This modern classic takes on an iron-fisted drug lord, clones bred for their organs, and what it means to be human. Winner of the National Book Award as well as Newbery and Printz Honors.
Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested. His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt’s first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster—except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself.
As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patrón’s power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive. But escape from the Alacrán Estate is no guarantee of freedom, because Matt is marked by his difference in ways he doesn’t even suspect.
|Publisher:||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.20(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
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.
Raúl Esparza starred on Broadway in The Homecoming, Company (Tony nom., Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Award), Taboo (Drama Desk Award), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Cabaret. On television he had a recurring role on the ABC series Pushing Daisies. His film credits include Sydney Lumet's FInd Me Guilty.
Hometown:Menlo Park, California
Date of Birth:July 9, 1941
Place of Birth:Phoenix, Arizona
Education:B.A., Reed College, 1963
Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1: In the Beginning
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.
Water bubbled through tubes that snaked around the warm, humid walls. Air was sucked into growth chambers. A dull, red light shone on the faces of the workers as they watched their own arrays of little glass dishes. Each one contained a drop of life.
Eduardo moved his dishes, one after the other, under the lens of the microscope. The cells were perfect or so it seemed. Each was furnished with all it needed to grow. So much knowledge was hidden in that tiny world! Even Eduardo, who understood the process very well, was awed. The cell already understood what color hair it was to have, how tall it would become, and even whether it preferred spinach to broccoli. It might even have a hazy desire for music or crossword puzzles. All that was hidden in the droplet.
Finally the round outlines quivered and lines appeared, dividing the cells in two. Eduardo sighed. It was going to be all right. He watched the samples grow, and then he carefully moved them to the incubator.
But it wasn't all right. Something about the food, the heat, the light was wrong, and the man didn't know what it was. Very quickly over half of them died. There were only fifteen now, and Eduardo felt a cold lump in his stomach. If he failed, he would be sent to the Farms, and then what would become of Anna and the children, and his father, who was so old?
"It's okay," said Lisa, so close by that Eduardo jumped. She was one of the senior technicians. She had worked for so many years in the dark, her face was chalk white and her blue veins were visible through her skin.
"How can it be okay?" Eduardo said.
"The cells were frozen over a hundred years ago. They can't be as healthy as samples taken yesterday."
"That long," the man marveled.
"But some of them should grow," Lisa said sternly.
So Eduardo began to worry again. And for a month everything went well. The day came when he implanted the tiny embryos in the brood cows. The cows were lined up, patiently waiting. They were fed by tubes, and their bodies were exercised by giant metal arms that grasped their legs and flexed them as though the cows were walking through an endless field. Now and then an animal moved its jaws in an attempt to chew cud.
Did they dream of dandelions? Eduardo wondered. Did they feel a phantom wind blowing tall grass against their legs? Their brains were filled with quiet joy from implants in their skulls. Were they aware of the children growing in their wombs?
Perhaps the cows hated what had been done to them, because they certainly rejected the embryos. One after another the infants, at this point no larger than minnows, died.
Until there was only one.
Eduardo slept badly at night. He cried out in his sleep, and Anna asked what was the matter. He couldn't tell her. He couldn't say that if this last embryo died, he would be stripped of his job. He would be sent to the Farms. And she, Anna, and their children and his father would be cast out to walk the hot, dusty roads.
But that one embryo grew until it was clearly a being with arms and legs and a sweet, dreaming face. Eduardo watched it through scanners. "You hold my life in your hands," he told the infant. As though it could hear, the infant flexed its tiny body in the womb until it was turned toward the man. And Eduardo felt an unreasoning stir of affection.
When the day came, Eduardo received the newborn into his hands as though it were his own child. His eyes blurred as he laid it in a crib and reached for the needle that would blunt its intelligence.
"Don't fix that one," said Lisa, hastily catching his arm. "It's a Matteo Alacrán. They're always left intact."
Have I done you a favor? thought Eduardo as he watched the baby turn its head toward the bustling nurses in their starched, white uniforms. Will you thank me for it later?
