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Lord of Opium (House of the Scorpion) by [Farmer, Nancy]
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Lord of Opium (House of the Scorpion) Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Description

About the Author

Nancy Farmer has written three Newbery Honor books: "The Ear, the Eye and the Arm"; "A Girl Named Disaster"; and "The House of the Scorpion", which also won the National Book Award and the Printz Honor. Other books include "The Lord of Opium", "The Sea of Trolls", "The Land of the Silver Apples", "The Islands of the Blessed", "Do You Know Me", "The Warm Place", and three picture books for young children. She grew up on the Arizona-Mexico border and now lives with her family in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2205 KB
  • Print Length: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's UK (26 Sept. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B3VE14Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #389,851 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 24 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback
A lot of sci-fi/fantasy books stop when the the heroes win over the baddies and often gain some kind of power. But Nancy Farmer's "The Lord of Opium," the sequel to "House of the Scorpion," studies what happens AFTER that -- a tightly-written sci-fi thriller who studies what happens when a teen clone must cling to his humanity as he struggles with power.

With the death of El Patrón, his teenage clone Matt Alacrán is considered the new "him" (since they share DNA). So Matt is the new Lord of Opium, meaning he is running his own country full of opium poppies and a eejit populace. The microchips in their brains makes the eejits like programmable zombies, and Matt wants to free them and return them to their humanity... but isn't sure how.

And there are other problems -- challenges to his station, trying to get his love Maria back into Opium, and the power vacuum left by the deaths of the other drug lords. What's more, the UN wants to use Opium -- the only unharmed part of the world -- to heal everywhere else. Now Matt must find a way to balance his goals with the pressures outside Opium... while staying alive, and maintaining who he truly is.

Legally speaking, Matt is the same person as his hated "father," so a lot of "The Lord of Opium" is about his struggle to be a far better person than El Patrón. It's tough to address that kind of inner conflict, especially when there is actual doubt from the person about how different he can be from the original. It's not a good sign when you regularly "hear" the voice of your monstrous predecessor.

What sets Matt apart?
Read more ›
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Having enjoyed greatly 'House of the Scorpion' I was looking forward to reading 'The Lord of Opium' upon its release. The book is what I would expect from Nancy Farmer- well written, good characterisation- but it did not live up to my expectations.

There are two aspects of the book that hindered my enjoyment of it 1. the answer given to a question that may be hanging over for many readers from their reading of 'House of the Scorpion' and 2. a lack of the tension that would made me anxious for Matt and his friends.

Regarding point 1 this is never a question I asked myself! That I did not ponder the matter does not mean that I lack curiousity; it is simple the case that when I read novels set in different/ future realities I accept certain features of their realities just as I accept that when I walk out of the door later today I will not float into the sky! That said, it is a fairly obvious question to address in a sequel. I was not convinced by the answer and as reaching this answer propels most of the novel it is not surprising that my enjoyment of the book was diminished.

The second point is something that I was aware of towards the end of 'House of the Scorpion'- once I knew Matt would live a lot of the tension in the book dissipated, but I was still curious as to what would happen between Matt and El Patron and I was satisfied by the manner in which the book ended. The Lord of Opium does not quite match the promise of that ending. As I write this review I begin to suspect that the issue may be that too much of the world these books describe was revealed at once and this overwhelmed me/ distracted me from the narrative.

It may well be that my expectations were set too high by the first book in the sequence, but too many elements of the book failed to convince for it to warrant more than 3*.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Enjoyed scorpion better
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 166 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sophisticated ethical questions drive the plot 13 Nov. 2013
By Unity Dienes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a wonderful book, but I can understand why some readers feel it falls short of The House of Scorpion. In the first book, Matt's very survival is at stake, and the plot is driven by his discovery of who he is, and there are substantial mysteries that are not revealed until the end of the book. This second book is fundamentally different. Matt is not in particular danger throughout most of this book, and while he does make discoveries about his world, there's no moment of shock when the precariousness of his existence is revealed. Instead, this book revolves around his efforts to fix his native land, a project that turns out to be a lot more complicated than he thought it would be when he first set out to do so. The themes are more political and ethical , and less survival-based, than those in the first novel. For the original fans of the first novel, who are now adults, the increased sophistication and complication of Matt's world will likely parallel the changes that have gone through their lives as they have transitioned from adolescence to adulthood, and it is fair to say that this book continues the "coming of age" theme. However, for the readers who loved the first for its nail-biting story of a harrowing adventure of an underdog, this book will disappoint. For readers who fell in love with the world of Opium and compulsively want to see how Matt manages to (or fails to) fix some of its problems, the book will be every bit as interesting (if not quite as exciting) as the first.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Sequel! 17 Sept. 2013
By Eric Stout - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It's been awhile since I read House of the Scorpions, but it all came back to me right away when I delved into The Lord of Opium. Nancy Farmer continues the story of Matt, the clone of the nearly 150-year-old drug lord, El Patròn. When El Patròn dies, Matt becomes the new lord of Opium. He struggles to undo the regime and rescue the enslaved eejits but he's only 14 and embattled on all sides by a rival drug lord, UN forces led by a fanatic and general anti-clone prejudice. Even Matt's own right-hand man, Cienfuegos, may not be all that he appears to be. There are also a lot of interesting twists about clones, as he appears haunted by the old drug lord's ghostly presence in his mind.

