skygiants: Jupiter from Jupiter Ascending, floating over the crowd in her space prom gown (space princess)
[personal profile] skygiants
OK, I'm just going to quote a whole huge paragraph from the jacket summary for The Scorpion Rules:

Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.

There are LOTS of keywords in here that line up pretty much exactly with current trends in YA dystopia -- a Special Girl! who meets a Special Boy! who Doesn't Follow The Rules! Sheeple! WAKING UP! probably in first person present tense! AND THEN THEY LEAD A REVOLUTION -- and it is kind of a brilliant example of marketing misdirection because this book is actually very deliberately setting out not to do most of these things?

(It's also not in first person present tense. THANK GOODNESS. I don't know why first person past tense, such a little change, is so much better and more capable of conveying character, AND YET, SOMEHOW.

Also also, there are no sheeple, but there are asshole goats, which is as it should be. All goats are assholes.)

Like, OK, yes, Greta does live in a world controlled by a slightly psychotic AI, and the AI is going to kill her if her country goes to war for something that is out of her control, and that's crappy and pretty horrible for Greta and the other kids in her situation, specifically. But, I mean -- as a war deterrent, as a small sacrifice that makes it significantly less likely that millions of other people will die -- does it work? As a terrible thing, is it better or worse than many of the other fairly terrible things that happen in global geopolitics?

The book doesn't really have answers to these questions, it does not try to tell you where The Line Should Be Drawn, which is a thing I like. I like a great deal about this book. Not everything (gonna take a moment here to side-eye a little Erin Bow's occasionally lazy portrayals of some of international baby royals, especially Thandi, the Xhosa princess whose initial characterization largely consists of 'ALWAYS ANGRY'), but a lot about it, which I am trying to lay out without spoiling, because I think it's worth not spoiling. And worth reading! Come for the earnest and responsible baby royals, and the weird and loving and monstrous AIs, and the affectionate descriptions of farming, and the asshole goats, and the important relationships between women, and the actually really good Obligatory YA Love Triangle, like, you don't believe me now, I know, but I SWEAR TO YOU I DO NOT SAY THIS LIGHTLY, Elián is a very sweet decoy love interest but it's lesbian princesses all the way down!

(note: comments also have spoilers)

Date: 2016-05-04 01:23 am (UTC)
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
Talis might be my favorite evil murder AI ever.

Date: 2016-05-04 01:48 am (UTC)
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
From: [personal profile] seekingferret
The Abbot is only torturing teenagers with electroshock because he was once one of them and he's the only one who truly loves them!

Date: 2016-05-04 01:55 am (UTC)
rymenhild: Korra and Asami, cuddling in a turtle-duck boat (korrasami)
From: [personal profile] rymenhild
I am glad I clicked the spoiler cut. That was information I needed. To the library request page!

Date: 2016-05-04 01:59 am (UTC)
bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookblather
LOL I didn't read your comment before making mine, but I had EXACTLY THE SAME REACTION.

Date: 2016-05-04 04:01 am (UTC)
china_shop: Diana from White Collar looking mischievous (WC Diana mischievous)
From: [personal profile] china_shop
Hee! I just (finally) read Uprooted, and I spent the entire book going, 'But it COULD happen! Right?'

Date: 2016-05-04 09:39 pm (UTC)
china_shop: Neal, Peter and Elizabeth smiling (Default)
From: [personal profile] china_shop
That would have helped. They should have a content note on the cover. ;-P Though I was actually shipping some kind of poly arrangement, either threesome or vee.

Date: 2016-05-04 04:39 am (UTC)
dimestore_romeo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dimestore_romeo
Hahahahaha SAME.

Date: 2016-05-04 01:58 am (UTC)
bookblather: A picture of Yomiko Readman looking at books with the text "bookgasm." (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookblather
WAIT WHAT LESBIAN PRINCESSES AND ASSHOLE GOATS?

To the library catalogue!

Date: 2016-05-04 02:52 am (UTC)
ambyr: a dark-winged man standing in a doorway over water; his reflection has white wings (watercolor by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law) (Default)
From: [personal profile] ambyr
Yesssss goooood more people are reading this! (Have you read Bow's other books? It is hard for me to decide which one I love most.)

Date: 2016-05-04 02:59 am (UTC)
ambyr: a dark-winged man standing in a doorway over water; his reflection has white wings (watercolor by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law) (Default)
From: [personal profile] ambyr
I await reviews! I really hope I can make a Yuletide fandom out of Sorrow's Knot.

Date: 2016-05-04 05:09 am (UTC)
allchildren: emily and naomi (⎚ through the eyes of a girl)
From: [personal profile] allchildren
FWIW I don't really think it's a huge spoiler? I mean, that's how the book was sold to me and it's all over the goodreads page. My position is that if there are queers in a fiction I might consume THE PEOPLE DESERVE TO KNOW unless it's like actively presented as a twist (which it sounds like maybe you did read it as? i just didn't feel that way at all.)
Edited (THE PEOPLE, BECCA) Date: 2016-05-04 05:13 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-05-04 06:55 am (UTC)
lizbee: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lizbee
YES, THOSE ARE ALL THE THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS I HAD ON READING IT

NO

Date: 2016-05-05 03:26 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jinian


WHY THIS

Date: 2016-05-05 11:03 pm (UTC)
dhampyresa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhampyresa
THIS IS A GOOD SPOILER.

Date: 2016-05-30 04:48 am (UTC)
rymenhild: Korra and Asami, cuddling in a turtle-duck boat (korrasami)
From: [personal profile] rymenhild
That was such an interesting book. I did not see it coming in at least twelve ways. What a complicated overturning of postapocalyptic YA tropes. Well played, Erin Bow.

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