Copyright © 2002 by Nancy Farmer
Table of Contents
YOUTH: 0 TO 6
1. In the Beginning
2. The Little House in the Poppy Fields
3. Property of the Alacrán Estate
MIDDLE AGE: 7 TO 11
6. El Patrón
8. The Eejit in the Dry Field
9. The Secret Passage
10. A Cat with Nine Lives
11. The Giving and Taking of Gifts
12. The Thing on the Bed
13. The Lotus Pond
14. Celia's Story
OLD AGE: 12 TO 14
15. A Starved Bird
16. Brother Wolf
17. The Eejit Pens
18. The Dragon Hoard
21. Blood Wedding
24. A Final Good-bye
25. The Farm Patrol
LA VIDA NUEVA
26. The Lost Boys
27. A Five-legged Horse
28. The Plankton Factory
29. Washing a Dusty Mind
30. When the Whales Lost Their Legs
32. Found Out
33. The Boneyard
34. The Shrimp Harvester
35. El Día de los Muertos
36. The Castle on the Hill
38. The House of Eternity
What People are Saying About This
* “Readers will be hooked from the first page.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "An inspiring tale of friendship, survival, hope, and transcendence."Kirkus, starred review
* “This is a powerful, ultimately hopeful story that builds on today's sociopolitical, ethical, and scientific issues and prognosticates a compelling picture of what the future could bring. All of these serious issues are held together by a remarkable coming-of-age story.” Booklist, starred review
“Mind-expanding fiction.”—USA Today
Reading Group Guide
A Simon Pulse Guide for Reading Groups
The House of the Scorpion
By Nancy Farmer
ABOUT THE BOOK
Matt is a clone of El Patrón, a powerful drug lord of the land of Opium, which is located between the United States and Mexico. For six years, he has lived in a tiny cottage in the poppy fields with Celia, a kind and deeply religious servant woman who is charged with his care and safety. He knows little about his existence until he is discovered by a group of children playing in the fields and wonders why he isn't like them. Though Matt has been spared the fate of most clones, who have their intelligence destroyed at birth, the evil inhabitants of El Patrón's empire consider him a "beast" and an "eejit." When El Patrón dies at the age of 146, fourteen-year-old Matt escapes Opium with the help of Celia and Tam Lin, his devoted bodyguard who wants to right his own wrongs. After a near misadventure in his escape, Matt makes his way back home and begins to rid the country of its evils.
Ask students to write down their definition of science fiction. Then have them discuss the meaning of cloning. Have them debate whether a novel about cloning is by their definition considered science fiction.
- Matteo Alacrán is the clone of El Patrón, the lord of the country called Opium, and lives in isolation until children playing in the poppy fields discover him. Why is he so eager to talk to the children, after he is warned against it? Why is Mariá especially attracted to Matt?
- Describe Matt's relationship with Celia. Why is she the servant chosen to care for Matt? Celia snaps at Matt when he calls her mama. Then she says to him, "I love you more than anything in the world. Never forget that. But you were only loaned to me, mi vida." Why doesn't she explain the term loaned to Matt? Celia really believes that she is protecting Matt by keeping him locked in her cottage and ignorant about his identity. Debate whether this type of protection is indeed dangerous for him. How does Celia continue to protect Matt throughout his life on the Alacrán Estate?
- After the children discover Matt, he is taken from Celia and imprisoned in a stall for six months with only straw for a bed. How might prison be considered a metaphor for his entire life? Who is the warden of his prison? Discuss the role of Mariá, Celia, and Tam Lin in helping him escape his prison.
- Rosá describes El Patrón as a bandit. How has El Patrón stolen the lives of all those living on his estate? Which characters are his partners in evil? Debate whether they support him for the sake of their own survival. Explain what Tam Lin is trying to tell Matt when he says, "If you are kind and decent, you grow into a kind and decent man. If you're like El Patrón...just think about it." Considering that Matt is the clone of El Patrón, debate whether environment influences evil more than genetics.
- El Patrón celebrates his 143rd birthday with a large party. Though Matt was "harvested," and doesn't really have a birthday, the celebration is for him as well, since he is El Patrón's clone. How does Matt imitate El Patrón's power when he demands a birthday kiss from Mariá? Discuss how El Patrón encourages Matt's uncharacteristic behavior. Why is Mariá so humiliated by Matt's demand? How does Matt feel the crowd's disapproval?
- El Viejo, El Patrón's grandson and the father of Mr. Alacrán, is a senile old man because he refused the fetal brain implants based on religious and moral grounds. Debate his position. Why does El Patrón consider Mr. Alacrán rude when he mentions El Viejo's religious beliefs? Celia is also a deeply religious person. How is this demonstrated throughout the novel?
