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The Lord of Opium [Kindle Edition]

Nancy Farmer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $11.99
Kindle Price: $8.99
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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
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Book Description

As the teenage ruler of his own country, Matt must cope with clones and cartels in this riveting sequel to the modern classic House of the Scorpion, winner of the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, and a Printz Honor.

Matt has always been nothing but a clone—grown from a strip of old El Patron’s skin. Now, at age fourteen, he finds himself suddenly thrust into the position of ruling over his own country. The Land of Opium is the largest territory of the Dope Confederacy, which ranges on the map like an intestine from the ruins of San Diego to the ruins of Matamoros. But while Opium thrives, the rest of the world has been devastated by ecological disaster—and hidden in Opium is the cure.

And that isn’t all that awaits within the depths of Opium. Matt is haunted by the ubiquitous army of eejits, zombielike workers harnessed to the old El Patron’s sinister system of drug growing—people stripped of the very qualities that once made them human.

Matt wants to use his newfound power to help, to stop the suffering, but he can’t even find a way to smuggle his childhood love, Maria, across the border and into Opium. Instead, his every move hits a roadblock, some from the enemies that surround him…and some from a voice within himself. For who is Matt really, but the clone of an evil, murderous dictator?


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

* "This highly anticipated sequel to Farmer’s National Book Award–winning The House of the Scorpion (2002) begins soon after the funeral of the drug lord El Patrón and the murder of nearly everyone who attended the event. Fourteen-year-old Matt, the dead drug lord’s clone, was originally created to provide spare parts for El Patrón, but is now the Lord of Opium.... Once again, Farmer’s near-future world offers an electric blend of horrors and beauty. Lyrically written and filled with well-rounded, sometimes thorny characters, this superb novel is well worth the wait." (June 24, 2013, *STARRED REVIEW)

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up—This long-awaited sequel (2013) to The House of the Scorpion (2002, both S & S) begins with Matt becoming El Patrón and no longer a clone. With El Patrón's death and the death of all his relatives, Matt is the new Lord of Opium and his plan is to cure the eejits, the microchipped workers of Opium, and prevent a takeover of the country. He must learn to be a tough drug lord and deal with his new status as a person, not a dispensable clone. Dangers surround the boy, and he must learn who to trust in order to save the eejits and the lives of his friends. Matt must also struggle for his own soul as he assumes power. Addressing many ethical issues such as cloning, the drug trade, human rights, and ecological concerns, Farmer shines a light on issues facing our society today and provides a fascinating look at how people deal with these concerns in Opium. Raúl Esparza shows Matt's internal struggles and brings to life the emotions and personalities of all the characters. They are well created and complex, from the jefe Cienfuegos, who destroyed people's lives while wanting to save the environment, to Listen, who struggles with emotions, religion, and friendship when she only knows science, abandonment, and terror. Farmer's novel is a reminder to stay vigilant to the problems of the world and not become indifferent. This is a well-written work with an important message for teens.—Sarah Flood, Breckinridge County Public Library, Hardinsburg, KY

Product Details

  • File Size: 6243 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 3, 2013)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BAWE9Y0
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,907 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
(123)
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Sequel! September 16, 2013
Format:Hardcover
It's been awhile since I read House of the Scorpions, but it all came back to me right away when I delved into The Lord of Opium. Nancy Farmer continues the story of Matt, the clone of the nearly 150-year-old drug lord, El Patròn. When El Patròn dies, Matt becomes the new lord of Opium. He struggles to undo the regime and rescue the enslaved eejits but he's only 14 and embattled on all sides by a rival drug lord, UN forces led by a fanatic and general anti-clone prejudice. Even Matt's own right-hand man, Cienfuegos, may not be all that he appears to be. There are also a lot of interesting twists about clones, as he appears haunted by the old drug lord's ghostly presence in his mind.

Farmer's characters are distinct and life-like. In spite of his heroism Matt is a believable teenager, not a junior super-hero, and he has a teenager's problems. He loves a girl who is far away but he's also confused by his feelings for the beautiful eejit servant girl, who will do whatever he commands. He has trouble, too, in staying friends with the boys from the orphanage now that he's rich and powerful.

