Title: The Scorpion Rules
Author: Erin Bow
Genre: Sci-Fi, YA
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster
Date published: September 22, 2015, June 7, 2016 (Reprint)
Page Count: 400
Source: Personal purchase
Summary: Greta is a Duchess and a Crown Princess. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Start a war and your hostage dies.
The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered.
Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. His rebellion opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power.
Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to deliver punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed…unless Greta can think of a way to break all the rules.
I really really really enjoyed this book!
I was not entirely sure what to expect when first opening The Scorpion Rules, because I try to avoid reading others’ reviews when I intend to read and review a book (so as to keep my reactions and thoughts as original as possible), and because I’ve never heard anything about it from any of my bookish friends. (Though this does not mean that none of them have read it, but rather that I did not go out of my way to find out, and that none of them went out of their way to share their opinions, if they did read it).
So with that out of the way (I always feel a need to explain myself, haha), I shall get on with telling you about the book!
First of all, I am very very happy that this is a Canadian book, as I am vying to read and review more Canadian books. And I am also happy that it is YA, and sci-fi YA at that! I’m not often drawn to contemporary anything, and have been attracted to YA more than anything lately, so The Scorpion Rules was the perfect fit for me in that sense!
In keeping with the topic of Canadian-ness, I also loved that there are Canadian locations and setting in the book! Don’t get me wrong. I love books written by authors who are not Canadian, and I enjoy non-Canadian settings too, but due to a lot of the Canadian fiction which I come across being contemporary, and me staying away from it therefore, it is rare for me to encounter Canadian settings in books.
I was a bit surprised to find that the book is written 95% in first person (don’t ask me why I was surprised, because I don’t know), but then as I read the book, I understood why Erin Bow chose first person. I do not think that the story would have worked quite the same, if the narrative style had been different. So, although I am not a fan of first person, I did enjoy it in this case, and also understood the authors choice to use first person.
The characters in The Scorpion Rules were extremely memorable! I mean very much so. I usually have a hard time remembering character names (even the protagonist), if I don’t really click with a book. Or if a book is more focused on events and setting, than characters and character actions. But even now, a few days after having finished the book, I can still name each and every character which I encountered during this reading experience! I also want to mention that the characters were very diverse, in many a sense (and cannot say anything more without spoiling…a lot!)
The book’s setting was quite unique, and memorable also, as one of the settings was the prairies of Saskatchewan. The actual place where the Children of Peace were kept was also quite original, and I especially loved the goats! (You’ll understand once you read the books, and then we can giggle about it together!) It was very easy to imagine this setting, although it was set in the far far future, and I think that it is a location which I will remember for a long time.
The pacing was very good, as was the writing itself. I found the writing to switch from very emotional, to very scientific, which although it sounds like it might be confusing, actually worked really well. I found that it was quite evident that Erin Bow has a science background when she would explain certain mechanical or science-y things. I found the style overall to be quite enjoyable.
I am currently reading the companion book to The Scorpion Rules, which is titled The Swan Riders, and I cannot wait to see what happens to all of the characters which now have a special place in my heart. And you can expect a review of The Swan Riders soon!
And I highly recommend this book to lovers of Sci-Fi, Action, and Romance!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Here are 10 things about Erin Bow, as they are listed on her Goodreads profile:
1. I’m a physicist turned poet turned YA novelist.
2. I am world-famous in Canada, which is kind of like being world-famous in real life.
3. I wrote a book about Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy: THE SCORPION RULES, Simon & Schuster Fall 2015
4. I wrote a not-at-all-cute book with a talking cat in it: PLAIN KATE (called WOOD ANGEL in the UK), Scholastic Fall 2010
5. I wrote a book about cat’s cradles that can repel spirit zombies: SORROW’S KNOT, Scholastic Fall 2013
6. All these books will make you either cry on the bus or snort milk out your nose. I am dangerous to your dignity and should be stopped.
7. I think Hufflepuff is the best house, Xander was the best Scoobie, Five was the best Doctor, and Spock was the best everything.
8. I am married to another novelist, and we can actually pay our bills.
9. My daughters want to be scientists.
10. My bookshelves will always be full.
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