Friday, August 26, 2016

#Friday Review - The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (YA, Science Fiction-Dystopian)

Series: Prisoners of Peace # 1
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: YA, Science Fiction/Dystopian

The world is at peace, said the Utterances. And really, if the odd princess has a hard day, is that too much to ask?
Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.
Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.
As Greta and Elián watch their nations tip closer to war, Greta becomes a target in a new kind of game. A game that will end up killing them both—unless she can find a way to break all the rules. 

The Scorpion Rules is the first installment in the Prisoners of Peace duology by author Erin Bow. In the beginning, Global Warming caused the Polar ice caps to melt and flood entire countries. This lead to massive population migrations, which strained water and food sources. People started killing each other. Regional wars popped up. Then an AI  known as Talis decided to step in and save humanity from itself. He destroyed whole cities to send a message that enough was enough. He made wars personal by killing the children of those who made the decisions to go to war, instead of suing for peace. 

400 years later, Talis has maintained the fragile peace by taking children as hostages and keeping them in a place called Precepture until they reach Eighteen. Every world leader is required to send their heirs to a place where they are taught to avoid wars at all costs. In this world, heirs are called Children of Peace and attend school where they are taught history and politics. Every single day those like Greta Stuart, who has been at the Precepture since she was 5, Gregori, Li Da-Xia, Han, Thandi, and Atta know that if their parents declare war on another country, they will be taken away by the Swan Riders and killed.

As with everything, change must happen. So, when Elián Palnik, from the Cumberland Alliance, arrives and claims that he not going to follow the status quo, things get rather interesting. Elián learns the high cost of rebellion, as do the rest of his fellow Children of Peace. They each face their own form of punishment as a result of his rebellion. When Elián's Grandmother declares war on Greta's country and invades the Precepture, both know that they will be dead shortly. That is the price of living in a world where AI's control everything, including weapons from space that can easily level entire cities.

The cast of characters in The Scorpion Rules are diverse as it comes. They are just as important as Greta and Elián to the overall scheme of things. The romance in this book could be considered a bit on the evil side. Greta may have feelings for Elián, but there's little doubt that Li Da-Xia is as important if not more to Greta. Especially after she makes a choice that changes her from human to AI in order to save those she loves. This is a book that is filled with ideas that SJW around the globe believe in, especially when it comes to access to clean, drinkable water. In this reality, the Children of Peace not only grow their own food, but are responsible goats, yes goats as well.

I was hesitant to read this book due in large part to the range of negative reviews that I have seen across the spectrum. I finished this book to see if I should bother reading the sequel called Swan Riders. I still haven't come up with a good answer to that question. I think this book could have been a bit better on the world building. I would have liked to learn more about Greta's other COP that are just as important as she is. I would like to know why the twist in the romance was necessary. I have a feeling that it won't continue beyond this book. I could be wrong.

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