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Greta Stuart had always known her future: die young. She was her country's crown princess, and also its hostage, destined to be the first casualty in an inevitable war. But when the war came it broke all the rules, and Greta forged a different path. She is no longer princess. No longer hostage. No longer human. Greta Stuart has become an AI. If she can survive the transitio Greta Stuart had always known her future: die young. She was her country's crown princess, and also its hostage, destined to be the first casualty in an inevitable war. But when the war came it broke all the rules, and Greta forged a different path. She is no longer princess. No longer hostage. No longer human. Greta Stuart has become an AI. If she can survive the transition, Greta will earn a place alongside Talis, the AI who rules the world. Talis is a big believer in peace through superior firepower. But some problems are too personal to obliterate from orbit, and for those there are the Swan Riders: a small band of humans who serve the AIs as part army, part cult. Now two of the Swan Riders are escorting Talis and Greta across 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. Including Elian, the boy she saved—the boy who wants to change the world, with a knife if necessary. Even the infinitely loyal Swan Riders may not be everything they seem. Greta’s fate—and the fate of her world—are balanced on the edge of a knife in this smart, sly, electrifying adventure.


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Greta Stuart had always known her future: die young. She was her country's crown princess, and also its hostage, destined to be the first casualty in an inevitable war. But when the war came it broke all the rules, and Greta forged a different path. She is no longer princess. No longer hostage. No longer human. Greta Stuart has become an AI. If she can survive the transitio Greta Stuart had always known her future: die young. She was her country's crown princess, and also its hostage, destined to be the first casualty in an inevitable war. But when the war came it broke all the rules, and Greta forged a different path. She is no longer princess. No longer hostage. No longer human. Greta Stuart has become an AI. If she can survive the transition, Greta will earn a place alongside Talis, the AI who rules the world. Talis is a big believer in peace through superior firepower. But some problems are too personal to obliterate from orbit, and for those there are the Swan Riders: a small band of humans who serve the AIs as part army, part cult. Now two of the Swan Riders are escorting Talis and Greta across 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. Including Elian, the boy she saved—the boy who wants to change the world, with a knife if necessary. Even the infinitely loyal Swan Riders may not be everything they seem. Greta’s fate—and the fate of her world—are balanced on the edge of a knife in this smart, sly, electrifying adventure.

30 review for The Swan Riders

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elle (ellexamines)

    This book and The Scorpion Rules are extremely different in a lot of ways, barely even forming a coherent duology - we'll talk about that later. Yet they relate in one important way; they're both fantastic. This series may be polarizing, but if it's your thing, it's absolutely worth the read. The Swan Riders builds up so much character development, for both Greta and Talis. Talis continues to be one of the best villains in all of literature; he's terrifying, but also complex and incredibly sympat This book and The Scorpion Rules are extremely different in a lot of ways, barely even forming a coherent duology - we'll talk about that later. Yet they relate in one important way; they're both fantastic. This series may be polarizing, but if it's your thing, it's absolutely worth the read. The Swan Riders builds up so much character development, for both Greta and Talis. Talis continues to be one of the best villains in all of literature; he's terrifying, but also complex and incredibly sympathetic. Greta is such a mentally strong, brave character. Her development here is amazing. These two characters have a complex relationship; they hate each other, yet they understand each other. There are also good, developed side characters. The worldbuilding continues to be amazing. Bow's world is almost a utopia; it's perfect for everyone except the preceptures. This duology is a creative light in a world of overdone dystopia premises. Because none of you are able to ignore this; yes, the pacing is off. I found myself so invested in the world that I barely noticed, and in fact finished this book in one day. The Swan Riders unfortunately does give less focus to Greta and Xie's relationship. I missed my group of precepture children. But this book ended the duology on such a perfect, hopeful note I'm hard-pressed not to rate it four stars. Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Youtube

