Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.
Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.
As Greta and Elián watch their nations tip closer to war, Greta becomes a target in a new kind of game. A game that will end up killing them both—unless she can find a way to break all the rules.
“No, blowing up cities doesn’t work, not in the long term. You’ve got to find something that the people in charge aren’t willing to give up. A price they aren’t willing to pay.
Which leads us to Talis’s first rule of stopping wars: make it personal.
And that, my dear children – that is where you come in.”
This book is very exciting, nerve racking, and ultimately a little heartbreaking. So in other words I freaking loved it.
The story was very original everything about it was one of a kind, there are no annoying, common YA tropes in this book! Which is probably why it appealed to me so much.
Love Triangles? Yes and at the same time definitely no. You’ll see why.
Mary Sues or Gary Stus? Nope.
See? So already we’re set up for a great YA dystopian novel.
The world building was excellent, we’re introduced to such an unique worldstate. Humans (and the Earth for that matter) are under the “control” of an AI, Talis, who basically blackmails them with their own children to keep the peace. Let’s just say this book is very….gritty. Oh man, will it break your heart too. It broke my heart, I have all these feelings I don’t know what to do with now.
The pacing may get a little bit slow sometimes but it wasn’t super noticeable to me, although I can see it annoying some other readers. I was too wrapped up in the events of the book to let the pacing get me down though.
And that ENDING, I don’t even know what to say or do about that ending! I basically NEED the next book NOW. I just want to understand!
The writing though wasn’t particularly good, it was kind of bland and boring. It got the job done is what it did. Which is a reason why other people probably haven’t enjoyed this book as immensely as I have.
Really, though, the best part of the book BESIDES the awesome world building, were the characters.
The characters in “The Scorpion Rules” are very strong and complex such as: Greta, Xie, Elian, Talis, and the Abbot. Everyone else is basically a secondary character and they all fell really flat for me, very uninteresting and unimportant.
Our MC Greta is very dutiful, strong, and smart. She is a very perfect heroine for the situation she has been put in, and her best friend Xie is the same way. Overall I agree with all of the actions and choices Greta makes throughout the book.
Xie is always standing up for what she believes is appropriate or right, nobody messes with her.
Elian is a loose cannon, he does everything his way and he brings pretty much ALL the adventure in the first half of the book.
Then we have an AI character called the Abbot. The Abbot runs the Precepture where the children are kept, and he’s just…very wise. He plays a pretty vital role in the story.
Then there’s Talis. Oh how I LOVED Talis. He’s the AI that “took over the world” and he is hilarious. Talis is my absolute favorite character, is that bad? Rooting for the city-destroying, world enslaving AI? I don’t care I still love him. I basically picture him as this:
Yep that’s definitely Talis using his orbital weapons on the Earth. That’s probably why I like him so much, because I was picturing him as Chris Pine…..hmmm.
Also the romance in the book was very subtle and yet still very important, I actually really liked it. This is coming from a person who could do without side romances completely. Now remember when I said there was no love triangle? There isn’t..but there is. There really isn’t any way to explain it without spoilers sooooooo. But I will tell you it’s a bisexual romance.
All in all “The Scorpion Rules” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it IS my cup of tea. I pretty much loved everything about it and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a really unique dystopian YA novel.