So for Bisexual Visibility Week, I thought it only appropriate that I feature one of the books that I recently read with a bisexual protagonist: THE SCORPION RULES by Erin Bow. Now I am admittedly WAY behind jumping on the fan train for this fabulous book, (the sequel just came out if that tells you how behind I am LOL) but this in no way lessens my love for it.
First off (since I’m doing this for #BiWeek in the first place) let’s talk about the bisexual rep. Hell, the fact that it HAS bisexual rep is huge in the first place. There are books out there with bi protags, but it’s definitely taken a while for them to gain momentum and visibility, and even then, SFF is slow to catch up with the contemporary fic numbers. Granted, I don’t believe THE SCORPION RULES explicitly used the word “bisexual” (or if it did, I blinked & missed it), which is a little disappointing, but it still had a bi main character which matters so much to the young!me who never really understood being bisexual was even an option until after college because I never saw it on paper in any of the (many and varied) books that I read.
Better yet, Greta’s sexuality is taken simply as a matter of course. She’s bi in the book, but the book isn’t about her being bi if that makes sense. Who she’s attracted to is all about who those individuals are, not what their gender is. It was honestly refreshing to read a book where the character doesn’t struggle with her own sexual identity and instead just accepts it and moves on. There is definitely value to “discovering identity &/or coming out” stories, but it was nice to have bisexuality delivered without any angst (well, the book has LOTS of angst & heartbreak, just not about Greta’s sexuality LOL). So yeah, it’s definitely on my list of books to rec for anyone looking for bisexuality in a SFF book.
But really, it’s on my list of books to rec period. This was such a fascinating world for me. Historically, hostage children were fostered fairly regularly prior to the modern age we’re in, but we don’t often seen that addressed in anything but historical novels. This is one of the first I’ve seen do it in YA sci-fi, and I just love the concept of this politically fraught landscape and the stressors placed on the hostage children, who might in another series have been the spoiled royals the reader loves to hate.
It was also a very interesting mix of heavy duty technological details mixed with the almost bucolic setting of the Prefecture where the hostage children are forced to live and work. And, I know several other reviews have mentioned it, but as someone who grew up on a ranch with aggravating goats: seriously spot on rural details there! Goats in a tree will never cease to be the most annoying and befuddling thing to have to try to deal with during daily chores LOL.
Finally, y’all, an AI rules the world. As a girl who grew up with the Terminator and still loves all of the reboots, the Skynet parallels were fantastic. Really what more do you want?
By the way, I do feel I need to leave some trigger warnings here. This is a book about war: as “quiet” of a book as it starts out to be, you have to know it’s going to get darker and darker as the book goes on. The children are captives waiting for death, and that death can’t be avoided for some of them. Also, there is explicit, on page torture and some truly gruesome hand injuries (which HOW DO I KEEP FINDING AMAZING BOOKS THAT GIVE ME HAND INJURY NIGHTMARES??) so if either of those will cause issues for it, read very carefully and be prepared to set the book down if you need to.
But yeah, I really did love this book. I’m buying the sequel, THE SWAN RIDERS, just as soon as reach my goal of getting 15 books off the TBR mountain prior to purchasing anything else (good lord the mountain has gotten out of hand, y’all – I’ve GOT to find more reading time in my days LOL). It sounds just as good as this first book was, so I’m super excited to get my hands on it!
How about y’all? Have you read THE SCORPION RULES yet or even luckier have dived into the sequel? Can you rec me some other awesome SFF books with on the page bisexual rep? Let me know in the comments or over on Twitter @C_L_McCollum!