Matt's world comes to life in every detail--you can practically smell the desert air and hear the hum of the flying machines. But there is nothing stereotypical about this dystopia. Although Opium is a social disaster, it is also an ecological paradise and offers hope to the rest of the planet. In a way, the same is true of Matt. At first he is a despised clone, manufactured rather than born, but with the help of his allies, he becomes a true leader. The novel is poignant, startling and inspiring. I loved it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sophisticated ethical questions drive the plot November 13, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a wonderful book, but I can understand why some readers feel it falls short of The House of Scorpion. In the first book, Matt's very survival is at stake, and the plot is driven by his discovery of who he is, and there are substantial mysteries that are not revealed until the end of the book. This second book is fundamentally different. Matt is not in particular danger throughout most of this book, and while he does make discoveries about his world, there's no moment of shock when the precariousness of his existence is revealed. Instead, this book revolves around his efforts to fix his native land, a project that turns out to be a lot more complicated than he thought it would be when he first set out to do so. The themes are more political and ethical , and less survival-based, than those in the first novel. For the original fans of the first novel, who are now adults, the increased sophistication and complication of Matt's world will likely parallel the changes that have gone through their lives as they have transitioned from adolescence to adulthood, and it is fair to say that this book continues the "coming of age" theme. However, for the readers who loved the first for its nail-biting story of a harrowing adventure of an underdog, this book will disappoint. For readers who fell in love with the world of Opium and compulsively want to see how Matt manages to (or fails to) fix some of its problems, the book will be every bit as interesting (if not quite as exciting) as the first.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice, but a notch below Scorpion September 17, 2013
By KVB99
Format:Hardcover
The House of Scorpion (THOS) was a fabulous, break through book, and so it was like opening a bottle of fine wine when I sat down to read this book. The book picks up pretty much where THOS left off--Matt, the new El Patron. Most of the story is consumed with Matt trying to live up to the new responsibilities thrust on him and undo the evil that the old El Patron did. In particular, Matt is determined to cure the eejits and find a way to be with Maria. On the plus side, the writing is excellent and the characters are generally terrific and the overall plot is engaging. Also, some new characters are introduced that are very engaging--eg, Cienfuegos. And, there are some very poignant story arcs. Fans of THOS will want to read this book and they will enjoy it. But...it's not as compelling as THOS. Some of the magic of THOS is still present, but much of it is gone, IMO. That was probably unavoidable...Matt is now lord, not lowly clone, and so we don't have that same dystopian atmosphere as THOS, where Matt struggles to find out if he's human or not in a world where most everyone despises him. Also, one of the most compelling characters in THOS for me was Maria. Sadly, until the last few pages of the book, she mostly just puts in a few cameo appearances in this book. What a waste of a great character. I will say that the ending is nicely done and, like THOS, the curtain comes down on a nice note of hope.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Disappointed - The Magic of Book One is Gone October 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As The House of the Scorpion is one of my favorites that I recommend to everyone, I was thrilled to hear that a sequel was coming out and pre-ordered it. After House of the Scorpion, I went out and read every Nancy Farmer book I could get my hands on. Needless to say, I am extremely disappointed by The Lord of Opium and after about 5 or 8 chapters am sad to say I won't be reading any more. The narrative is tedious and contrived. (i.e. Matt sends an eejit off to be retrained and when he realizes what that means (at some interminable time in the future), he immediately runs off to save the girl. When he gets to the facility he hears screams and the very eejit he is looking for just happens to be the one he first stumbles upon, being tortured at that very moment). The suspense and mystery of a good plot are just absent. The utter magic of book one is simply nowhere to be found in this sequel. All of the characters are flat, including Matt. And don't even get me started on the inclusion of the bizarre supernatural element where El Patron seems to be inhabiting Matt's thoughts. I don't know what happened or where the editor was when the drafts were being finalized, but this publication is an example of the ball being dropped big time. Granted, I am speaking having not finished the book. This, in of itself, says something, as I almost always push through to the end (especially for an author I otherwise adore).
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More About the Author

Nancy Farmer has written three Newbery Honor Books: The Ear the Eye and the Arm; A Girl Named Disaster; and The House of the Scorpion, which, in 2002, also won the National Book Award. Other books include Do You Know Me, The Warm Place, the Trolls trilogy, three picture books for young children and an adult novel, A New Year's Tale. Nancy Farmer grew up on the Arizona-Mexico border and lives with her family in Arizona.

The Lord of Opium, sequel to The House of the Scorpion, will be published in Fall 2013.

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