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    The Swan Riders is such a different book from The Scorpion Rules. The pacing is off, the story falls more on the boring side, and it’s hard to care about the main characters here in the same way you do in the first book. Let me explain...where in the first book we have the preceptures and Children of Peace being the sort of setting. That’s different here. We left the preceptures and are journeying across Saskatchewan to the Red Mountains. Yup, this is more a journey book. Talis takes on a much The Swan Riders is such a different book from The Scorpion Rules. The pacing is off, the story falls more on the boring side, and it’s hard to care about the main characters here in the same way you do in the first book. Let me explain...where in the first book we have the preceptures and Children of Peace being the sort of setting. That’s different here. We left the preceptures and are journeying across Saskatchewan to the Red Mountains. Yup, this is more a journey book. Talis takes on a much larger role in this book. There is a lot more background on him, though not enough that we begin to care about him. He’s still the villain, only it becomes way more complex than that. It doesn’t help that there’s Talis and Michael making there also a Talis two. It gets pretty complicated because there is two of them. They are the same AI except they are different because they had different experiences? It gets pretty confusing. Don’t let me add in Rachel...when a host body is added into the equation, things get pretty messy. On top of that, Greta is getting used to her new self as an AI and must deal with what it takes to be stripped of her humanity. This wasn’t my favorite way to end the first book, so I wasn’t sure where this would go. I hated the lack of Xie. Greta’s sexuality was featured more prominently in The Scorpion Rules. It was hard to care about the characters when it felt like we didn’t really know them. The only one I felt a bond with was Greta. Other than that, I was struggling to care. This made things harder when the plot was just sooo slow. The pacing was off where one scene may have picked up the pace, but then it would just lag all over again. Don’t even get me started on the ending. This one was more infuriating than the first. It made me feel like I wasted my time reading this one. I get that this was a much different story, but that was the problem for me. Maybe other readers will have a better time with this.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

    The The Scorpion Rules was one of the best books that I've read all year. It's a huge relief to say that this one sticks the landing. Greta, Talis and a group of Swan Riders have left the Precepture overland on horseback to get Greta to safety. She's a new and fragile AI, the first one in a hundred years, and exposure to her old life is dangerous. Talis's actions in the previous book have also left the Pan-Polar Alliance in a state of political turmoil and there's no guarantee that people they co The The Scorpion Rules was one of the best books that I've read all year. It's a huge relief to say that this one sticks the landing. Greta, Talis and a group of Swan Riders have left the Precepture overland on horseback to get Greta to safety. She's a new and fragile AI, the first one in a hundred years, and exposure to her old life is dangerous. Talis's actions in the previous book have also left the Pan-Polar Alliance in a state of political turmoil and there's no guarantee that people they come across will shelter Swan Riders. Soon, what looks like an arduous, but routine journey becomes anything but and Greta and Talis have to make desperate plans. The snarky brilliance of Talis and the graceful way that Greta punctures his self-importance was a really important part of the first book and continues to be here. The much closer focus on a small group traveling through a freezing wasteland allows for a great deal of character development of both the AI characters. Greta starts with bits of her being excised from her simulation to stop her from "skinning" (a form of AI cascade failure) which leaves her to go through part of the book as a psychopath and this is brilliantly written. Where she goes from there is quite literally character growth and makes the whole idea of AIs in this world fascinating. Talis also goes through some significant changes, highlighted later in the book when another copy of himself ("Two") gets introduced for contrast. Absolutely masterful.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Robyn

    Beautifully written. Like, amazingly beautifully written. Great story, too, of course. Looking forward to reading more from the author.

