The world is at peace, said the Utterances. And really, if the odd princess has a hard day, is that too much to ask?
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.
So the important way to preface this is by talking about me and dystopians. I find them at the store, I think OH MAN THAT LOOKS SO GREAT I WANNA READ IT. I start the book, I get super into the book, and then there’s always this moment where I just get turned off. I don’t know what it is exactly, usually something to do with the gritty underbelly of a dystopian. I can read about the same type stuff in a High Fantasy and just eat it up like candy, but when it comes to a dystopian? I just get turned away. I usually finish the book, but with less excitement and I just walk away feeling meh.
Surprise, surprise, The Scorpion Rules was one of them. There’s nothing overly wrong with The Scorpion Rules at all! In fact the world building is absolutely amazing, the characters are great, the romance is a complete surprise, and the plot is actually really different. It’s just not a “Sondra Book”. That being said I’m gonna try to talk about the book itself and keep my own personal feelings about dystopians out of the question.
Greta’s story was a very interesting one to read, and I can only imagine the planning and world building that went into the plotting of this book. So much of this book is just subtext or background information that the readers pick up on before the characters do, or as a reader we wind up as blindsided as the Greta, which I feel is always something that I give major credit to authors over. I really liked getting to know all of the Children of Peace, and reading the background information to all of the world.
The pacing was so weird in this book. Like nothing would have happened, we tended to the garden as the Children of Peace do, and there was no real plot happening in the least…and then I look down and realize I’m 150 pages into the book. I really don’t know where those pages went or what even happened in them. The actual plot of the book could probably fit into a 50-100 page novella.
The ending was very ambiguous, the plot was wrapped up, but it was so wrapped up it felt like a standalone, but apparently this book is continuing on as a series. I honestly don’t understand how. Like I can see how we can follow the characters more, that they have more story to tell, but I’m just really confused as to why it’s needed?
The world building was fantastic in this book. I loved the idea of the Children of Peace, the way that they deal with the world around them. Talis was a wonderful character and I adored him(and the way the author represented him) the way he interacted with people was a great thing.
The romance was another thing that was just fantastic. Based on the jacket copy I was expecting a very straight forward(Possibly instalove) heterosexual romance. I was completely 100% pleasantly surprised when this book took a homosexual turn and the romance was built so naturally that it made perfect sense. Greta’s sexuality is never named, or pointed out directly. No more than if she had stayed in the heterosexual romance. It was just so well done I was thrilled and loved them both.
If you enjoy dystopian books then yes pick this one up. Because I can tell you as a dystopian it’s really quite something.