Whoa. Ann Leckie meets Harlan Ellison meets Lydia Millet. It's 400 years in the future, humanity has nearly done itself in via war and water scarcity, and we find ourselves under the violent rule of an artificial intelligence who has the sense of humor of John Scalzi, and our best interests at heart. Mostly.
The children of world leaders are held hostage in an attempt to keep the peace in this “slyly humorous, starkly thought-provoking” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) novel.
Greta is a Duchess and a Crown Princess. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Start a war and your hostage dies.
The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered.
Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. His rebellion opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power.
Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to deliver punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed...unless Greta can think of a way to break all the rules.
About the Author
Erin Bow is the author of The Scorpion Rules, which received three starred reviews and was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year and it’s sequel, The Swan Riders, which received two starred reviews. She also wrote the acclaimed Russian-flavored fantasy Plain Kate, which received two starred reviews and was a YALSA Best Book of the Year, and the terrifying YA ghost story Sorrow’s Knot, which received five starred reviews and was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. Visit her at ErinBow.com.
*"Slyly humorous, starkly thought-provoking, passionate, and compassionate—and impeccably written to boot: not to be missed."
*"Bow continually yanks the rug out from under readers, defying expectations as she crafts a masterly story with a diverse cast, shocking twists, and gut-punching emotional moments."
*"Masterful, electric prose... Bow delivers a knockout dystopian novel that readers will devour with their hearts in their mouths."
"Bow has crafted a true sci-fi narrative around the AI premise, utilizing an imaginative world and well-developed characters. Through Greta’s conflicts, the author explores what it means to be human."
" This is a smart, compelling read that explores the complicated nature of love, family, peace, war, and technology; fans of Johnson’s Summer Prince and Collins’s Hunger Games who are searching for an empowering and intelligent read-alike need look no further."
"This is fearfully superlative storytelling- electrical tension crackles in every elegant word. The finest fiction I've read this year." — Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity
“Bow's amoral artificial intelligence overlord is one of my favorite characters in a while.”
“The Scorpion Rules is one of the most inventive, devious, exciting and thoroughly enjoyable books I’ve read in years. Very highly recommended!”
“Clever and unexpected, THE SCORPION RULES is a game-changing novel about the consequence of war and the brutality of peace. Unforgettable!”
"Elegant world-building, white-knuckle plot, and wonderful characters make The Scorpion Rules an extraordinary tale. I couldn't put it down."
"Bow's vision of our apocalypse is stark, beautiful and terrifying. This is my favourite book."
"I don't know which is more delicious, the storytelling or the villain."
“THE SCORPION RULES is a bloody, breath-taking, beautiful book… As a fellow craftsperson I'm left in awe, and as a reader I'm left feeling transformed.”