The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary 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.
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
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?
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I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
When I first encountered this book, I found it very refreshing, knowing that AI was involved. It felt like reading the YA version of "Terminator" along with a mix of all post world war futuristic movies.
When Talis, the AI set from UN, who is responsible as a defense system, takes over the wolrd he sets rules, with which peace can be kept and war can be prevented.
Those who take the power must give their children as hostages of war to Talis. The children are kept in specific locations away from their homes and when and if there is a declaration of war one of them must die.
Pretty scary right? It put me instantly into heart breaking mode because I thought that something like that was going to happen! But the book surprised me.
Greta, the main protagonist is one of the hostages and centuries after the first laws which Talis has set, finds out that Elian's country is going to war with her own nation. From there begins a spiral of emotions actions and secrets are revealed.
I expected Greta to fall for Elian but the author surprised me turning the events in a different way, which I am not going to spoil to you. I was in the verge of tears with every turning page, wanting to reach the end.
Talis was also a nice distraction in the drama, with his cocky attitude for an AI and the way he used his power over the planet. The ending? It was bittersweet for me, making me wonder if that was the final page or if a sequel will come.
Balance was restored in the story but it felt unfair for me and especially for Greta to end like this. It was a great book but I didn't expect it to end with tears...
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