The Scorpion Rules
by Erin Bow
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Liberty Bay Books
Expected Date of Publication: September 22, 2015
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 Prefectures. 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 Prefecture. 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 Prefecture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Prefecture’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?
I read this one a while ago so this review is going to be a shorter, less detailed one compared to some of my others
I was no where near prepared for what this book had in store. The synopsis did not prepare me for the surprise genre. I won’t spoil it for you guys, all I will say is that I didn’t realize that was what genre the book was going to be, but in the end I found myself liking it.
There is a love triangle and I really hated it. That was because one of them began rather suddenly and although it was rooted in their pasts together, since we never got to read about any of that time, it felt very out-of-the-blue to the reader. However I grew to like that relationship almost more than the other. For the sake of making this easy without spoiling it all let’s call the relationship I just went into detail about Relationship A, and the other one, Relationship B. I was totally team B, just because I loved the love interest in B. However, Relationship B never really got developed. At all. There were maybe two short scenes that made their feelings clear, but you never got to see how Greta felt, if she reciprocated the feelings ect. Also nothing ever really happened, it never went anywhere. It kind of made me feel like “Why is this even a love interest/ relationship? Why is this something I need to read about? This isn’t even a real (love) relationship!” It was just unnecessary and poorly done in my opinion.
However, all the characters were exquisite. They had detailed personalities, depth, and were well developed, unlike their relationships.
The book was actually pretty diverse in many ways. I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll leave it at that. I thought it was really cool that it was such a diverse book without touting the fact. It felt natural and didn’t make a big deal out of the fact that there was diversity, it didn’t dwell on it or try to make any of it into a preach-y lesson. It was done very well.
The plot was pretty darn well done too, until we started to get towards the ending. Then it just all went downhill and straight into the land of overly predictable. That was when I started to get cranky, I tried to stay optimistic and tell myself that there could still be a big plot twist at the end that will turn this all around and stun me. Unfortunately it went exactly how I expected and exactly how it sounded like it was going to go.
The ending was as flat as flat can be and a major disappointment.
The whole concept of this book was absolutely amazing. It was incredibly unique and I haven’t read anything like it. It was a whole new approach to the art of war that made SO MUCH SENSE. Not that I condone taking hostages, but the whole premise of the book was so well rooted in history and logic that I could totally imagine it happening someday in real life or at least some parts.
The world building was fairly good. There weren’t long huge info dumps all in one dialog. The way the information was incorporated worked quite well. It did have a big section of setup/background history before the book started, but it was actually really engaging and not at all boring and hard to follow, so I didn’t mind.
The book was surprisingly humorous for being such a intense story with all the tension and talk of life or death and war or peace. It wasn’t like it was funny all the time, if it had been that would have been distasteful, rather there were just little comedic notes thrown in periodically to shake things up.
Last words: Despite me utter disappointment in the ending and the vexing love triangle, I found this book to be absolutely enthralling. Like no other and beautifully diverse, The Scorpion Rules takes on major life topics with an unheard of ease and poise. Intense yet tastefully humorous, this book is a thought provoking and beautifully diverse tale.
Unfortunately the two major problems I had were, well major, so much so that I was forced to lower my rating to 4 out of 5 stars.