Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Scorpion Rules

By: Erin Bow

(From Goodreads)
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?


      Right off the bat, this book had me gripped. This book had such a fresh idea that had never done before, and I just had to get my hands on it. In order to become a ruler, you must give up one of your children or grandchildren under the age of 18, although usually they are very young. Your child/grandchild is then held hostage at one of the many preceptures around the world. If you decide to go to war with another country or region, a swan rider will kill your hostage and the hostage of the country you are going to war with.

      The prologue told a story with such brutality and the narrator told it as if killing people was nothing. It was really disturbing. Later you learn more about the narrator. His name is Talis. Talis basically took over the world. People view as some sort of god, but just by reading some of the things he said and the rules that he made, you can tell that he is twisted and cocky.

       In the first chapter, all of the children of the rulers were standing in a class room and saw dust in the distance coming towards them. Although none of the characters admit it (they think they have to keep the image that they are royalty or children of leaders), There is this feeling of terror, because they know that a swan rider is coming to kill two of them. The hostages don't even know what happens to the hostages that are killed. They are just taken into the "grey room" and they never come back. The hostages are sent home 3 times a year to keep up relations with their parents. It wouldn't be good if their bond with their child went away. If it did, then Talis couldn't manipulate the leaders anymore. The hostages are monitored 24/7 by AIs (artificial intelligence robots) and by a tower called the Panopticon, which is kind of like an all seeing eye.

      I enjoyed this book, but not as much as I thought I would. You know how when you hear about a book and you are so excited for it because you already have an idea of what could happen in your head? That was how it was for me. The book went in a different direction then I thought it would. Although there were all of these horrific things happening, Greta and the other hostages didn't really react. I think it was because they have had the idea of not fighting hammered into them so much, that they almost separated themselves from what was happening, which made it really difficult to connect with them. I did really like Elian though. I think he was the  most human character in the book. He is constantly fighting and rebelling, but he was still himself after all the things that happened to him. I also liked the goats. I know, I know. Its kind of a weird thing to bring up, but the goats were really funny. Their names were absolutely hilarious and I loved how Greta kept making dialogue for the goats. It made them really entertaining.
      Another thing that I didn't really like about this book was the fact that in the beginning, there wasn't that much description. One example is when they introduced the Abbot. I imagined him as a normal human being, but later I found out that he had a face screen and all of these pieces of technology in him, and I had to completely change the way that I pictured him. Also there wasn't much description of the precepture its self. I am the kind of person who likes to be able to imagine everything perfectly, and when there is no description, I have to imagine it on my own. Then later down the road, I read that the garden was on the right and the animals were on the left and I have to switch how I imagined it to make it right.

      Despite the flaws in this book, I did enjoy it. Did it blow me away? No. But I really loved the moral of the story and how easily this story could become reality. I feel like books have to have some darkness to it in order for it to have any real depth and for us to learn anything from it. It was an eye opening book that everyone should read. If this book sounds interesting to you, give it a try!!! Maybe you'll like it more than I did.     

Disclaimer: I received a free arc copy from Goodreads in a giveaway in exchange for an honest review.


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