The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace)

The Scorpion Rules Book Cover The Scorpion Rules
Prisoners of Peace, Book 1
Erin Bow
Juvenile Fiction
Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
September 22, 2015

In the future, the UN has brought back an ancient way to keep the peace. The children of world leaders are held hostage—if a war begins, they pay with their lives. Greta is the Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy, a superpower formed of modern-day Canada. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. The hostages are Talis’s strategy to keep the peace: if her country enters a war, Greta dies. The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered. Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. Greta is furious that Elian has disrupted their quiet, structured world. But slowly, his rebellion opens her eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power. Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to mete out punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed...unless Greta can think of a way to save them.



I absolutely loved “The Scorpion Rules”.  It’s a wonderful addition to the YA dystopian genre.

The first thing that made me love it is the diversity.  Racial diversity is merely the beginning.  There is cultural  diversity and religious diversity, including a Jewish protagonist, which is something rarely seen.  And to take things to an entirely different level, there is sexual diversity, including a female bisexual main character.  I don’t think I have ever read that in a young adult dystopian novel, and I was quite literally bouncing with the excitement of it.  Absolutely none of it felt forced or gratuitous.  Well done.

Then we have the villain.  I think he may be my favorite villain ever.  He’s hilarious while being really, truly evil.  This is not someone (something?) you would want as your enemy.  I also enjoyed the other characters and their development.  Some of them may seem flat at first, but their traits unfold slowly and organically.  Greta is an unreliable narrator on the level of Katniss, and it is fun to go along with her on her journey of awareness.  Elian, well, I’ll let you find out about him for yourself.

Finally, the book brings up some incredible points about the nature of humans, society, wars, and the climate.  It is quite heavy on the philosophy, and yet it is also hilarious.  Some parts had me laughing so hard it was difficult to catch my breath.  The author has a good sense of comedic timing.

Overall, I recommend “The Scorpion Rules” for anyone eighth grade and up who loves a good dystopian novel.  The flow and humor make it a good choice for the reluctant reader, as well.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

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