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The House of the Scorpion

The House of the Scorpion [Kindle Edition]

Nancy Farmer
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Nancy Farmer's latest novel for young people depicts a chilling vision of the future - a world where clones are reared so that their organs may prolong the lives of the favoured few, and other unfortunates have computer implants inserted into their brains to render them utterly submissive. Far-fetched? Maybe; but Farmer writes so convincingly that such a world seems dreadfully possible. The story is set in a timeless future where El Patron has supreme control over Opium, a stretch of land between the USA and what used to be Mexico. The country's economy depends on drugs, and El Patron has dragged himself up from the gutter to a position of unassailable authority. But El Patron is 148 years old and his life is ebbing away. It is time to breed another clone to provide the essential body parts to keep him going for a few more years. Matteo Alacran is that clone, but it is not until he is six years old and meets some of El Patron's family, that he learns the truth about his background, how he was cultivated from a piece of El Patron's skin, and incubated inside a cow. Brought up by his devoted surrogate mother Celia, Matt has only ever known affection, but all that is set to change - as a clone he is reviled and abused as the lowest of the low, despite the apparent protection offered by El Patron. Matt finally confronts the truth about El Patron's motives in keeping him alive, and realizes he must escape or die. Yet Matt flees only to find himself in even greater danger. Relying on only his native wit and the new friends he has acquired on the way, Matt is finally able to confront the truth about his past and look forward to the future with renewed hope. Profoundly disturbing, and almost too convincing, this is a captivating read which also raises serious moral and ethical questions. This is science fiction as 'science faction' - the reader cannot put this book aside and say, with any conviction, 'that could never happen'. Farmer has already established a considerable reputation as a children's author, winning several awards and commendations; this novel will introduce this exciting writer to a wider readership, and earn her the increased recognition she so richly deserves. Ages 13+ (Kirkus UK)

Product Description

Matt is six years old when he discovers that he is different from other children and other people. To most, Matt isn't considered a boy at all, but a beast, dirty and disgusting. But to El Patron, lord of a country called Opium, Matt is the guarantee of eternal life. El Patron loves Matt as he loves himself - for Matt is himself. They share the exact same DNA.
As Matt struggles to understand his existence and what that existence truly means, he is threatened by a host of sinister and manipulating characters, from El Patron's power-hungry family to the brain-deadened eejits and mindless slaves that toil Opium's poppy fields. Surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards, escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But even escape is no guarantee of freedom… because Matt is marked by his difference in ways that he doesn't even suspect.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 644 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (1 Aug 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #48,310 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gripping story 14 April 2009
I couldn't put this down. It has some great ideas in it, and I enjoyed the journey of discovery made by the main character. It's an ambitious book - trying to describe a possible future in a single novel - and the plot probably has a few holes in it, but the narrative really moved along at a good pace, and the main characters were well drawn. Not quite as good as Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer, but still well worth a read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Dystopian future 14 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having read Patrick Ness and Scott Westerfeld, I was on the look out for a novel that could match their imagination. I am pleased to say that I found it in House of the Scorpion.
The story is character driven and does not rely on technology to give a plausible future.
The stoy is (More or Less) split into three parts, which kind of reflects the protaganist as he grows up.
It's hard to write a review without giving too much away, but suffice to say, this book had me turning the pages to find out what happened at the end.
Go ahead and buy House of the Scorpion, I don't think you will be disappointed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not another clone... 8 April 2004
By Jess
This is definately one of the best books I've EVER read! Set in a future we can only try to understand, and racing through cities, forests, poppy fields, even countries, this story of epic proportions will whip you into the plot and leave with tear in the corner of your eye.
The characters are rich; alive with personality and realism. Follow the story of naive Matteo Alacran as he struggles to free himself of the oppresive reign in Opium, and his power-lusting 'relatives' that rule there. He must overcome his cell of cockroaches, the zombie-like slaves of the drug, and the acne-plagued boys of the Plankton Factory, before he can return to the two people that ever cared for him. But will he return in time? Or will El Patron reign even in death?
Warm, real, and compelling, this is one of those rare books that still makes you cry the second time you read it!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, but... 20 Jun 2006
By Turtle
This is a brilliant book and I would definitely recommend it, but I just have one complaint. Ok, I know I'm being really really picky, but one thing which crops up a few times in this book is the idea that 2 people sharing the same DNA will have the same fingerprints, and I'm fairly sure this isn't true. I know it sounds rediculous but that just snubbed my enjoyment of the book a bit, because that means that basically half of the story wouldn't happen in real life, and books are more interesting if they're actually POSSIBLE.

Other than that, this is an amazing book and it kept me gripped right to the end. Read it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Top kids' book 23 Feb 2014
By BIg fan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My 14 year old read this and insisted that I read it because it was so good. She said that it was the best book she had ever read. I too was utterly blown away by it. So much so that am ordering it as birthday presents of any teens/ pre-teens that I need to buy for. The plot is intricate, clever and is readable partly because it entirely escapes any mawkishness which could otherwise have made it impossible to read, as the heart of the story is so painful. Upbeat ending too. Can't praise it enough.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer 21 Nov 2013
By Amber
How had I not heard of this book before a few months ago? It seems as though everyone I speak to has already read it, and yet it has been avoiding my radar for the past few years. What?!

The House of the Scorpion is a great read. It's about love and family, and how those two things make us human. It's about rising up, and empowerment, and fighting your so-called destiny. I love all of those things, so I knew as soon as I picked this book up that this would be one for me. Add to that a writing style that reminds me of Neal Shusterman's Unwind, and we have a winner.

One of my favourite parts of the novel, if not my absolute favourite, was the relationships between Matt, Tam Lin, and Celia. Celia has raised Matt basically as her own child, although she was always very strict about him not referring to her as his mother. She gave him the love, care, and attention that all children deserve, and she was one of the few characters that saw Matt as a human rather than a clone. Tam Lin is the same. He is initially appointed as a bodyguard to Matt, but their relationship grows and strengthens in the best of ways, and Tam Lin begins to teach Matt about everything that matters.

I also really enjoyed the character development that Matt goes through. He starts off as a sheltered child, until he is one day discovered by the children from the big house. From then on, The House of the Scorpion follows Matt as he goes from abused child, to arrogant and spoilt, to a scared boy, to a brave teenager... Nancy Farmer handles it very well, and I found myself becoming very attached to Matt. Even when he made awful decisions, you understood why he made them, and the consequences of those decisions.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read. 19 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really did enjoy this book. The story is different from the usual run of the mill. It has twists and turns enough to keep my interest
right through to the end.It is well written and you get very involved with the characters
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