- At what point does Matt realize that Tom is dangerous? He remembers what Tam Lin had told him, "If you didn't know Tom well, you'd think he is an angel bringing you the keys to the pearly gates." How does Tom mislead Mariá? Discuss why Tom takes Matt and Mariá to see the screaming clones. How is this a turning point for Matt and Mariá's friendship? Why does Celia feel that Matt deserves the truth once he has seen the clones?
- What gives Celia the courage to stand up to El Patrón and refuse to let Matt be used for a heart transplant? What does El Patrón mean when he says to Celia, "We make a fine pair of scorpions, don't we?" Explain why she is insulted by this comment.
- How does Tam Lin know that Matt's future lies in finding the Convent of Santa Clara? Describe Matt's journey to the convent. What does he discover along the way? Discuss Esperanza's role in helping Matt gain his ultimate freedom to live as a human.
- Discuss the structure of the novel. How does it resemble acts and scenes in a play? Why does the author include the Cast of Characters at the beginning of the novel? Divide the class into five groups, and assign each group a section to write as a one-act play. Take dialogue directly from the book, and use a narrator to relate the story between speakers. Matt finds order in the music of Mozart. Locate music by Mozart to use at the beginning and end of each act.
- Have students design a family crest for El Patrón's empire. Discuss why this crest may repulse Matt. Create an alternative crest for the Alacrán family after Matt transforms the empire.
- Read about Cinco de Mayo and draw a parallel between the history of this Mexican holiday and Matt's victory for rights and justice at the end of the novel. Plan a Cinco de Mayo celebration that Matt might have after he breaks down the empire of Opium. Include appropriate food and music.
- Mariá refers to Saint Francis throughout the novel. As a class, create a picture book about Saint Francis that Mariá might give to Matt. Write an appropriate dedication to Matt. How might the story of Saint Francis offer hope to Matt?
- Dolly, the first mammal to be successfully cloned from an adult cell, was born on July 5, 1996, at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh. She died by lethal injection in 2003 at age six. Have students use books or the internet to locate more information about Dolly and then write a brief paper about the significance of her birth to science.
- Students may wish to read about how scientists are using cloning for medical research today. Have them read opposing viewpoints regarding the issues of human cloning at www.humancloning.org and www.cloninginformation.org. Encourage them to debate the issues in class. How is this becoming a political issue?
- Ask students who have read The Giver by Lois Lowry to stage a conversation between Matt and Jonas. Have them discuss the community they left, their decision to leave and their method of escape, the ethical and moral issues related to human cloning in Matt's community, and the releasing process in Jonas's community. Have Matt explain to Jonas why he returns to Opium, and what he plans to do to transform the country.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nancy Farmer is one of the most compelling voices in young adult literature. She received Newbery Honor awards for her 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 received a Printz Honor. Ms. Farmer grew up in Yuma, Arizona, where her parents ran a hotel near an abandoned prison. She spent her early adult life as a scientist, first with the Peace Corps teaching chemistry and biology in southern India; then seventeen more working in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, where she met her husband. Ms. Farmer turned to writing after the birth of her son and has drawn upon her rich background. While she does not call herself a science fiction writer, Ms. Farmer explains, "Science fiction allows you to approach a lot of social issues you can't get to directly. If you wrote a book about how cloning is horrible, it would read like a sermon and no one would pay attention to it." Her latest novel, The Sea of Trolls, was published in fall 2004 and has received an impressive five starred reviews.
The House of the Scorpion
By Nancy Farmer
A Richard Jackson Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers
- National Book Award Winner
- Newbery Honor Book
- Michael L. Printz Honor Book
- ALA Notable Book
- BBYA Top Ten
This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Prepared by Pat Scales, Director of Library Services,
SC Governor's School for Arts and Humanities, Greenville.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am a 14 year old Peruvian who now comprehends the meaning of endurance. Matteo Alacrán, a clone, must embrace death, torture, hatred and treachery to prove he's not a brainless clone like others. This book takes you in Matteo or Matt's life starting when he's a young boy; you'll see the pain he undergoes and a bit of romance. The scenery takes place in future Mexico called Aztlán governed by El Patrón, a drug lord. I highly recommend this book to sci-fi lovers because this book is a real page turner.
