THE HOUSE OF THE SCORPION by Nancy Farmer

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Matt spent his early life in a secluded cottage, raised by Celia, a maid for El Patron, the 140 year old drug lord who rules over the land of Opium.  But when Matt’s attempt to communicate with three new children leads to a serious injury, he is suddenly whisked into the strange world beyond the cottage.  There, he learns that he is a clone of El Patron, a sub-human creation that many people consider to be equivalent to livestock.  El Patron decides to protect Matt and raise him with the education and lifestyle befitting of a drug lord’s son, but Matt senses something sinister about the old man and his complicated family business, although Celia and his new bodyguard Tam Lin will not explain it to him.  Matt will have to come to grips with his identity as a clone, the reason he was created, and the truth about El Patron’s Opium empire–because his life may depend on it.

Another great Sci-Fi novel from Nancy Farmer!  She builds a vivid and terrifying dystopian landscape that explores potential moral consequences of cloning, as well as providing a commentary on how humans treat other humans, particularly immigrants and the working class.  The novel has a nice blend of action and philosophical musing and will certainly be relatable to anyone who has ever struggled to find their identity or place in society.  I highly recommend it to lovers of dark Sci-Fi novels!

Older teens who liked The House of the Scorpion might like Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood–and of course Nancy Farmer’s earlier Sci-Fi classic, The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm.

Thanks for the suggestion, Grace!

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