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The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

The House of the Scorpion (2002)

by Nancy Farmer

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Matteo Alacran (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,6302221,565 (4.13)130
In a future where humans despise clones, Matt enjoys special status as the young clone of El Patrón, the 142-year-old leader of a corrupt drug empire nestled between Mexico and the United States.
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    lquilter: Cherryh's Cyteen is another classic look at a clone.
  5. 20
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» See also 130 mentions

English (220)  Spanish (1)  All languages (221)
Showing 1-5 of 220 (next | show all)
This book is about a boy named Matt who we find out later in the book was a clone of El Patron, a drug lord. Matt goes through all of his life creating friendships, being mistreated to being respected highly, doubting who he is, and wondering what is purpose is. After learning his true purpose, a living organ donor for El Patron, he then escapes and returns only to take down the cartel that El Patron had built. This book is a great example of a dystopian society and would be a great book for them to read to get a feel for what that genre is. For that reason, and because the story is entertaining and keeps you on your toes the entire time you are reading it, I gave this book 4 stars. ( )
  sgg014 | Mar 17, 2019 |
Maya likes the scifi, power & kingdoms.
  FinneytownSecondary | Feb 23, 2019 |
Hunger Games meets Holes...The House of the Scorpion was a pretty good book. Science fiction, dystopian novel. The first chapter introduces us to clones....grown inside cows. Controversial? Drugs, opium, drug lords, Mexican/American wall, eejits (brainless slaves) are all parts of this book. It is a little darker than The Hunger Games but manages a love story through all the darkness. It took me a long time to read, but I really dug into the reading. I thought about "The Wall" between Mexico and America. I actually put the book down for quite a few days when the first chapter told me they were growing clones for body parts inside cows...and this is a YA book!?! But, I'm glad I finished it. ( )
  mandieh | Feb 19, 2019 |
Matt is a clone of a 140+ year-old drug lord, created to eventually supply spare organs to the old man. Clones are treated as livestock... as loathsome things not even remotely human. Normally, their brains are destroyed at birth, but Matt is different. El Patron, the old drug lord whose life he was created to extend, likes his clones to be treated well until he decides to kill them to get an organ. El Patron rules a sort of No-Man's-Land called Opium which lies between the United States and Aztlan (formerly Mexico). The plants for the drugs are kept by "eejits," human beings who have had their free will totally removed by a computer chip implanted in their brain, so they are slaves to such a degree that they won't even drink water when they are thirsty unless told to do so. They are mindless drones, that were once human beings.
Matt is raised by a cook in El Patron's house, and doesn't know what he is at first. Only three people seem to truly care for him, Celia, the cook who raised him, Tam Lin, one of El Patron's bodyguards who the old man eventually reassigns to guard Matt, and Maria, a girl about his age who visits the Patron estate regularly. In Matt's world, he has many enemies and few friends. The ever shifting plot takes place here for about 2/3 of the book.
Then there is a major shift. Matt escapes to Aztlan, where he is immediately captured and basically enslaved by Keepers, who control imprisoned orphans to do tedious, difficult manual labor. Most of the remainder of the book takes place in this world. (I found this portion of the novel much less interesting than the first part. It almost didn't feel like part of the same book.)
Most of the dire issues affecting Matt are resolved, or show resolution on the horizon extremely rapidly in the last 20 pages or so. I didn't find the resolutions very believable given all that happened before.
Great premise, with extensive exploration of a variety of complex themes, but uneven, and with an unsatisfying conclusion. ( )
  fingerpost | Jan 6, 2019 |
The House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer- I enjoyed this exciting sci-fi novel very much because it tells a coming of age story with a twist. It tells the story of a clone, Matt, who belongs to a Mexican drug lord, and how he struggles to be free and establish his identity. I also enjoyed that different chapters are told from a different point of view, allowing the reader to get the same story from different sides and how it affects different people. I also believe that this book pushes the readers to think about tough issues such as: identity, power, compassion, isolation, deceit, slavery, death, drugs and possible situations/ dystopias in the future. I also love how the book ended differently than I assumed. The story ends up being about friendship, survival, hope and transcendence.
  scarpe10 | Nov 6, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 220 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nancy Farmerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ramirez, RobertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Harold for his unfailing love and support, and to Daniel, our son. To my brother, Dr. Elmon Lee Coe, and my sister, Mary Marimon Stout. Lastly, and no less importantly, to Richard Jackson, il capo di tutti capi of children's book editors.
First words
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Clone of El Patron
Rescued by love and poison
Inherits the farm

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