ARC Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

The Scorpion RulesThe Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Aw, I really wanted to like this book! Dystopians are sort of in right now even though I sense fantasies are about to edge them out. That’s why I was excited to read about a world that’s supposedly better under a tyrannical rule 400 years in the near future. So why am I feeling apathetic to this world then?! I feel neither hate nor love towards the characters, the villain, and/or the world. I personally dislike this type of experience because I also don’t know how to rate the book. My reception was not livid enough to warrant a scathing 1 or 2-star rating so it falls within the 2.5-star zone. BLEHH.

Pet peeve: Also, what is up with the cover? The chair is crooked and it’s needles me since I can’t un-see it anymore. If it’s purposely arranged so that the seat is leaning towards the right, then the cover artist just made a dubious choice. Everything looks off balance when the backing is centered but the chair legs are kilter.

So there’s this school that is basically a prison for heirs and heiresses who inherit countries. But the United States is divided so readers will hear of these hostages coming from Mississippi/other tri-state areas. I personally think the book needs a map to show us the current state of the world but I guess that’s too much to ask since the characters never travel to those places during the story. It’s just difficult for non-American readers because it’s not guaranteed that they know their 50 U.S. states. The whole setting is only the school which is fine with me but I still somehow have no idea where anything is when the book ends. So setting is a mess although world building is great. I understand how everything in the world works which solves the usual loopholes readers encounter in dystopian novels.
However, the whole explanation of the world kind of took a while so there wasn’t enough pages left over to give readers ‘character’ time. To put it nicely, there are too many characters and most of them are flat to me. I still cannot describe the two main characters’ strong points and disposition. Sorry, I just felt detached during the story.

There are gorey scenes by the way but they’re glossed over which kind of sucked because I did not feel any tension or anticipation when I read those parts. Overall I feel apathetic and could not muster myself to care what happens to the characters. Even the villain’s characterization was a flop for me. He tries to be all sassy and use all these cool references to pop culture which I give props to, but his speech seems effortful. I liked how he quoted Casablanca but the humor was so awkward because the scene was supposedly sad. No, it doesn’t relieve tension, and it was just a mess.

Sorry, it was not for me.

Disclaimer: Thank you NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews


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