ARC Review: "The Scorpion Rules" by Erin Bow

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.

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?

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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...

About the author:


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.