This a great book! It has action and adventure, little romance, and it'll keep you guessing. Nancy Farmer did it again. Oh, and there might be sequel, so look oit for that!
The House of the Scorpion has almost NOTHING TO DO WITH SCORPIANS!!! This book was simply amazing. A very suck-into kind of book. It's full of suspensful moments. The tables turn every-so-often but it was very clear. I would reccomend it to everyone.
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer was definitely one of the best books I have ever read. This book will lure in even the most inactive of readers. All of the characters engross you with their stories and tug at your emotions, keeping you turning pages to find out what happens to them. For those who visualize when they read, there are many descriptive passages that pull you right in the settings. The entire novel is filled with symbolism and themes that pull at the heart strings. With an extremely unexpected ending, House of the Scorpion is sure to have something for every reader.
it is great. it is not for only young people either. for all ages.
The house of the scorpion by Nancy Farmer is the best book ever. It is filled of action and emotion which makes it impossible to put down. The house of the scorpion has lots of action but is not so fast passed that you cannot keep up with it. It also has some slow moving sad parts that make a difference so it does not get boring. If you have a fast moving action book that all it has is action than it will not be that go because there is nothing to look forward to. The house of the scorpion also is a little bit of a mystery. I love mysteries so that's a big plus. For people who do not like mysteries it is not a problem because it is just a side plot and does not take up much of the book. A character I really like is Tam Lin. He is a big tough guy but he is really understanding and can be really nice. SJ
The book I'm about to talk about is a three time honor award winner by Nancy Farmer. That's right I'm talking about "The House of the Scorpion". This book is one of the best books I have ever read (I'm not just saying that either). Matt (the main character of the book; also the clone) has to go through horrible torture throughout the book. He goes from hidden to hated to loved and back to hated. Celia (Matt's best friend whom he calls his mom) is the only person that cares at all about Matt. That is until he meets Maria. Maria (Matt's girlfriend) is a young, beautiful girl, without a care in the world until she meets Matt and she falls in "love" with him. Then there's Tam-Lin (Matt's "body guard") who is one of Matt's best friends. Last, but not least, El Patròn (the ruler of the opium empire) he is also known as the "villain" of the book. El Patròn is the real Matteo alacràn. He "lent" Matt to Celia who raised him up for 7 years. Then some kids discover him and they take him to their house after he jumps on some glass and cuts up his feet. They discover that Matt is a clone and then everyone starts mistreating him except Celia and Maria. This is where the roller coaster starts all aboard. They lock Matt up in a room and they torture him for about 4 months. Then El Patròn finds him and fires the slave that was mistreating him and torturing him, and makes her into an ejite (an ejite is someone or something that has a chip implanted in their brain so they do what they're told and only when they're told to do it). Matt, from then on, is treated like a prince. Matt gets anything he wants when he wants it. Everyone is forced to be nice to him (they're still not nice unless El Patròn is around) and he gets his own personal body guard. Matt discovers that El Patròn only made him to sacrifice him for his organs. Then Matt runs away and makes it to the next country over. El Patròn dies because he doesn't have the organs that he needs. Matt gets caught by the boarder guard and gets put in an orphanage. They make him eat food that's usually fed to animals. They make him work all day. If he disobeys, they punish him by beating him until he bleeds; sometimes putting him in the nurse's office. He escapes and makes it to a hospital ran by Maria's mom and he gets fed right until he's healed up. He then finds Maria once again. Maria and her mom ask Matt for a favor that risks his life. He does it and makes it past the life risking part. He discovers that Tam-Lin died. Then he becomes the ruler of the opium and shuts down/destroys the opium empire, just like Maria's mom asked. If you want to read the full story, I suggest reading the book. There is a lot more that I haven't told you about. This is one of the best books I have ever read in my enire life. If you wait another day to read this book you will regret it for a long time. Once you read this book you will thank yourself for the rest of your life!
