Scythe is a solid first entry in the Arc of a Scythe series by the always dependable Neal Shusterman.

Set a few hundred years in the future, Earth is now a utopia, with the Thunderhead as an all-knowing technological entity. Death has been conquered, but to combat overpopulation, the use of sanctioned killer Scythes are utilized to “glean” humanity. Two teens, Citra and Rowan, are apprenticed to Scythe Faraday to learn the art of killing. As the scythes are essentially above the law of the Thunderhead, much infighting and political posturing occur at their quarterly meetings. The two teens are told only one will be approved to scythe and the winner needs to glean the other. Chosen for their moral strength, they are both devastated at this edict, for they have also developed romantic feelings for one another. New developments occur, and the teens are split up to work with other scythes until the meeting in which the final decision will be made as to whom wins.

This is an excellent series, although it did contain some predictable plot twists, there are a few evil scythes that are caricatures and the romance between Citra and Rowan was lukewarm. Despite my criticisms, I definitely will be continuing with the trilogy to see what becomes of the two new scythes and the future of humanity.