Series: Prisoners of Peace #1
Published on September 22, 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
[This book was given to me by the Publisher, this in no way affected my opinion.]
A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace - sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals - are raised together in small, isolated schools called Preceptures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war.When I first heard about The Scorpion Rules I thought it was a cool concept but dystopia never was a favorite gender of mine so I was almost passing reading this until I saw a very positive review from a trusted reviewer - I'm so, so, so glad I saw that because this book completely won me over and I can't wait to read more books from Bow.
Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Precepture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace, even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world’s most war-worthy resource — water — she has little chance of reaching adulthood alive.
Enter Elián Palnik, the Precepture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Precepture’s insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewards, can make no dent in Elián, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn’t even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages.
What will happen to Elián and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war?
This book started slow for me, I think the first 30% or so where really slow moving. Greta's voice sounded really dry and it made me think that I wouldn't care enough about these characters but I kept reading because the concept of this world is so different from any other dystopia that I ever read, also I needed to know Talis because he's what everyone was talking about. But them, THEM at about 40% *things* started to happen and suddenly I was crying and there was so much pain and so much love and UGH FEELS WHERE FELT WITH INTENSITY and that was the moment I knew this book had won me over.
Basically when these *things* happen Greta passes for a change on her ways and this translated to the writing since it's on first person POV, so from them on I connected really deeply with the characters and this made this book pure torture. Greta started of as a perfect example, she always followed the system, never questioned anything and also had shut herself from the world so to not feel and/or notice what her friends and her are going trough. But them Elián surges, he wasn't created on a Precepture and is completely the opposite of Greta since his desire is always to challenge the system, he is the major reason why Greta "wakes up" and start to really think about what is happening to her and her friends.
The friendships on this story where just so beautiful, these kids grew up together, passed for some hard shit and always stick together I cried so hard on times that they showed this unwavering link between them, a lot of the secondary characters don't have much time on the story but they still touched me. The ones that I really, REALLY cared about where Greta, Elián and Xia, they are my babies and if they hurt I hurt too, so reading this was pure torture. We do also have some kissing and romance and I loved every second of it, the romance is a lesbian ship that was just so utterly amazing but we also have some straight kissing and all of it isn't exactly a love triangle but like I said before these kids have such strong links with each other that is kind of hard to really define they relationship as "just" a romance.
Another character that I ended up caring about was Talis, yeah I know the dictator and possible villain of the story and I liked him. But the thing is that despite Talis being a dictator and a machine he is also humanized, we see parts of who he used to be and I wondered how he got so far from his human self, this added a whole new depth to this world - is pretty easy to want to take down the system when we have someone like, let's say Snow on the power, he is a clearly villain but what when the dictator seems to be actually doing the best possible of this torn world? So yeah, things are really complicated in here, also Talis was such a stress relief - I laughed at so many of his quotes, which was good because this book was intense.
So in case you didn't noticed yet I absolutely loved this one, I couldn't recommend it enough. It's intense, original, dark and bloody but also full of heartfelt moments and even funny ones, I think that there is something for everyone on this so if you got curious by the synopses do not pass this one, read it I think you'll not regret it.