The House of Scorpion which, in my opinion, was an amazing book. The Lord of Opium begins within weeks of where The House of Scorpion leaves off. It is as if this book was just waiting to be picked up and read as opposed to fans like me waiting nine years for its release.
SPOILER ALERT for House of Scorpion. If you have not read it yet, stop reading here (for now, come back later) and go read it. Ok, is it safe to go on? It is just us now who have read the book? Ok, well, you remember that El Patron dies at the end of House of Scorpion and takes all of the funeral guests with him courtesy of poisoned wine served at the funeral in a final toast to the old man. According to the laws of Opium, the country where the book is set, Matt went from being a “filthy clone” to not just a human but in charge of the entire country, the eejits (humans who have had their ability to think on their own taken away from them), cloning of humans for spare body parts for friendly drug lords, and all of the opium grown and its distribution to the rest of the world in the span of one day. It is an enormous amount of pressure and responsibility to put on a young teenager’s shoulders. Can he stay true to all he believes in? Will he want to?
The complexity of The Lord of Opium and its ability to draw the reader into decisions that begin as black and white but soon begin to blur at the edges is what Nancy Farmer fans love. This book does not disappoint. She builds such amazing situations that have more than one solution. You as the reader come to a conclusion at the same time Matt does, but is it the same one? Will you still be sympathetic to him if he makes decisions you do not completely agree with? Is it right to do the wrong thing because it hurts the fewest people? Are good people all good and are bad people all bad?
The Lord of Opium is a book filled with stark contrasts where things are not always as they seem. One thing that is as it seems… I absolutely loved this book. I actually liked it better than The House of Scorpion. I am hoping it does not take another nine years for Farmer to write another installment. I want to know what happens next to Matt and his friends as well as to the country he is recreating that began as Opium.