax of the novel doesn’t deliver because, let me tell you, it does.
It’s action-packed and I was on-and-off crying, sending furious Snapchats to Bella, who was rightfully concerned when I kept flip-flopping from, “That HURT my FEELINGS,” to, “I think it’s okay,” to, “IT’S NOT NICE AGAIN.” Sorry about that, by the way.
Basically, a lot of it needs the reader to dig a little deeper (cue The Princess and the Frog), but I really just wanted to know what was happening during the present.
I love every single person in this novel. Besides Goddard, but what’s new, his voice gives me hives. Disgusting. Vile. All the things.
The new characters were fun, full of personality, and all served a purpose. Jeri, in particular, I really liked, especially in tandem with Greyson. A lot of good dynamics here, and if there’s one thing I love, it’s good character dynamics.
Now, onto the ‘however.’
My favorite characters, Faraday and Rowan, were in this for 0.5 seconds. Don’t get me wrong, every scene they were in was incredible, but since they are two-thirds of the heart of this series, I expected them to go through arcs of their own. I wanted to be there with them as they went through the multiple years this book took place over. Instead, I got maybe five chapters of Rowan being amazing but really sad and five chapters of Faraday being iconic but really sad. Not nice.
When the characters are together, they’re really, really good. Like, I squealed. Chirped. Snorted. Made all the animal noises. I was the whole farm. But those moments were few and in-between.
To end this on a positive note, I really loved the endings the characters got. They all fit the characters really nicely and I was not disappointed in the slightest.
Just. Read the book. It’s good.
The ENDING DON’T GET ME STARTED
I needed to dedicate an entire section to the ending because on this blog I am God and everyone must fall victim to my wrath and endless mercy. And since I am a benevolent god that serves their people, I’m giving you a rant about the ending. No need to thank me, just enjoy it.
(This was a JOKE. Mom, please don’t get MAD AT ME IT WAS A JOKE.)
Anyway, The Toll gave me EMOTIONAL WHIPLASH. I was INCONSOLABLE and then I was ELATED and then I was DEVASTATED and then finally, when all hope seemed lost, I was at peace. I could rest.
Actually, no, I shouldn’t say that, I’m so mean to myself, I don’t have time to go into another I’m-Marvel-Trash-And-I-Miss-Tony-Stark escapade.
Emotions were running high, things were insane, and for a moment I really, really thought Neal Shusterman was going to leave my heart under the pile of rubble and pain he had thrust upon it but, by the grace of all that is mighty, I was resurrected from the metaphorical ditch of trash I was in for the purposes of this analogy and placed on ground-level once more.
Christ on a cracker, Neal, way to give me stress acne.
To conclude, this book was a trip. Like, a direct flight to The Feels™. But- and there always is one-, it was one I’d take again. Read The Toll if you like good books, which I assume you do. It’d be really sad if you liked bad books.
Alright, kiddies, that’s all for today. Until next time… which should be sometime soon. Maybe. Probably not.
Eh, I’ve never been one for wishful thinking.