The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (Prisoners of Peace #1)

More book reviews can be found here.

Title: The Scorpion Rules
Series Title: Prisoners of Peace
Author: Erin Bow
Date Started: June 29, 2017
Date Finished: July 26, 2017
Reading Duration: 27 days
Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult

The cover of The Scorpion Rules by Erin BowPages: 384
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Media: eBook/Kindle


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.


The concept of children as bargaining chips for their parents’ cooperation stopped being strange (at least in young adult) after the debut of The Hunger Games, and many YA novels have risen out of the slush pile clinging to its coattails, but there’s enough of a spin on the paradigm in The Scorpion Rules to make it stand out.  Games are still played, but they are far more subtle than the Capital’s spectacle (though to be fair The Hunger Games is more about navigating the subtlety than it initially appears); however slaughtering children for their parents’ mistakes still fits within that same motif.  These futuristic dystopias showcase a potentially missable prospect: holding the future hostage to make us slaves to the past.  When you are willing to kill off the next generation in order to control the prior, it shows a distinctive lack of progress even in a technologically advanced world.  There is little hope in a regime whose best boast is that it can wipe entire cities off the map with ease.

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The State of the Reader: 9/27/17

<–The State of the Reader: 9/20/17          The State of the Reader: 10/4/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. Ink and Bone by Rachel  Caine: Kept (RWTR) – A world where the Great Library of Alexandria wasn’t destroyed, and the opening chapter/prologue is one letter from some pompous ass who happens to be royal stating that women don’t need to be education and/or only need such education as men decree, and the answer letter from his “inferior” essentially telling him to fuck off and that his daughter will be educated.  I’ve dabbled in the idea of the Library of Alexandria existing, and I have intentions of writing a story where education is freely given to all, so I’m very interested in reading this book.
  2. Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris: Kept – More psychological and depraved thrills!  Things are never what they seem when the veneer is perfect.
  3. Scythe by Neal Shusterman: Kept – When I was in Target I read the first few pages of this book, so I count that as a “downloaded sample,” since I “downloaded” it into my brain.  Regardless, I read a sample, liked it, and added it.  It’s about a world where death only exists through Reapers whose job is integral to keeping the balance.
  4. We Are the Ants by Shaun Hutchinson: Kept (RWTR) – So this book has a gay main character who consistently is abducted by aliens who tell him he can press a button to stop the end of the world in 144 days…but he doesn’t want to do it for reasons that will be explored.
  5. Eon by Alison Goodman: Kept – It’s given away right in the blurb that Eon is really Eona, a girl masquerading as a boy, because only boys are allowed to use dragon magic *huge sigh* I guess no one i this universe has read A Song of Ice and Fire.  I like the eastern influences I see in this book so far.  I hope they continue and are properly conveyed.
  6. Legend of the Guardians by Kathryn Lasky: Kept – I must have missed this one when I was doing my sample downloads, because I added it a long time ago.  This is the book that owl movie Guardians of Ga’hoole was based on.
  7. Reliquary by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: Kept – I passed on the first book in the series The Relic, but was told that this one might be a better fit.  It seems good enough to add to my library list.
  8. The Swan Riders by Erin Bow: Kept – I’m not even sure why I downloaded the sample for this since I loved the first book in the series The Scorpion Rules, so I knew I was going to continue the series.

I finally, finally caught up on all of my samples, meaning I’ve downloaded everything up to what I’ve currently added.  There may be a few I missed, but as of now I’ve either read samples of everything on my TBR list or they’re not books I’m going to or can’t download samples of (non-fiction/reference, graphic novels/manga, pending publication and not available for download),  Bow when I add something, I’m going to try to remember to download the sample as well if applicable.

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The State of the Writer: 8/13/17

<–The State of the Writer: 8/6/17          The State of the Writer: 8/20/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 266,752
Prior Word Count: 266,754
Word Difference: -2
Status: Posting Chapter 10
Progress: Posted to WP

The process of posting can be as arduous as the process of editing.  I’ve posted Chapter 10 here, as I’m sure some of you have seen (if not I linked it), but I still have three other sites to replicate that on, all with different nuances of method.  I’ll try to get it up on AO3 tonight, since that’s the easiest one.  I’d say the hardest is Deviant Art, since tumblr’s made some updates so I don’t have to go through and add italics any more after I copy and paste, but DevArt is all HTML coding, which I’ve become quite adept at.  The easiest thing to do is switch to HTML on WordPress and copy/paste from there.  Unfortunately, DA has an unknown character limit, so you have to estimate how much you can post.  I’ll have to split this chapter into at least two due to its length.  Once it’s posted where it needs to be, I’ll start editing the next chapter.

