Half Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow


I’m going to post a half review…because I did start the book and I do have some opinion of how I feel about it, I didn’t wanna just DNF the book, without providing my impression and insight of it, because it really did have potential. So instead of a full review, I’m gonna do a ‘half review’ 😀 I got the idea when I saw others do ‘mini reviews’ where they would do a shorter review because they weren’t as invested or they didn’t have as full an opinion after reading. Mine is just because I didn’t manage get to the finish line with the book.


Summary from Goodreads
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.

divider What I liked about it… 
Let’s start with the positives (I was always told when giving feedback to start with the good stuff, before going into the “development” portion)! I think its quite obvious from the past few post, the one thing I love about this book are the goats…they are pretty amusing, the situations they put themselves in and their names! Not kidding, their names!

Some good quotes:

“Anyone who thinks goats are less destructive than lions on fire does not know goats well”

“It is perhaps a strange thing that the children of kings and presidents should concern themselves with the sex lives of a head of milch goats, but come the end of August, it was time to do just that”

Aside from the goats, I was also quite intrigued…despite the fact I’m DNFing it I was definitely curious enough to keep picking it up after I put it down, and tried my best to get through it because it did manage to pique my interest.

Then there was Talis, and his quirky quotes. I’ve really not gotten far enough to meet the guy, but they keep quoting him from the Utterance. He sounds snarky and pretty awesome…I wish I held on long enough to meet the guy, I’m sure I would have loved him.

Some quotes from him:

“Play nice, kids […] Work it out. I won’t be picking sides.”

Talis in the Utterance on waging war on one another. No mercy. No favoritism.

“Too bad. They got to speak something”

On the topic of language, why is English the language used.

They’re all quite sassy really…it would have been interesting to keep reading just to collect these Utterance quotes.


Why I couldn’t continue…
I don’t wanna give a negative implication and do a “what I didn’t like” because it really wasn’t that I didn’t like it. Just when I’m reading a lot of the time I feel as if I’m missing something.

First, I couldn’t get a real sense of their age…I kept feeling they were a lot younger at times, then at other they felt older. I unsure as to why but I just couldn’t really find a footing on how I should be looking at them…perhaps the age isn’t really even all that important, but it just nagged at me. I do know Greta is 16 months from 18…that has been established in the book.

Second, I somehow felt the world building wasn’t as strong for me – the flow in terms of world building didn’t transition smoothly for me, and I kept getting distracted. To get a sense of the world one had to keep flipping back and forth between Greta’s “present time” and her “textbook” explanation of everything, it almost felt like a history lesson. I also kept feeling something was missing, as if I missed an important description or previous explanation of how this world functions or perhaps I missed out on some sorta supplementary reading? Something was just “missing” for me in terms of the world building, I couldn’t seem to for a quick picture…it takes a long time and many pages into the book to even form an image of the surrounding these kids are in.

Third, Greta. Seriously, Greta. I just could not grow any interest or affection for her. She was just flat, overly formal and textbook. As Elián once described her:

“You sound exactly like a textbook, do you know that?”

She really does…she’s so stiff, it was just hard to relate to her. Or perhaps she wasn’t suppose to be relatable, but I just couldn’t really handle the way she communicates.


This ended up a lot longer than I expected. Do I recommend this book? Sure I mean if you love dystopian worlds why not give it a shot…you might enjoy it more than I did. Perhaps, I’ll one day pick this book up again, but really not at this point in my life. Just at this point, I don’t really need the added pressure of trying to finish a book I can’t get in the mood for.

How about you? What were your reaction/impression of the book? Did you enjoy it? Do share!


3 thoughts on “Half Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

  1. It’s funny because I’ve already passed on my copy of the book to you and I still haven’t written a review of it! I didn’t DNF like you did, though. I could recognize its brilliance in terms of how well-written it was and why other readers would love it but for some weird reason, I just wasn’t emotionally into it. Greta is indeed stiff at the start but she undergoes a transformation (awakening?) throughout the course of the book. Sorry to hear this didn’t work for you but I can definitely relate.


    1. I will prolly pick it up again some other time…right now, things just doesn’t permit me the focus I need to read such a book. I just can’t enjoy it; and yes it was well written….but it didn’t draw me in the way it should.


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