The Scorpion Rules

The Scorpion Rules

For Ages: 14 and up
  • 3
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.

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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

The Scorpion Rules

By Erin Bow

About the Book

Greta is a crown princess—and a hostage to peace, held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. Greta and the other royal hostages are Talis’s strategy to keep the peace: if her country enters a war, Greta dies. 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 a new hostage arrives, a boy who refuses to play by the rules and opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system and to her own power.

Prereading Discussion

1. War has been with us throughout human history, but there has also been a corresponding desire for peace. Do you think world peace will ever be attained? Can you suggest how that might happen?

2. Define and discuss the term “artificial intelligence.” Could computers, smartphones, and robots ever be truly “intelligent”? If not, why not? If so, what are the benefits they provide, and the dangers they pose to humans? Do you think it will ever become possible for humans to “upload” their consciousness into machines? Would that be a good idea?

Discussion Questions

1. What genre would you consider The Scorpion Rules to be? Is it strictly a science fiction story, see more

About the Author

Erin Bow

Erin Bow is the author of The Scorpion Rules, which received three starred reviews and was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year; 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.

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