Farmer's characters are distinct and life-like. In spite of his heroism Matt is a believable teenager, not a junior super-hero, and he has a teenager's problems. He loves a girl who is far away but he's also confused by his feelings for the beautiful eejit servant girl, who will do whatever he commands. He has trouble, too, in staying friends with the boys from the orphanage now that he's rich and powerful.

Matt's world comes to life in every detail--you can practically smell the desert air and hear the hum of the flying machines. But there is nothing stereotypical about this dystopia. Although Opium is a social disaster, it is also an ecological paradise and offers hope to the rest of the planet. In a way, the same is true of Matt. At first he is a despised clone, manufactured rather than born, but with the help of his allies, he becomes a true leader. The novel is poignant, startling and inspiring. I loved it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but a notch below Scorpion 17 Sept. 2013
By KVB99 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The House of Scorpion (THOS) was a fabulous, break through book, and so it was like opening a bottle of fine wine when I sat down to read this book. The book picks up pretty much where THOS left off--Matt, the new El Patron. Most of the story is consumed with Matt trying to live up to the new responsibilities thrust on him and undo the evil that the old El Patron did. In particular, Matt is determined to cure the eejits and find a way to be with Maria. On the plus side, the writing is excellent and the characters are generally terrific and the overall plot is engaging. Also, some new characters are introduced that are very engaging--eg, Cienfuegos. And, there are some very poignant story arcs. Fans of THOS will want to read this book and they will enjoy it. But...it's not as compelling as THOS. Some of the magic of THOS is still present, but much of it is gone, IMO. That was probably unavoidable...Matt is now lord, not lowly clone, and so we don't have that same dystopian atmosphere as THOS, where Matt struggles to find out if he's human or not in a world where most everyone despises him. Also, one of the most compelling characters in THOS for me was Maria. Sadly, until the last few pages of the book, she mostly just puts in a few cameo appearances in this book. What a waste of a great character. I will say that the ending is nicely done and, like THOS, the curtain comes down on a nice note of hope.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This sequel focuses more on internal struggles with issues of morality, humanity and the struggle between good and evil. 15 Jan. 2014
By Two kids mom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First of all, the age range (grades 7-10) listed in the Booklist review is ridiculous. A bright 10 year old to a 101 year old will enjoy this book. Although it is touted as YA, the topics explored are of interest to adults and there are NO vampires (but one could argue there are sort of zombies) in this book, which in the YA genre is an automatic plus.

My daughter read House of the Scorpion at age 11, and adored it so I was happy to get this sequel. She is now fourteen and devoured the Lord of Opium. I read it as well and we have difference of opinion as to which book was better, she leans toward the sequel while I liked House of the Scorpion better. I think this may be due to the fact that I really enjoy the world building that occurred in the first book, while she prefers the struggles Matt faces (moral, emotional and practical) in Lord of Opium. I have to agree with her that the Lord of Opium is more actually more complex because the delineation between who is “right” and “wrong” is less clear. Regardless, both books are dystopian literature, dark and thought provoking.

The book sparked many interesting discussions on:
What characteristics make us human?
Are internal or external struggles more difficult?
What is the basis of morality?
Is it acceptable to do evil, if your ultimate outcome is to create good?

Both books are excellent, I suggest you read them in order, but it is possible to read the Lord of Opium without having read the House of the Scorpion. Even though the main protagonist remains the same, these are actually fairly different books, the first is about external struggle and the second is more about internal struggle. This may mean that readers have a strong preference for one or the other.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good sequel to a good book 19 Dec. 2013
By Theoden Humphrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"House of Scorpion" is a good book: it's written well for the young adult audience, despite having fairly complicated science and politics involved, but the audience discovers the truth along with the main character, Matthew Alacran. But the book ends fairly abruptly.

This book picks right up where "House of Scorpion" left off, which makes it the most satisfying kind of sequel, especially for young readers who always want to know what happened next.

What happens next is, like the first book, a great concept: with the death of the original Matteo Alacran, the 140-year-old drug lord called El Patron, his clone, who shares his DNA but cannot "share" his identity and so is legally an unperson -- now he becomes, legally, the man whose DNA he has. And Matt becomes El Patron.

Which mean that now, Matt must try to survive El Patron's world. And since he is not very much like El Patron (at least not in ways he recognizes. Not at first.), he must try to find a way through the tangled webs that El Patron wove, in order to reshape the world of Opium so that it is more to his liking.

It's a little hard to read, emotionally; El Patron's world is particularly savage and heartless, and Matt has to live with it before he can change it -- and so of course, it begins to change him. This is a bit frustrating and disheartening for the reader. But Matt does handle it as well as he can, and fortunately, he has some help. He is not the villain, which I was glad for; I was worried at one point that he would actually become El Patron completely, but he does not. I won't spoil what does happen, I'll just leave it at that: it is not a cheerful book, as it is not a cheerful world, but Matt is not the villain.

A good book, again. I hadn't read the first book in five years or more, and so I had forgotten quite a lot of it; I would say that this book could stand alone, as there are enough flashbacks and explanations to allow a reader to grasp the larger story arc and the complicated setting, but you definitely lose some things just reading this book. Together with House of Scorpion, this is five stars, all the way.
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