Oh!  I also fixed the image for Chapter 9.  How I missed this in my reviews I don’t know, but the words were “Chapter 10 Excursion” instead of Chapter 9 *facepalm*  I’d post a picture of it so you could see what I meant specifically, but it looks like I deleted it entirely.

Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Upcoming

I posted the review for Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner (which I DNF) yesterday.  Seems like I’m posting one review a week.  I want to up that. I did post a mini-review of sorts for Tales of the Arabian Nights on Goodreads, which I wasn’t going to do, but some of the reviews I saw for it pissed me off, so it was more of a review response than an actual review.  I talk about this more and in fact copied what I wrote in my upcoming State of the Reader.

The current and upcoming list is as follows:

  1. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  2. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
  3. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  4. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  5. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  6. Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
  7. The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey (DNF)
  8. The Poetic Edda by Anonymous
  9. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Volume 1 by Katie Cook & Andy Price
  10. Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
  11. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  12. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa
  13. Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson & Brittney Williams

Project: Game Review
Title: SOMA
Developer:  Frictional Games
Let’s Player: ChristopherOdd
Prior Word Count: 1071
Current
Word Count: 1738
Word Difference: +667
Status: Drafting

Just completed some work on the review right before this update.  I’m in story summary mode, which I always have a dilemma with.  Do I summarize and analyze concurrently or do I save the latter for afterwards?  I usually settle on a happy medium: I’m bringing up questions and ideas in the summary that I’ll explore in a thorough analysis afterwards.

What’s also difficult is triangulating all of my information sources.  Neither Wikipedia nor the SOMA wiki adequately recount the story to my liking, but I need some plot point reminders, just enough to spark my memory.  I don’t recall the order of everything, and a lot of the timeline pages I’ve found paint with too broad of a brush, missing some seemingly minor but integral elements e.g. Carl, first encounter with a WAU node, etc., and I think they order the events differently, though I’m less concerned about that as I am missing something vital. This is going to be a long term review project that I might slate for finish the first two weeks of September when I’m on vacation.


What are you currently working on?  Is it a creative writing project, essay, review, or something else?  Have you just started something new or are you wrapping up a long term project?

<–The State of the Writer: 8/6/17          The State of the Writer: 8/20/17–>

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The State of the Writer: 8/6/17

<–The State of the Writer: 7/30/17          The State of the Writer: 8/13/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 266,754
Prior Word Count: 266,907
Word Difference: -153
Status: Prepping to post Chapter 10
Progress: Preliminary review

Editing Date Started: May 14, 2017
Editing Date Finished: August 6, 2017
Editing Duration: 84 days

After 84 days, I’m finally finished the edit of this chapter…at least I hope I am.  I completed the fourth edit this afternoon/evening right before drafting and posting this, but I still want to do a breeze through to check the pacing, because I’m still not entirely sure about that.  This…was a tough chapter to edit, and it’s really funny how the length of a chapter has little to do with the difficulty.  I’m sure there were longer chapters prior to this that didn’t take nearly as long, as I’m almost certain this was the longest editing duration so far.  The cover image is already prepped with words and all, so the next scheduled editing session should consist of that pacing check, and once I’m satisfied that none of you will be too bored with it, I’ll post Chapter 10.

FYI this week’s picture is exactly how I see their height differential.  Hell, she could possibly be standing on her toes and still be that petite.  It’s a minor pet peeve, but I can’t imagine the Great General being short, and I know I’ve probably beaten this horse long dead, but this was my main disappointment with my commissioned picture.

Quote: “Little flower, this world belongs to you, and your life will be wonderful.”


Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Upcoming

I posted the review for An Ember in the Ashes yesterday evening so I’m down one review, but I also just finished the Zelda manga I was reading, so there’s another.  I’m just going to look at my book reviews as yet another endless task *shrug* I am going to review Never Never in one post not three, so that cuts it down a bit.

  1. Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner (DNF)
  2. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  3. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
  4. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  5. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  6. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  7. Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
  8. The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey (DNF)
  9. The Poetic Edda by Anonymous
  10. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Volume 1 by Katie Cook & Andy Price
  11. Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
  12. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  13. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa

Project: Game Review
Title: SOMA
Developer:  Frictional Games
Let’s Player: ChristopherOdd
Prior Word Count: 551
Current Word Count: 1071
Word Difference: +520
Status: Drafting

I made it to the “game proper” in my Story part (you’ll understand what that means when you read it), and like most of my reviews, a ton of revelations came flooding my way as I’m working on it.  There are a lot of things that don’t add up, and while they could be errors on the developers’ part, SOMA seems too well done for all of the inconsistencies to be due to that alone.  I’m starting to wonder if my first thought about it was correct, even though it’s never confirmed and could definitely be argued.  It’s similar to the plot of the Futurama episode “Obsoletely Fabulous,” where Bender receives an upgrade.  While obviously the show plays itself for laughs, there’s a definite “Reality is what you make of it” motif in the mix.


What are you currently working on?  Is it a creative writing project, essay, review, or something else?  Have you just started something new or are you wrapping up a long term project?

<–The State of the Writer: 7/30/17          The State of the Writer: 8/13/17–>

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The State of the Writer: 7/30/17

<–The State of the Writer: 7/23/17          The State of the Writer: 8/6/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 266,907
Prior Word Count: 267,081
Word Difference: -174
Status: Editing
Progress: 4th edit

I know I used this picture for Chapter 6 of Northern Lights, but it goes well with this week’s quote, and I’m running dry on image ideas since I’m well into my third month of and 4th editing adventure.

I think I can say this edit will be the last full one.  I kind of do want to really scrutinize the content of this chapter, since it still seems a bit long-winded, but at the very least I’ll be deleting edited words *rolls eyes*

Quote: *I…answered her prayers,* he realized in rue.  *I’m what she was begging for.* He blinked several times, staring down at the terrified maid in his arms.  

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The State of the Reader: 7/26/17

<–The State of the Reader: 7/19/17          The State of the Reader: 8/2/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid: Kept – I’m really on an AI/synthetic kick lately.  This has led me to a conclusion that I should have figured out years ago.  Like most of my revelations, it starts with VII.  I’m pretty sure my favorite genre isn’t fantasy, but rather science fantasy.  I actually really love the fusion of elements from both.  It makes me wish I’d recognized that in Star Wars when I was younger,  but I like it now so it’s okay.  Anyway, I loved this novel’s brutality and incongruence of having a teenage girl be a synthetic killing machine, and the book was really cheap on Amazon, so I bought it on Kindle.
  2. Faller by Will McIntosh: Kept (RWTR) – I really do seem to find myself repeating paradigms.  Like the book I just started reading this week, this is about utter loss of memory, but instead of just two characters, it’s everyone.
  3. The Bird Box by Josh Malerman: Kept – I almost didn’t.  The language seemed a little stilted and tangled, but by the second page, it showed it was worth its salt.
  4. Firstlife by Gena Showalter; Kept – I loved the tongue-in-cheek emails between what I’m assuming is a soldier or officer and his superior who is a general, but the former character opens up the first email with an almost insolent “Duuuuude,” to which the general reminds him that he should call him “Sir.”  The next email is the soldier using the title ad naseaum and still being completely insolent.  It was hilarious.
  5. A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs: Kept – This is the book the unfortunate John Carter film was based on.  Apparently, the movie wasn’t terrible; it just had terrible release timing.  I read less than the first page of this book, and I love the language.  The price was too cheap to pass up.
  6. IQ by Joe Ide: Kept (RWTR) – Writers are often admonished for using prologues.  Anyone who doesn’t see the merit in the one for this book can shove it.  I decided to read it based on that alone.  It was chilling and terrifying even as it came off so simply.
  7. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: Kept – I’ve never read (what becomes) a post-apocalyptic story with such lush, prosaic writing.  We’re also introduced to at least two of the characters who survive the event(s) that cause the apocalypse.
  8. Timekeeper by Tara Sim: Kept – My Kindle was dying so I only read the first two pages of the sample, but I’m very interested in what the hell happened to 2:00.  I just disappeared.  Has daylight savings time become sentient?  I suppose I’ll have to read to find out.

