Saturday, May 23, 2015

Teen Review: Long-awaited sequel!

The Lord of Opium, by Nancy Farmer

Ah, another book written by Nancy Farmer. It goes without saying that this 405-page science fiction book is going to be a good read. I previously reviewed The House of The Scorpion, and this is its sequel. The plot of this book starts where its predecessor ended. Matteo Alacran, clone of one of the largest drug lords who controlled the aptly named country, Opium, is now in power. In this book, Matt must find a way to cure the eejits, or the microchip-controlled slaves providing free labor to harvest the opium, create allies and distinguish enemies, and come to terms with himself and how he keeps acting like the despicable man from whom he was created, all while managing his drug trade.

Nancy Farmer, as always, displays great skill in her writing. She simultaneously handles an internal conflict within Matt and an external conflict with Matt’s enemies, and does a very good job of it. I often think that focusing on engaging your readers is one of the best ways to write a book, and Farmer does just this. Between these two separate conflicts, it’s nearly impossible to take your eyes off of the page. The story is packed throughout with gripping action.

I personally think The Lord of Opium deserves a 4 out of 5. I rate a lot of my books with this rating, but it’s what I honestly believe. The story is great, but it didn’t quite live up to the first book. I would recommend this book to science fiction lovers and dystopia lovers over the age of 13. There is some mature content in this book that might not be suitable for younger audiences. All in all, though, this book is a great read.

Reviewed by Isaac Kim, grade 9

Editor's note: The first book, The House of the Scorpion, won a National Book Award, as well as honors from Newbery and Printz. Still--we waited almost 11 years for this sequel, so it's good to know people still remember the first book and want to read this one!

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