Have you ever dreamt of what the future may be like? You may picture it as a glorious world full of wonderful new inventions that make life easier to cope with. Or you may think of the future as being a place completely inhospitable to all life forms. In this book, the author's idea of the future is somewhere between the two. At the beginning, Matt (the main character) is born (or rather "harvested", as the book puts it). He lives in a shack in the middle of a poppy field on a farm that produces opium, a major drug made out of poppies. This farm is in a small country called Opium that is in between Mexico and the United States. He lives in this shack until he winds up at "The Big House," the mansion that is located on the plantation. He is rejected by all people there, and it is then that he realizes that he is not human. He goes on to meet a girl named Maria, a bodyguard named Tam-Lin, and a drug-lord named El Patron. While living in the Big House, he learns that he is the clone of El Patron. He lives the good life until El Patron starts to get sick, and needs a new heart. Matt is then called upon to be the donor for the new heart. Matt has to escape the Big House. He escapes the Big House and Opium, but is then enslaved by people in a city called Atzlan, and is forced to work for "the greater good of the people." Can Matt escape this new enslavement? There are several characters in this story. Matt is the main protagonist. He is an ever changing character, as he gets older. As a young boy living in the shack in the poppy field, he is lonely, and wants friends to play with. Once he starts living in the Big House, he gets into trouble a lot. He meets several friends, one of them a girl named Maria, who visits the Big House on certain occasions. She is Matt's best friend, but later in the story, she becomes a little more than just a friend. She is easily upset by many things, and is very gullible. Most of all, though, she wants to protect Matt from El Patron. El Patron is a drug lord who controls all of Opium, and has lived over seven lifetimes. He is also the main antagonist of the story. He creates Matt as a clone of himself. At first, Matt thinks that El Patron created him just because he was a kind old man, but later, he learns that El Patron's reason is far more sinister than he could ever imagine. El Patron has two bodyguards: Daft Donald, and Tam-Lin. Matt is given Tam-Lin as his bodyguard. Tam-Lin is a Scottish man who was picked up by El Patron in Scotland while he and Daft Donald were "breaking heads outside a soccer field." El Patron realized they were tough, so he hired them. Tam-Lin is a kind, good-natured man, but he has a secret past, one that Matt is determined to find out. This book is a wonderfully exciting and original glimpse into the future. It never gets dull, and you won't want to put it down until you've finished it. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the future, and of course, clones. But this book isn't all about the future. There are many parts of the book that include action, drama, and even a bit of romance. I personally found this book very rewarding to read. Nancy Farmer has done a wonderful job of blending excitement, sadness, and mystery into one single piece of literature. So, just to summarize, this is a wonderful book for anyone who is interested in great literature, and who wants to find a book that will make them want to keep reading.
The house of the Scorpions was awesome! It was a book about full of mystery surprises and EXCITEMENT. Matt the clone of El Patron was born out of a cow. They story was located in the land of opium. Matt was treated bad because he was a clone, he had few friends but his friends were Tam Lin, Maria, Celia and of course of El patron. When it came time for Matt to be killed he ran and his in the mountains. El patron was 147 years old he lived off of different body parts from clones except for this time. He died of liver failure. We read this book over summer, at first I did not want to read this book because it was long and looked boring. But you know what they say don¿t judge a book by its cover and boy were they RIGHT! After one chapter I was hooked. This book is great full of so many challenged for each main character. In the end, we thought this book was SUPER, DUPER, UBER!!!!
Reccommend for the hunger games crowd
The House of the Scorpion, was able to move me in ways I never thought a book could. It took control over my life, and I could never find myself capable to put it down. It forces the reader to think, feel, and sympathize with the book¿s protagonist. This is a book that will change a child from a non-reader to a reader. The reader follows the life of young Matt Alacran, an orphan who lives with his foster mother, Celia. Although Matt is very nice, there is something wrong with him. Something unlike normal children. Matt is a clone. A genetic copy of the 142-year-old ¿El Patron¿. Throughout the book Matt meets many people, who treat him as an animal and as a mistake. In Matt¿s life he knows only three people who show him compassion: Celia, Tam Lin, Maria. Celia is Matt¿s foster mother who only wants the best for him, but is sometimes too defensive. Matt¿s body guard, Tam Lin, appears brutal and violent on the outside, but on the inside he is compassionate and understanding. And Maria, Matt¿s first crush. Although sometimes scornful, she builds a friendship with Matt and unlike the other children, she treats Matt like a person, not an animal. The only negative in the book was that it continued to get darker and more disturbing as the story progressed. And the author described the book so in depth, you would literally walk away from the book feeling upset and discouraged. In a way, the book was so good, it almost made the reader feel bad This book proves that Nancy Farmer is truly a Sci-Fi genius. I strongly recommend this book to all readers, both boys and girls. I have never read anything that can control a reader like this novel. The House of the Scorpion, will blow you away.
