author: Erin Bow

genre/audience: YA sci-fi

published: September 22nd, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

**note: I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for honest feedback.

summary below courtesy of 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?
— Goodreads


I can honestly say that this was one of the most interesting books that I have read all year—maybe even in a few years. I raced through to finish it because the premise was absolutely intriguing, and brought to mind one of my favorite scenes from the book *All Quiet on the Western Front*. In AQOtWF, the characters (soldiers) discuss the nature of war and one suggests that the world leaders fight one another to decide the outcome of conflicts instead of countless soldiers fighting one another.

I desperately wanted to fall in love with the characters in SCORPION RULES—after all, most of them are stuck in a cruel sort of limbo that is not in their making, held hostage until they come of age and are released back to their home kingdoms. But I read to the end because I was curious about how the plot would resolve, not because I loved Greta or Elian. Talis was nothing if not wrenchingly wry and entertaining, and brought a spark of life to a story that seemed strangely sterile. 

That may have been because the setting was confined to the Precepture. I understood why that was, but it made the action sluggish and I caught myself skimming in places.

That being said, the concept was really very imaginative. Readers ready to venture into light sci-fi fare might enjoy this, as well as readers of YA who also enjoy the ‘original’ dystopians—1984 and FAHRENHEIT 451.


3 / 5