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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: The Scorpion Rules

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
The Scorpion Rules (The Prisoners of Peace #1)
by Erin Bow
YA Science Fiction
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace - sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals - are raised together in small, isolated schools called Preceptures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war.

Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Precepture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace, even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world’s most war-worthy resource — water — she has little chance of reaching adulthood alive.

Enter Elián Palnik, the Precepture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Precepture’s insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewards, can make no dent in Elián, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn’t even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages.

What will happen to Elián and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war?


This is a novel with a premise that sounds pretty familiar.  Dystopian setting, broken ideals, and teens who hold the future in their hands.  But the story immediately starts with the character that I found the most interesting  - Talis.  The artificial intelligence who was asked to find a solution to the problem of worldwide conflict and did it by taking over the world.  It's the kind of justice that actually appeals to me, even though it sets up some pretty terrible consequences.  And that sort of hazy line between good and evil makes this a fascinating read.  Because when the big conflict happens, it's difficult to know who to root for.  The story takes the well known tropes of a dystopian novel and twists it into something very realistic.

For me, however, the story takes a bit of time to really get going.  The school that Greta lives in, as well as her students and the sort of world-building information we need to understand what's at stake is necessarily gone over, but pacing-wise, I felt like the last half of the book was so different from the first.  It certainly did not help that I found Talis so interesting (he's a snarky, all powerful AI!) I wanted to read more of him, and had to wait awhile before he made a proper entrance into the story.

There is romance in this novel which was sweet, and thankfully not insta-love, as again expectation is set up a certain way when it comes to the tropes in the novel, but it does not go in that direction at all.  The novel also features diversity which helped to augment the world-building of the book, and make it more realistic, as well as make this a refreshing read.

The story moves in so many unexpected directions, and features some likable, engaging characters, that I found it a wonderful read overall.  The ramifications of the ending is so complex too, that I'm eager to see where the story goes in the second book.

(I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review.  I was not compensated for this review.)

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