  5. 5 out of 5

    ☆Stephanie☆

    Title: The Swan Riders (Prisoners of Peace #2) Author: Erin Bow Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016 Genre: YA Dystopian, YA Science Fiction This review can be found on my Blog, TeacherofYA's Tumblr, or my Goodreads page My Review: To see my review for the first book, The Scorpion Rules, click here: Teacherofya: The Scorpion Rules review I honestly needed some time away from this novel in order to review it. Why? Well, I had a paper to write for my Shakespeare class, but that's not it. I th Title: The Swan Riders (Prisoners of Peace #2) Author: Erin Bow Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016 Genre: YA Dystopian, YA Science Fiction This review can be found on my Blog, TeacherofYA's Tumblr, or my Goodreads page My Review: To see my review for the first book, The Scorpion Rules, click here: Teacherofya: The Scorpion Rules review I honestly needed some time away from this novel in order to review it. Why? Well, I had a paper to write for my Shakespeare class, but that's not it. I think I needed to stay in the story world a little bit longer... Yes, I had a book hangover. It was painful. Let's just say....I cried at the end. Literally. Cried. I know.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    An absolutely worthy sequel to The Scorpion Rules. This is going on my favourites 2016 shelf next to the first book. An absolutely worthy sequel to The Scorpion Rules. This is going on my favourites 2016 shelf next to the first book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    Already dying to read this. If I could just have it now, that would be great. Already dying to read this. If I could just have it now, that would be great.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Flavia

    I DID NOT THINK THAT A SEQUEL WOULD DO THE FIRST BOOK JUSTICE, BUT I WAS WRONG! If you have read my review of The Scorpion Rules, you will know that I was very very impressed with the first book in the Prisoners of Peace series by Erin Bow. I raved about the world building, the characters, the diversity found among said characters, as well as Erin Bow's writing itself. I was also very happy with the credibility of Erin's writing, despite the fact that she is describing fictional events which happ I DID NOT THINK THAT A SEQUEL WOULD DO THE FIRST BOOK JUSTICE, BUT I WAS WRONG! If you have read my review of The Scorpion Rules, you will know that I was very very impressed with the first book in the Prisoners of Peace series by Erin Bow. I raved about the world building, the characters, the diversity found among said characters, as well as Erin Bow's writing itself. I was also very happy with the credibility of Erin's writing, despite the fact that she is describing fictional events which happen 500 years into the fictional future of our world. I cannot imagine how those who finished The Scorpion Rules when it first came out, and with no sequel confirmed or in sight, because I know that the instant that I finished the first book, I wanted to know more. I wanted to know more about the world which Erin Bow has created, and I wanted to know more about the characters which I found myself loving. Unlike those who had to wait a year for the next book, I had The Swan Riders at my fingertips, and was able to start reading, the moment I finished the prequel. Without spoiling anything, I can just say that Bow does not disappoint. The detailed and scientific explications of the mechanical re-appear in this book, and Bow appears to delve even deeper into the world she has created, as well as the advanced technology found therein. She also contemplates human emotion, and the secrets surrounding what it means to be human, quite effectively. Like The Scropion Rules, this book was also an emotional roller coaster, although in a slightly different way. The pacing is the same, and there were no sections in the book which I found to be "dragging," although there were some events which developed slowly. Even so, Bow effectively held my attention, and I would have finished the book in one or two days if I had not been so busy (and you can read all about that in my Monthly Wrap-Up post for September, haha)! Bow also kept me guessing throughout, and I really enjoyed being unable to predict what will happen in the story! In addition, she also managed to wrap the story up, despite it feeling as if it were un-wrap-up-able, haha. There is also potential for the series becoming a trilogy, which is something that I am really hoping for! The creativity behind this series, as well as the thought which went into telling the story of Greta, Talis, & Co., has just blown my mind! Highly recommended to lovers of Sci-Fi, dystopian fiction, philosophical contemplation, and of course, adventure!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Veronique

