Saturday, November 28, 2009

Share-A-Book Saturday (13)

This is something I found over on Just Another Book Addict =), and I thought I'd do my own. There are so many great books out there that get overlooked (especially if they've been out for a while)!

Every Saturday, you share (recommend) a book, preferably one that you haven't reviewed yet. It's just a way to get other books out into the blogging world. This is NOT a review.

Today I'm going to recommend The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer.

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. (Product description from

I read this book after enjoying two of Nancy Farmer's other books (A Girl Named Disaster and The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm, both of which are set in Africa). This book is set along the border of the United States and Mexico in the not-too-distant future. It's probably classed as science fiction, but the technology isn't that far-fetched... which makes the book a little scary. Opium is pretty much a dystopia... especially for people like Matt.

I found myself thinking about this book and its characters long after I'd finished reading it. The descriptions were vivid; I could almost imagine being in Opium among the fields and fields of drug poppies. Matt is an interesting character, too. As a clone, he was conceived for one purpose only: to provide spare parts for his "father". How he fights back against a fate that seems set in stone makes for a good story.

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