ARC Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

11516221The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace #1)

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 received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book in the least.
Usually, I start my reviews by stating what I like about the book I’m reviewing.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much about this book that I liked.  I had to force myself to finish so it didn’t become a DNF.  I should have stuck with my instincts and just stopped reading.  So today, I’m going to work backwards and tell you what I didn’t like first.


What I didn’t like

The Characters

Now, I didn’t hate these characters.  In fact, in the beginning, I was very intrigued by the plight of these “Children of Peace”.  It was an interesting concept, holding hostages to ensure peace throughout the world.  But aside from Greta, we really don’t learn much about the rest of the characters, making them a little one-dimensional.

Greta, the main character is a good girl who follows the rules.  She walks the line, she does what she’s supposed to and is quite content to finish out her term as a hostage in peace.  So for me, it was highly unbelievable when she does a 180 and becomes Xena, Warrior Hostage.  Elian was far more interesting and believable.  He bucked the rules at every chance and was the complete opposite of Greta.  Opposites attract right? Sounds like the making of a great love story!  Except….

The Weird Love Triangle

I think this is really where the book started losing me. Greta starts falling for Elian.  I think we all saw that coming. BUT, Bow throws a love triangle into the mix to keep us on our toes.  I don’t mind a love triangle, but this one didn’t seem like a true love triangle.  It just seemed like Greta loved, and was more attracted to, whoever she was with at the time. She eventually made her choice, but by that time I was already so disenchanted that I didn’t care.

The Title

Aside from a few mentions of a scorpion-like robot guard, and the scorpions making up the throne on the cover, I’m not sure what the title has to do with the story.  I’m assuming it has to do with the tag line of One wrong move could kill you, but other than that, I don’t understand the significance.

What I liked


The saving grace of this book for me was Talis.  Talis is the Master of the World.  He’s the AI responsible for initiating the Peace program and making sure everyone respects it.  When they don’t, he takes them out.  Pure and simple.  He’s fantastically unapologetic.  His wit is sharp enough to cut.  Talis is probably one of the best characters I’ve read in a long time.
Would I recommend this book? Nope.  Even with Talis, it just didn’t click with me.

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