My Favourite Books About Death

BOOKS ABOUT DEATH. They’re killers, right? I mean, metaphorically speaking. But I would also argue that each time I read a book about death, a tiny piece of me dies inside because all the ones I’ve come across are SO GOOD and they break my heart in more ways than one. So today, I just wanted to share three of my favourite books about death, and in particular, Scythe!


Scythe by Neil Shusterman

WOW. This book was absolutely mind-blowing. I’d been meaning to pick up a copy for what felt like a million years, and now that I’ve read it, I NEED THE SECOND ONE RIGHT NOW. First off, the premise of this novel was one of the most captivating synopses I’ve ever encountered. I’m fascinated by death, science-fiction / fantasy, and the future of humanity, and I was even more thrilled to find Scythe wrapped up all these things into one neat package for me to consume. And wow — I JUST DEVOURED IT. IN ONE SITTING. To me, it was the perfect blend of fantasy and earthliness; a story that was grounded in the plausible while imploring the fantastical side of your imagination to think of what our world would be like if this really WAS the future. It was just sensational.

One of the things I loved most about Scythe was how accessible it seemed, particularly to those that don’t read copious amounts of SF/F. I always find books set on Earth, no matter how unrecognisable it might seem, easier to understand and quicker to fall into — probably because I don’t have a whole new world I have to try to get my head around in the first couple of chapters. So because of that, Scythe was a book that I fell into and couldn’t get out of. It was a story that didn’t let me go until I’d finished the very last page, and it’s still something I’m thinking about. I just CAN’T WAIT to get my hands on Thunderhead.

While some people might see my next point as something that diminished their enjoyment in reading Scythe, I couldn’t disagree more. Scythe wasn’t as fast-paced or action-packed as some of the SF/F books you’re used to reading — and I LOVED THAT. It gave me time to really get to know Citra and Rowan and become fully invested in their lives as they trained as apprentices to become Scythes. It was also fascinating to learn a bit about two of the other Scythes, and while I wish I had got to know them better, I still found their lives and the snippets we learnt about them really interesting. And THAT TWIST! I certainly didn’t see that coming — WOW.

Ultimately, Scythe is an intriguing novel that will draw you into this seemingly-utopian world and hold your attention from beginning to end. This is a book about life, death, and what it means to be human — and it’s definitely one I won’t be forgetting for quite some time to come. I NEED THAT SECOND BOOK PLEASE.

Highly Commended


Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Another one of my favourite books about death is Vicious by V.E. Schwab — WHAT A SURPRISE. If you don’t know this already, a friend literally nicknamed me Mrs Schwab on Facebook. I JUST LOVE HER SO MUCH, OKAY?! And this book is no exception. Vicious is a book about superpowers that people gain from getting to the brink of death but not quite dying, and if that doesn’t entice you enough already, all the characters are delightfully Slytherin. Black and white doesn’t exist in this world — everything is grey, and that’s one of my favourite things about it. Oh, and it’s also very savage, which is marvellous. IT’S JUST SO GOOD.


They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

This book is a little less brutal and a little more heart-wrenching, but I loved it — you know, in an I-Hate-Adam-Silvera-kind of a way. This is a speculative story about what the world would be like if you got a call on the day you were going to die saying you had less than 24 hours left to live, and it’s centred around two boys — Rufus and Mateo. AND WOW. It just gave me all the feels. I think I’ve probably read this book eight times by now, and each time it just rips my heart to shreds. It’s the kind of book that ruins you, but you’ll love it at the same time. MY HEART.

Let's Talk

Have you read any of these three books? What are your favourite books about death? Do you read many books with this element? Will you be picking up any of these soon? I’d love to know!

Thanks to Walker Books Australia for providing me with a copy of Scythe in exchange for an honest review!


28 thoughts on “My Favourite Books About Death

  1. This is a really interesting post! One of my favorite books involving death is Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, which is about what happens in the after life. Great post!

  2. I haven’t read Sycthe yet but it’s on my tbr! One book I remember enjoying when I was younger was The Dead Girls Detective Agency by Suzy Cox, in which the main character has to solve her own murder.

  3. I haven’t read any of these, but Schwab’s book is on my TBR.
    My favorite book about death is The Book Thief – it was so well done! And I just found everything to be enticing in that story.
    I’ll check out the other books you mentioned, I can never have too many book recommendations, right?

  4. I haven’t read any of these books but they all sound interesting. I think John Green writes about death really well, similar to your reaction for ‘They Both Die at the End.’ I think I’ll have to pick up Silvera’s book.

  5. I’m currently reading they both die at the end (and it’s amazing) and I have vicious on my shelf which I can’t wait to read, I’ve have Scythe on my tbr to read this year (once I’ve brought it), such good choice of books! 🙂

  6. I haven’t read any of those books, but Scythe seems super interesting. I love dystopian novels! Now that you’re mentioning death, I just read two books about death, and Death (the entity) that I absolutely loved.

    The first one was Room 119 by T.F. Lince and that book is amazing! Had me turning pages till the end. It keeps you hooked and there’s mystery and wonder from start to finish. What I loved was that all the questions I had we’re answered.

    I just finished reading a dystopian/post apocalyptic novel called Wormwood by D.H. Nevins and it blew me away! There’s romance, there’s violence, Gore, sex, even angels and demons! What else could you ask for?

  7. I LOVED the idea of this post so much! I’ve been holding off from reading They Both Die at the End because everyone I know who’s read it are so heartbroken after and gahhh I can just tell I will be too. It sounds SO good though so I know I’ll have to pick it up sooner or later. 🙈😩

  8. The only one of these which I’ve read is Vicious, but I so want to read Scythe. Tbh, I didn’t like Vicious that much, it was sort of unintersting to me *sigh* My favourite books about death are probably Sabriel by Garth Nix, The Book Thief, and Mort by Terry Pratchett (all of Death’s appearances in Discworld are quality tbh)

  9. I haven’t read any of these books but I’m definitely gonna pick up a copy of Scythe now! You’ve also totally sold me on Vicious… delightfully Slytherin characters? I’m in!

    The first book about death that popped into my head was Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. Loved the bad ass death handmaiden plot alongside the slow burn romance!

  10. An interesting topic to focus on, I think death is usually treated as a bad thing in literature and isn’t often the focus. While I haven’t read any of these books yet they’re all ones I’ve heard talked about a lot and have on my TBR. I’ll definitely need to bump them up on my list and read at least one of them soon. Great list!

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