Treacherous twists await Greta as the stakes get even higher in this stunning follow-up to the “masterful” (School Library Journal, starred review) novel, The Scorpion Rules.
Greta Stuart has become AI. New transmitters have silvered her fingerprints. New receptors have transformed her vision. And the whole of her memory has become one book in a vast library of instant knowledge. Greta is ready to rule the world.
But the new technology is also killing her.
Greta is only sixteen years old, but her new enhancements are burning through her mortal body at an alarming rate. The leader of the AIs, a ferocious artificial intelligence named Talis, has a plan. Greta can simply do what he’s done when the time comes, and take over the body of one of the Swan Riders, the utterly loyal humans who serve the AIs as part army, part cult.
Now two of the Swan Riders are escorting Talis and Greta across eight hundred miles of post-apocalyptic Saskatchewan. But Greta’s fate has stirred her nation into open rebellion, and the dry grassland may hide insurgents who want to rescue her—or see her killed. Talis has enemies everywhere. And even the Swan Riders may not be everything they seem...
Erin Bow is the author of The Scorpion Rules, which received three starred reviews and was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year and it’s sequel, The Swan Riders, which received two starred reviews. She also wrote the acclaimed Russian-flavored fantasy Plain Kate, which received two starred reviews and was a YALSA Best Book of the Year, and the terrifying YA ghost story Sorrow’s Knot, which received five starred reviews and was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. Visit her at ErinBow.com.
The Swan Riders 4.7 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
It was sort of hard to keep up with the story with everything going on at once, but i got the gist of it and thought it was amazing. ^_^
More than 1 year ago
*The Swan Riders is the sequel/companion to The Scorpion Rules. As such this review contains major spoilers for book one.*
Greta Gustafson Stuart, former princess of the Pan Polar Confederation, is a newly minted Artificial Intelligence. In agreeing to become an AI, Greta has saved herself and fellow hostage Elián Palnik while avoiding the wrath of Talis–the all-powerful AI who rules the world with the judicious use of satellite weaponry, carefully chosen hostages, and his Swan Riders who act as part army and part cult for Talis and the other AIs.
Greta is the first new AI in more than a century. Haunted by memories of her time as a hostage growing up at Precepture Four–including torture, friendship, and Xie, the future queen and the lover Greta had to leave behind–Greta struggles to cling to what is left of her humanity while learning her capabilities as an AI. With the future of the world hanging in the balance, Greta will have to use everything she knows about being AI and human to bring her two dramatically different worlds together in The Swan Riders (2016) by Erin Bow.
This sequel picks up shortly after the conclusion of The Scorpion Rules. Quick recaps and Greta’s own memories bring readers up to speed in this fast-paced sci-fi novel although knowledge of the first book is ideal.
Bow dramatically expands the world here by introducing more of the landscape as Talis, Greta, and two Swan Riders travel across Saskatchewan toward the AI home base near Montana. Interludes from Talis’ point of view–both in his present form as an all-powerful AI and in flashbacks to his time as the idealistic Michael Talis who wanted to save the world–add another dimension to this disturbingly likable character who is both hero and villain.The Swan Riders themselves also play a significant role in this story that is as much about what it means to be human as it is about what it means to rule, and maybe save, the world.
Weighty subject matter and heavy questions about what is best versus what is right are tempered with humor and Greta’s wry first-person narration. Complex characters further enhance the introspective nature of this story as Greta tries to figure out who she is when so much of her past is now irrelevant to her future. Like its predecessor The Swan Riders again has a thoughtfully diverse cast of characters with familiar faces and newer additions including Francis Xavier, a stoic dark-skinned Swan Rider born with one hand.
The Swan Riders is a fascinating follow-up and stunning story from an author at the top of her game. A must-read for fans of The Scorpion Rules.
Possible Pairings: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake, Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, Fire by Kristin Cashore, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, Winterspell by Claire LeGrand, Soundless by Richelle Mead, Clariel by Garth Nix, Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, And I Darken by Kiersten White
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