Sunday, 30 August 2015

Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion RulesThe Scorpion Rules

Author: Erin Bow
Series: -
Pages: 384
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry
Release date: 22nd September 2015
Source: Edelweiss

Synopsis (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 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?

Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This book started out so slowly for me so it was almost a DNF but I am really pleased I persisted because I found the concept to be interesting and unique amongst other books in the genre at the moment.

Premise: Artificial intelligence (AI), Talis keeps order among mankind's opposing countries – with the first rule of stopping war by making it personal.
The children of the world leaders are held in Preceptures until they are eighteen years old or until their parents declare war.

Characters: The main character is Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy; a kind, responsible and considerate character she was stoic and selfless. The newest hostage to the Precepture was Elián Palnik who is sarcastic with a hot temper; we also meet a number of other secondary characters, who all play a pivotal part in the overall story such as Xie, Elias and Da-Xia. Talis was also wonderfully characterised.

World & plot – The plot is intricate and full of surprise twists but could also be quite confusing at times, I could never quite guess what was going on. The world we are introduced to was well constructed, environmental changes and war has forced leaders in to an ancient method of keeping peace through hostage transfers and we learn a lot about the tyrannical system under Talis’s reign in this futuristic world, I got more of a sci-fi political feel rather than dystopian with this title.

Writing – Wonderful! Erin Bow’s writing style is masterful and enjoyable; I was hooked on every word of this powerful, terrifying, dark and gritty story. The Scorpion Rules was a thought provoking read.

Thank you to Margaret K. McElderry books via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow.


Erin BowAbout the author: TEN THINGS ABOUT ME: 

1. I'm a physicist turned poet turned YA novelist.

2. I am world-famous in Canada, which is kind of like being world-famous in real life. 

3. I wrote a book about Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy: THE SCORPION RULES, coming fall 2015 from Simon and Schuster. 

4. I wrote a not-at-all-cute book with a talking cat in it: PLAIN KATE (called WOOD ANGEL n the UK), Fall 2010

5. I wrote a book about cat's cradles that can repel spirit zombies: SORROW'S KNOT, Fall 2013

6. All these books will make you either cry on the bus or snort milk out your nose. I am dangerous to your dignity and should be stopped. 

7. I think Hufflepuff is the best house, Xander was the best Scoobie, Five was the best Doctor, and Spock was the best everything.

8. I am married to another novelist, and we can actually pay our bills. 

9. My daughters want to be scientists. 

10. My bookshelves will always be full.


  1. Thanks for the informative review :)

  2. Yey, I'm excited to see this review! It's good to know that the slow start pays off ;-). Really if I have gorgeous writing and an interesting concept, I'm all set and I haven't read any of Bow's previous books, so this seems like a good place to start :D


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