Review: “The House of the Scorpion” by Nancy Farmer

“In the beginning there were thirty-six of them, thirty-six droplets of life so tiny that Eduardo could see them only under a microscope. He studied them anxiously in the darkened room.”

A Red Raven Reads Review of “The House of the Scorpion” by Nancy Farmer

houseofthescorpion //


This story is weird, dystopian, and unique to the core. Essentially, Matt is a clone of opium druglord El Patron, and this book is his “coming-of-age” tale as he learns to overcome the adversity of being considered less than human while struggling to prove his own humanity.


This book is both beautifully and masterfully written, with vivid descriptions of the Mexican landscape. The passage from Matt as a child to a young adult is so well done—extraordinarily realistic, as well as emotionally accurate for each age that Farmer portrays. I can find no flaw in the structure, characterization, or writing itself. Everything was sound and compelling in a quiet way.


While this book has every right to the many awards it’s received, I was almost… disappointed. Not because it wasn’t a great book, but because with the amount of awards I expected it to be a life-changing experience, and personally, it was not. The problem is, I can’t really find anything wrong with it besides the feeling of “lacking.” As though this book wasn’t quite enough.


This is an incredible book, and well-told. However, I found almost a distance in emotion, connection, and impact, and I can’t exactly frame why. Despite the distance felt, this book was still incredible and I definitely recommend it to lovers of YA or well-done social commentary everywhere.


I’m happy to give this book four out of five stars!


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