Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion Rules by Erin BowThe Scorpion Rules
by Erin Bow
Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster

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Most of Greta’s memories are from her time spent at the Precepture as a Child of Peace. Though she’s the crown princess of the Pan-Polar kingdom, she and other child royals live together in the secluded school. If their countries declare war on one another, their lives will be forfeit. For Greta, whose homeland stands on the brink of war, reaching adulthood seems an impossibility.

When a new boy enters the Precepture, he’s bound and determined not to let the system dominate him. Greta’s always been careful to follow the rules, but now she finds herself challenged by Elián’s behavior. As their nations inch ever closer to war, he talks of escaping the compound. Hope and terror battle within Greta, but she may not have time to decide the victor before she’s called upon to fulfill her duty.

Wow. Just wow. I devoured this book, page after page as quickly as I could. When I had to put it down, the story stayed in my head. Each of the characters has this really deep individual personality and each really added something significant to the story. I liked that the AI characters didn’t follow the clichéd norms for speech and behavior. The premise – that AI rule earth from a satellite – is really original, and Bow executes the plot with clockwork precision. As each new conflict tore through the tale, I found myself deeper and deeper invested in the lives of the Children of Peace.

The ending definitely set the stage for a follow-up novel. It was intense without seeming like a cliffhanger for its own sake. The ending resolved the crucial conflict but definitely left plenty of things unresolved for the next tale.

If you’re looking for a book that has a diverse, well-drawn set of characters and a strong cerebral feel, this is definitely a book you want to read. Fans of These Broken Stars by Aimee Kaufman and Meagan Spooner or Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee should add this novel to their to-be-read lists.

Language Content
Extreme profanity used very infrequently.

Sexual Content
References to sneaking out at night to have sex, called “going coyote.” A girl confesses that she’d become pregnant and was forced to miscarry. Kissing – girl/girl and boy/girl.

Spiritual Content

References to complete cities being obliterated. Greta remembers one of the Children of Peace who committed suicide and briefly describes what happened. (He used a pitchfork. There was a lot of blood.) Robot minders use electric shocks to keep one rowdy kid in line. A drug is used to induce nightmares in other children who won’t behave. A female hostage is queued for torture. It’s intense but doesn’t get super gruesome.

Drug Content
See sexual content and violence.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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