Books Purchased This Week: 8

Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Date Added: October 28, 2016
Date Purchased: July 20, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $1.99
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Reader: 7/19/17

<–The State of the Reader: 7/12/17          The State of the Reader: 7/26/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. Bambi’s Children by Felix Salten: Kept – I enjoyed the first book, and this one appears to have the same charm.
  2. The Catalyst by Helen Coggan: Kept (RWTR) – I only read a few pages of this, because I’m trying not to read as much of my samples, just enough to know I’ll like it.  When I get to read them, I don’t like to reread what I already have to save time, but I often feel obligated to at least skim it to reacquaint myself.  I’d rather have less to skim.  Anyway, this starts off with a hole being ripped in the sky similar to the Futurama movie The Beast with a Billion Backs.
  3. Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland: Kept (RWTR) – PI summons 12th level demon who proceeds to apprehend the burglar who very unwisely broke into her house coincidentally at the same time she was doing said summons.  Also, there’s a promise of a really hot angel character.
  4. Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: Passed – It didn’t hold my interest.  I like mysteries, but there just didn’t seem to be much new infused into this one.  I think this is just a personal preference case.  The story and writing don’t seem bad, and I think it would be enjoyable to someone who likes museum or Indiana Jones-like mysteries.  Not saying I don’t, but they’re not my usual reading fare.
  5. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn: Kept – Victorian mystery where the main character is a recently orphaned, practical young lady.  Sounds good to me.
  6. The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz: Kept (RWTR) – I barely read two pages before I knew this was a keeper for the RWTR shelf.  The characters are likable, and I already know the plot is going to be compelling.
  7. Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne: Kept – I almost put this on the RWTR shelf, but I decided against it.  It starts before the main character is exiled to the desert, and I’m guessing she’s about to commit the act that gets her thrown out.  There’s a character named Lotus whom I’m assuming will be important, though in the first chapter, she seems to almost be brushed over.
  8. Double Dead by Chuck Wendig: Kept (RWTR) – A vampire protagonist in a world full of zombies.  He’s been asleep for a while, and when he wakes up the world has gone to hell.  If you ever wondered if vampires can feed off of zombies, this book has your answer and much more.

Books Purchased This Week: 0


Books Declared DNF This Week: 1

Title: The Beauty Thief
Series Title: Twelve Realms
Author: Rachael Ritchey
Date Added: February 5, 2016
Date Started: July 13, 2017
Date DNF: July 19, 2017
Reading Duration: 6 days

Percentage Read: 25%

I was really excited to read this one, so much that I threw it on my really-want-to-read shelf, and initially, it was really engaging.  I liked that the characters were royal, but they weren’t corrupt.  While they were a little bit too good to be true (no Game of Thrones grey in here), tyrannical rulers has become a bit cliched, so it’s almost a subversion to read about people who aren’t, and I liked that the princes and princesses were properly disciplined for misbehavior by being forced to do chores typically associated with “commoners.”  True rulers know that their task is to serve.  Caityn, the main character, also mentions she’s taught or read at the local school in addition to comforting orphans and widows.  It was sweet and really laid the foundation for what kind of realm this was.

Then Princess Eliya shows up.  Eliya is Theiandar’s (Caityn’s betrothed) sister, and you instantly know something is up with her.  I was okay with that, because everyone can’t be perfect, and her jealousy towards Caityn, which was grounded in the fear she was taking her only brother away, was understandable.

The reason I stopped reading was the novel has way too much exposition.  The author tells too much instead of showing.  The conflict of the story was washed out by the exposition/explanation on everyone’s state of mind.  Theiandar is wholly devoted to Caityn, which is plain to see in his behavior.  It takes away the mystery that every book should posses a little of to constantly comment on it though.  Let us doubt a bit.  Let us see it in his words and his actions.  Show the devotion more than you tell me he’s devoted.

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