Thursday, July 23, 2015

'Scorpion Rules' by Erin Bow

The next Hunger Games may have arrived.

Erin’s Bow’s Scorpion Rules is riveting. In a post-apocalyptic world ruled by an artificial intelligence called Talis, the ancient practice of offering up children as hostages against war has been revived. The heads of the latest nations of the earth must provide their offspring as hostages to be raised in Prefectures. These “Children of Peace” are destined to rule their countries, should they survive to age 18. Any time before then, if their leaders — their parents — declare war, the children's’ lives are forfeit.

Greta is the Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy, a superpower located where Canada once was. At 16, she has been an excellent student and an obedient Child of Peace for 11 years. When a war in the former U.S results in a new nation threatening her country’s water supply, Greta witnesses a new hostage arrive: Elian. He, too, is a teenager, but he was not raised in a Prefecture and has a hard time adjusting to his new status. Both Greta and Elian know their countries are at the brink of war and that they will die if things come to that.

Events on the Prefecture, located in rural Saskatchewan, do not proceed as Greta presumes they will. Elian’s country captures the Prefecture, which is strictly forbidden by Talis’ rules of war. In the midst of this threat, Greta struggles to maintain her dignity and keep her friends alive, and discovers truths about her world that will change everything for her.

Erin Bow’s book is engaging and intriguing in a way only the best YA can be. Although I didn’t quite understand why the essential nations had given up on negotiations, Bow’s world is believable and well-wrought. I found myself thinking about the Prefecture when I was away from the book and surprised by some of the turns the narrative took. This book is clearly the beginning of a story that is so filmable I can’t wait to see on it screen, nor can I wait to see where Erin Bow takes it.

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