Book Review: “The House of the Scorpion”

“The House of the Scorpion (Matteo Alacran#1)” by Nancy Farmer

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia

Other Matteo Alacran books

Summary from Goodreads:

At his coming-of-age party, Matteo Alacrán asks El Patrón’s bodyguard, “How old am I? … I know I don’t have a birthday like humans, but I was born.”

“You were harvested,” Tam Lin reminds him. “You were grown in that poor cow for nine months and then you were cut out of her.”

To most people around him, Matt is not a boy, but a beast. But for El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium–a strip of poppy field lying between the U.S. and what was once called Mexico–Matt is a guarantee of eternal life. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, for Matt is himself. They share identical DNA.

As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister, grasping cast of characters, including El Patrón’s power-hungry family. He is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards and by the mindless slaves of Opium, brain-deadened ‘eejits’ who toil in the poppy fields.

Escape from the Alacrán Estate is no guarantee of freedom because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn’t even suspect. Around every turn in this vivid, futuristic adventure is a new, heart-stopping surprise.

reviewThe House of the Scorpion has everything I want in my science fiction: creepy technology, deep situations that make you think, characters who shake your conceptions, and an engaging story.

It was really reminiscent of Unwind, which is one of my favorite YA books ever. I really appreciated all the exploration in the book. We saw how a really long life may not be a good thing. The power that comes from it really goes to a person’s head. Plus we saw how other people suffer for another person’s  ‘fortune’.  Is long life really worth all the suffering? It was also a bit terrifying seeing how much power money can buy you.

The reader was never beat over the head with the lessons though. We just saw things happen and the consequences of those actions. We were left to draw our own conclusions.

The story was a bit slow going but totally engrossing. It was interesting seeing Matt grow up. You could see how for the most part he was just a normal little boy. He didn’t deserve the awful things happening to him. He had a great character evolution over the course of the story.

The bottom line? Great sci-fi to make you think a bit.

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: “The House of the Scorpion”

  1. Pingback: Monthly Round Up: March 2015 | The Cheap Reader

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