I started out reading this book because I had to for summer school; I wouldn't have chosen this book because I have a certain taste for books. Once I started this book I couldn't stop. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It speaks of friendship in a sea of hatred and danger. I would read this book over and over again if I could. It is worth it.
The House of the Scorpion has almost NOTHING TO DO WITH SCORPIANS!!! This book was simply amazing. A very suck-into kind of book. It's full of suspensful moments. The tables turn every-so-often but it was very clear. I would reccomend it to everyone.
The house of the scorpion is a lovely story about a clone. A clone by the name of Matteo Alacran. His DNA came from a strong leader called EL Patron. Matt has a difficult time getting the fact that he is a clone. Also everyone for some reason hates clones. so Matt has to go through alot to survive and act like a human boy. i highly reccomend it to people who like suprises and twist endings.
Very good book... I do Reccomend :)
I read this book already but ima get it again ! Very qood
This book is an award winner for a reason. Chillingly in depth and captivating, this story of a young clone with thrill any fiction reader of any age. Someone else gave this book a review saying it's bloody and gory, they're exaggerating the details quite a bit. The blood and violence in this book is very mild, the only intensity in the book are the situations young Matteo encounters and handle's. Please note that this book is sold in the "Young Readers" section so you should know for a fact that any and all violence is mild or it would otherwise be sold in a more adult category. However, I do recommend this book for Teens as well as Adults, it is just THAT well written! Enjoy!
this is an amazing book! i was enticed by how good this book was.it had great climax andut rells a great story Bout a young boy trying to find out who he is!,!
In the House of the Scorpion the main character has a lot of trouble figuring out who he really is and has to go though a lot of different obstacles. He finds out who is on his side and how evil people can really be, he runs into action, drama and a big adventure to find the only person who loves him for him. I though that this book had its ups and downs and was very interesting at the end!
Readers beware: You will not be able to put this book down once you start it! Nancy Farmer¿s award winning novel The House of the Scorpion is an inspiring tale of friendship, survival, and hope. It is an excellent read, you will be up all night running through the pages. We are sucked into the book right from page one where the main character, Matt, is in a petri dish. We see him grow from a boy to a teenager, but most consider him as a monster - except for El Patron, the lord of Opium. El Patron loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself. The House of the Scorpion is a really powerful and hopeful story that guesses a pretty good picture of what the future could bring. Even if you are not a fantasy/science-fiction fan I think you will love this book. Farmer¿s great writing makes Matt so real. She lets the reader go totally inside Matt¿s life we feel his joy, his pain, his fears, his confusion, his longings. He's the kid in all of us trying to do his best and find his place in a world that often makes no sense. This novel is probably best for ages of 11 and up. You should be warned that it is a depressing and sad story and may not appeal to you if you are `weak-hearted`. Overall it was a great read, The House of the Scorpion has it all: science fiction based on good science, adventure, friendship, suspense, intrigue, mystery, murder and a hint of romance. Don¿t miss it!
This book was really good! It's science fiction, and it's incredibly deep. You find yourself wondering about some of the things in this book, and how creepy it would be if the world were like it...Like all books it had its rough spots (ending, meoderately slow start) but the plot really packed a lot (a new suprise almost every page flip). I would reccomend this book in a heartbeat!!!
I literally stumbled upon this book at work when it was discovered at my store. Maybe I found the story so fascinating because I didn't know what to expect. I didn't even read a full synopsis before diving in. Matt's story really spoke to me as how a child is forced to age in a society with so much economic and social clutter. It's definitely worth checking out.
I'm 34 and enjoyed this book. There is a movie called The Island with a slightly similar story line but this is told from the perspective of a young boy clone and not an adult. I found it an easy read and a page turner. I really liked the ending! I look forward to reading the second book!
Although I am not usually a lover of fantasy books, this one kept me on the edge, and just when I thought I had figured out what was going to happen ¿ I learned something else. A great read.
This was one of my favorite books in middle school, and it's no less amazing now that I reread it for my class. The world that El Patron controls, in which Matt lives, is frighteningly stifling yet exciting. An absorbing story while at the same time bringing up interesting issues surrounding cloning, power, and its effect on humanity's future and the definition of identity and humanity.