June 20, 2018

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The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow | SLJ Review

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scorpionBow, Erin. The Scorpion Rules. 384p. ebook available. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481442718.

Gr 9 Up–Talis’s first rule for stopping war is to make it personal. The powerful AI ensures the world’s leaders know the exact cost of any declaration of war by taking their children hostage as Children of Peace. If war is declared, the lives of both nation’s hostages are forfeit. Greta Gustafson Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederation, is a seventh generation hostage at Precepture Four where she has lived most of her life. She embodies the ideals of the Children of Peace and knows to follow the rules even with her country on the brink of war. New hostage Elián Palnik refuses to accept any of the tenets of the Children of Peace, causing Greta to question everything she believes. Masterful, electric prose and wit make even the hardest moments bearable in this work as Greta and her friends endure countless hardships with the grace and aplomb befitting the world’s future leaders. Bow weaves together science, ethics, and humor in this science fiction novel that delves deep into the human condition and questions the nature of choice and what must be sacrificed for the sake of the greater good. This book is further strengthened by a diverse, memorable cast of characters with realistically complicated relationships (romantic and platonic), brilliant plotting, and shocking twists. Guaranteed to have high appeal on many levels. VERDICT Bow delivers a knockout dystopian novel that readers will devour with their hearts in their mouths.–Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library

This review was published in School Library Journal‘s August 2015 issue.

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