The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Series: Prisoners of Peace, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Pansing
Buy: Available at all good bookstores!

The world is at peace, said the Utterances. And really, if the odd princess has a hard day, is that too much to ask?

Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.

Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.

As Greta and Elián watch their nations tip closer to war, Greta becomes a target in a new kind of game. A game that will end up killing them both—unless she can find a way to break all the rules.

I knew even before I picked up this book that it was going to be unlike anything I’ve read before. It’s such an interesting concept: what role the UN has in the future, how children are hostages to the UN and killed when war is waged...there’s no wonder why I wanted this book so badly. After reading it, I only then saw that there was kind of a connection to Neuromancer by William Gibson, especially concerning the AI’s and the presence of multiple nationalities–the idea of a global society. There was so much that happened in this book and it was a journey like no other.

Some people have said that this book could have worked as a standalone, and after finishing it, I can see why. However, I’m just glad there’s another book coming because this world that Bow has introduced us to is absolutely amazing and I just want to keep uncovering more. Like I mentioned, a lot happens in this book and I kept thinking that the story was going to end only to see that there was half a book more to finish, and so much more happens.

However, while I did like the world we were placed in, I had a few problems with this novel and Greta’s character was one of them. It’s not that our protagonist wasn’t a great character, it’s just that I feel like after reading this one I look back and try to think about what makes her stand out and I come up with nothing–she’s kind of lacking a voice. Her character does go through a great ordeal, but nothing sets her apart from everyone else and other than some of the “dream” sequences and changes she goes through, there’s nothing of real significance to hold on to. Xie, on the other hand, is a SUPER interesting character. Even Elián was a cool character and was really funny. Talis was probably the best thing in this book–super witty and sarcastic with one liners that made me wanna yell OH SNAP. But Greta? I’m left feeling neutral concerning her because while I didn’t hate her, she didn’t come off as someone who stands out from the rest.

The blurb is definitely a little misleading when it conveys the possibility of romance in this book. There is a *love triangle* but it’s not really love-triangle-y in the usual sense. I can’t really say much about it, but it’s not as prominent as it is in other books. It’s definitely interesting, I will say that much.

While there isn’t a lack of diversity in this book (which is a good thing!), I’m just slightly disappointed in the fact that The Scorpion Rules wasn’t as diverse as it could have been. I mean, come on–this book is basically the epitome of a book that should have a global cast. And it does... it’s juts that Elián and Greta are basically the main characters, both white, from North America (at least that’s what I garnered). I mean, this book has a cast from all around the world. Xie is a pretty big character and she’s ruler of Asia, but otherwise the other characters of colour are just ones that pop up from time to time. What I’m trying to say all in all is that there definitely should have been a larger role for those other Children of Peace from other parts of the world.

I have to also admit this: I did get a bit lost in the middle. It might have been the fact that I started and finished this book in two or three sittings within one day, but I definitely couldn’t follow some parts because they were kind of all over the place. At some point I later come to understand everything that had transpired but otherwise it was a complete mess for me trying to visualise the situation.

All in all though, this book was quite the experience. A unique concept paired with complex and rich world-building and a story that reels you in from the first words, The Scorpion Rules is a worthwhile read. I’m glad the story will continue in one way or another because Erin Bow sure can craft an amazing story.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha at Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

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1 comment:

  1. The first time I read about this book I was dying to read it, but then I started reading bad reviews and I somehow lost my interest. It sounds good, though. Maybe I'll give it a try soon.
    Great review!


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