Book Review: The House of the Scorpion – Nancy Farmer

Published: September 1, 2002
Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
Format: Novel
Genre And Themes: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance, Drugs, Death
Length: 380 pages, paperback
Ebook ISBN/ASIN: 0689852231 (ISBN13: 9780689852237)
Characters: Matteo Alacran, El Patron, Tam Lin, Maria Mendoza, Chacho, Fidelito, Ton-Ton, Celia

I’ve read this and its sequel over a week ago and it was a bit difficult for me to write reviews for both books since they’re so epic, I’m almost at a loss where to start. Let me try my best though, to say what I thought about this incredible masterpiece. Yeah – very telling I know, but this one’s really a masterpiece.

First the characters –

I loved Matt’s character. I was with him the whole time reading the book – was rooting for this kid who’s been cloned from the most powerful man in this dystopian words where drugs serves as its currency.

His resilience is beyond admirable. For a young age, he’s been through a lot. He may have gone ‘Lord of the Flies’ on us readers but the way he came out of it was so bad-ass, it got me bawling my eyes out. This character should be in a movie, pronto.

El Patron. I find him creepy but he’s such a dynamic character I’d love to see him come to life in a film. I loved that as evil as he is, there’s still a part of him that remembers the good ol’ days when he was not the ‘El Patron’ everyone has come to know when he isn’t consume by his self-made power.

Celia – as Matt’s caregiver -she’s probably the one character in the book that is consistently with Matt all throughout. I’m just wondering exactly how old she is but nevertheless – what a great character to juxtaposed the evil surrounding Matt.

Maria who is Matt’s love interest is a bit complicated to explain. She’s got good intentions but what she’s saying sometimes contradicts her actions.

Tam Lin is an amazing father figure for Matt. Kind of reminds me of Mister Miyagi in Karate Kid.

Steven and Tom – it is odd that they weren’t given that much part in the story but their actions throughout the book effectively made me despise them.

The story arc from the get-go is nothing short of exhilarating. What a dreadful possibility this could be, what with the climate change, the advancement of technology and the ‘powerful folks’ claiming lives like it was their gift to do so. It’s terrible but effective in the story.

The world-building is almost sensory overload. I mean, reading it makes you envision them on the spot because of the author’s powerful words.

The pacing was set faster than I expected which I absolutely loved. No unnecessary scenes. Every scene in this book is pivotal to the development of the characters and the story.

I know that I’m gushing all over but it’s just that good. This is super spoiler free but I’m telling you – it is so worth reading it!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

About The Author
Nancy was born in 1941 in Phoenix and grew up in a hotel on the Arizona-Mexico border where she worked the switchboard at the age of nine. She also found time to hang out in the old state prison and the hobo jungle along the banks of the Colorado River. She attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, earning her BA in 1963. Instead of taking a regular job, she joined the Peace Corps and was sent to India (1963-1965). When she returned, she moved into a commune in Berkeley, sold newspapers on the street for a while, then got a job in the Entomology department at UC Berkeley and also took courses in Chemistry there. Restless, again, she decided to visit Africa. She and a friend tried to hitchhike by boat but the ship they’d selected turned out to be stolen and was boarded by the Coast Guard just outside the Golden Gate Bridge. Nancy eventually got to Africa on a legal ship. She spent more than a year on Lake Cabora Bassa in Mozambique, monitoring water weeds. Next she was hired to help control tsetse fly in the dense bush on the banks of the Zambezi in Zimbabwe. Part of the time she spent in the capital, Harare, and was introduced to her soon-to-be husband by his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend. He proposed a week later. Harold and Nancy now live in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona on a major drug route for the Sinaloa Cartel. This is the setting for The Lord of Opium. They have a son, Daniel, who is in the U.S. navy.
Nancy’s honors include the National Book Award for The House of the Scorpion and Newbery Honors for The Ear, the Eye and The Arm, A Girl Named Disaster and The House of the Scorpion. She is the author of nine novels, three picture books and a number of short stories. Her books have been translated into 26 languages.

One response to “Book Review: The House of the Scorpion – Nancy Farmer

  1. Pingback: My January 2018 Book Haul! | PADDYLAST INC.

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