ARC Review: The Scorpion Rules

The Scorpion Rules

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Genre: Dystopian
Rating: 🌟

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 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?

“Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, humans were killing each other so fast that total extinction was looking possible, and it was my job to stop them.”

This book should have worked. It had an exceptionally clever premise, diverse characters, and a unique romance. Unfortunately, I found it to be pretty boring.

The Scorpion Rules takes place in a world governed by an artificial intelligence known as Talis. In order to keep the peace between countries and make sure war is never declared, world leaders exchange their own children as hostages. Should a country declare war on another their children will be murdered. The “Children of Peace” are raised in isolated schools known as Preceptures.

Sounds interesting, right? Sadly, for me, this is an example of a great idea but poor execution. There was a lot of info-dumps, and unfortunately, it didn’t make a lot of sense to me. And while I appreciate the diversity in the characters I felt like there were too many names and they all sort of blurred together for me, there was nothing unique about any of them. Greta (the MC) was supposed to be a sort of leader to all the other Children of Peace, but I seriously could not tell the difference between her and all the other children.

But what bothered me the most though was the writing. It was especially awkward and flat. And the pacing. I learned way more about farming and goats than I needed to. To me there was just nothing really exciting this story. Seriously, the best part of this book was the prologue.

one star

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