Review of The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

TheScorpionRulesThe Scorpion Rules
By: Erin Bow
Release Date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: Jaime (thank you!!)

My Rating:
star

Summary:
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.

Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Prefecture. 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 Prefecture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Prefecture’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?

My Thoughts:
The idea behind this book was so wonderfully fantastic I’m still in awe of it. This book was intense, the world detailed and really just an excellent read. Don’t go into this one expecting much action though…this book relies on thought provoking situations.

I’m really not sure what this book would be classified as for genre but it had a dystopian, science fiction feel to me. It even had a boarding school feel with the Preceptures. For some reason, I’m a huge fan of the isolated society within a boarding school (Hogwarts anyone?) or the like. I love that the attendees create their own social structure and I always feel books with this have an extra dose of interesting for me.

Looking at the star ratings on Goodreads you can see that this book is either hit or miss with people. I think what really won me over was the AI character and how the world worked. I did have a disconnect to the characters and never really formed an emotional bond with them. The romance was another thing that was meh to me. It does contain a love triangle but this one is a bit different than the normal one because it focuses on our main character and a girl and a guy. It wasn’t my favorite set-up since I had a lot of trouble feeling any chemistry between some of the characters.

Where I found myself completely immersed was during every section containing the artificial intelligence named Talis. This character was incredibly well done in my opinion and made the book for me. Talis alone was the character I felt the most towards and the history behind how artificial intelligence was approached in this society was very interesting.

Final Thoughts:
The Scorpion Rules was a very intriguing read for me that introduced one of my favorite characters in a long time. Though I loved many aspects of this book, such as the main story arc, the characters in general fell a tad flat and I never could connect very deeply to the main character. Regardless, I really enjoyed my reading experience and fully recommend this read to anyone interested in an unique take on dystopian with an amazing artificial intelligence element.

Review of Ungodly by Kendare Blake

UngodlyUngodly
By: Kendare Blake
Release Date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Gift from author

My Rating:
star

Summary:
As ancient immortals are left reeling, a modern Athena and Hermes search the world for answers in the final Goddess War novel by the acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood

For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what Ares said.

So she was wrong about some things. So the assault on Olympus left them beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved.

But Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and dies, or the Fates arrive to eat their faces.

And Cassandra is up there somewhere too. On a quest for death. With the god of death.

Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn’t mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference.

My Thoughts:
I am so in love with Blake’s writing and her ability to write gruesome things and yet make them seem beautiful. This series has been wonderfully executed and this last book might just be my favorite of the three.

The story picks up where the others left off and Athena, Cassandra and crew are still searching for answers and trying to pick up the pieces after the battle on Olympus. Once again the writing was strong and the pacing fast. The action scenes were amazingly detailed and we get to venture into the character’s emotions.

Ungodly really ventured into Cassandra’s story and how everything that has happened changed who she is and what she wants. I’ve always felt a tad detached from Cassandra but in this story that changed. A new character was introduced, Thanatos, that I absolutely fell in love with. The interactions and chemistry between these two was one of my favorite aspects of the story. I only wish they had had more page time together. Somehow reading about Cassandra’s interactions with Thanatos gave me an emotional connection I’d not had previously. Honestly, their chapters were some of my favorites.

Athena was still a badass though she struggled with guilt for the haphazard battle on Olympus. Maybe for the first time in her existence she really struggled with knowing her place and role. I have really enjoyed watching Athena delve into her emotions and begin to accept her feeling towards other characters. I loved her character arc across all three books. Really, all the characters are incredible and I love them all. I was even able to find some love for Ares and his hell hounds.

I’d say that the pacing was about the same as with the prior books and really this conclusion was what I wanted it to be. Some things are left unanswered 100% but enough is alluded to that you can easily guess at some of the outcomes. I do think I’ll be wondering what happens to each characters years from the final showdown.

Final Thoughts:
As always I adored Blake’s writing and characters. The mythology thrown into a modern setting was done amazingly well even inspiring me to do some Google searches on some lesser known gods. I think it’s obvious that Kendare Blake is a favorite of mine and an auto-buy author. Do look for her next book, Three Dark Crowns, coming from Harper in 2016.

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