The Scorpion Rules, Erin Bow (Prisoners of Peace #1)
Published: September 22nd 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: e-ARC from NetGalley
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?
I thought I was done reading any new dystopian series, but for some reason I felt compelled to request Erin Bow’s debut from NetGalley. Such a smart decision on my part! This book was excellent! I was having a really bad day and thankfully Stormy at Book Blog Bake was tweeting about this book and I decided to start reading. I nearly couldn’t put this book down!
We meet Talis in the beginning. Talis is the artificial intelligence who decides that “he” has had enough of watching humans blow each other up and takes everything under his own control. Talis has control over the Children of Peace – the children of every world leader. When two nations decide to go to war, their kings, queens, presidents or living deities do so with the knowledge that they first have just put their own child to death. Talis sounds like a horrible evil entity but he’s really thoughtful, and trying to actually save as many lives as possible. At the same time Talis kind of made me think of this….
Then we meet Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, who has been raised knowing her death could come at any time along with the death of one of her friends. I was reluctant at first to like Greta too much – knowing she could die basically from page 1 – but she was so brave despite her fears, strong in the face of terror, loyal, and so damn smart. I loved that the Precepture she’s been raised at is full of children from all over the world. These kids are all hopefully future world leaders so it’s only fitting that they’re of all race, religion and political beliefs.
The description about this book sets you up to think Greta is coming into an epic love story with a new student in the face of a war but oh no there was so much more! This book went way deeper into questions of love than I expected and choices were made that I never saw coming. I would not have thought I would become so emotionally wrapped up in questions of artificial intelligence ever but Bow had me enthralled. This book was about friendship and sexuality, about sacrifice and duty all in a terrifying future in which we fight over water.
I cannot wait to see where Bow goes with the next book! What is Talis going to do next? I need to know! Read this because I need someone to talk to about this book!
Thank you Margaret K. McElderry Books and NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review!