Book Review: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Book cover of The House of the Scorpion by Nancy FarmerThe House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (2002)
380 pages
Goodreads Summary: Matteo Alacran was not born; he was harvested with the DNA from El Patron, lord of a country called Opium. Can a boy who was bred to guarantee another’s survival find his own purpose in life? And can he ever be free?

I decided to read this because it had a really high rating on Goodreads (4.12) and the premise (cloning) sounded really interesting.  It ended up being a bit of a letdown because it was so long and it felt like the story was dragging on and on at times.  There were so many descriptions of things when I just wanted the story to move along with more action.

That being said, the writing is really well done and the world-building was quite good, although I did find myself wanting more information about how things got the way they did.  The characters were all really well written and easy to visualize.

Overall the story has something to say about people and who is better or worse. In the book clones are considered like animals even though they are still human beings.  But I didn’t think the story really packed that much of a punch.  They illustrated some pretty dire conditions in which eejits (people with computer chips in their heads) were forced to live in, but for some reason while reading I didn’t feel that strongly outraged or shocked. I understood the message and can see it’s importance, but it didn’t stay with me that long after I finished reading.

Then again, the book is written for a younger audience and I’m sure young adults or teenagers who read it will find it much more suited to them.  So I’d definitely recommend this book and I’m glad I read it.  I just wanted a bit more of an impact from the reading experience.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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