    4.5 Having loved Scorpion Rules, it was with some trepidation that I started this sequel. The action immediately carries on from the previous book, and I couldn't help wondering how the author would pull off having the main character so fundamentally changed, especially since the narration is in the first person. Would Greta's voice, now that she is an AI, be too different and perhaps alienating? Thankfully, she is recognisable, and yet very different at the same time. Bow doesn't take any shortcu 4.5 Having loved Scorpion Rules, it was with some trepidation that I started this sequel. The action immediately carries on from the previous book, and I couldn't help wondering how the author would pull off having the main character so fundamentally changed, especially since the narration is in the first person. Would Greta's voice, now that she is an AI, be too different and perhaps alienating? Thankfully, she is recognisable, and yet very different at the same time. Bow doesn't take any shortcut, on the contrary, and opts for a vary different path. We're finally outside in the 'wide world' and yet it felt incredibly oppressive and empty. After the explosive events at the end of Scorpion, this narration was at first very slow, and yet made sense. Greta is having to adapt to completely different parameters and deal with the danger of overloading, and die, just by re-living memories, which explains her focus on little things to keep centered. Soon enough, events do escalade. Talis shares the limelight and his snarkiness is as entertaining as ever. This time however we find out a lot more about him, the other AIs (Ellie's room freaked me out!) and their particular symbiosis with the ellusive Swan Riders. The characterisation is totally brilliant, allowing our complex protagonists to really develop in striking yet believable ways. The author's portrayal of Talis/Michael/Rachel for instance was masterly done, and its parallel with Greta's made me think of the Yin & Yang. In fact, psychology is one of the major elements in this story, which doesn't mean there isn't action, because there is. Bow touched on some pretty huge concepts in her first book, and carries on here, delving ever further in questions regarding war, peace, duty but also identity, personality and humanity. Once more, things are not what they appear - far from it. There is nothing as easy as just allies or enemies. This is a harsh and terrible world, and yet one not devoid of beauty, especially through the author's beautiful prose. Why isn't Erin Bow more widely known and her books easier to get? After experiencing these two novels, I'm definitely a fan :0)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eilonwy

    DNF. I hate to do it, but I'm just not feeling invested in this travel story, plus this world is just too bleak and I can't take it right now. I may give this another shot some other time. DNF. I hate to do it, but I'm just not feeling invested in this travel story, plus this world is just too bleak and I can't take it right now. I may give this another shot some other time.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    The Scorpion Rules was one of my favorite YA books of 2016 so I was excited for the sequel. Unfortunately it feel short of my expectations. It lacked the emotional depth of the first one. I had a really hard time caring about the characters which made me not care about the story. There is a deeper meaning here about the differences between a human and an AI that was interesting but I don't think it was executed very well. I also found this to be unnecessarily confusing where the Scorpion Rules w The Scorpion Rules was one of my favorite YA books of 2016 so I was excited for the sequel. Unfortunately it feel short of my expectations. It lacked the emotional depth of the first one. I had a really hard time caring about the characters which made me not care about the story. There is a deeper meaning here about the differences between a human and an AI that was interesting but I don't think it was executed very well. I also found this to be unnecessarily confusing where the Scorpion Rules was not at all.

  12. 5 out of 5

    E.K. Johnston

    Hi, so yeah. I blurbed the first one, so this is going to be pretty unobjective. I. LOVED. IT.(view spoiler)[ I love Greta so much it almost hurts me, and to see her journey continued like this was beyond anything I'd hoped for. Erin has been teasing me with lines from this book FOREVER (okay, for, like, two years, BUT STILL), and seeing them all in context was amazing. I continue to find The Utterances delightful beyond measure. AND RACHEL GOT ACTUAL SCREEN TIME. AND WAS BASICALLY THE HERO OF THE Hi, so yeah. I blurbed the first one, so this is going to be pretty unobjective. I. LOVED. IT.(view spoiler)[ I love Greta so much it almost hurts me, and to see her journey continued like this was beyond anything I'd hoped for. Erin has been teasing me with lines from this book FOREVER (okay, for, like, two years, BUT STILL), and seeing them all in context was amazing. I continue to find The Utterances delightful beyond measure. AND RACHEL GOT ACTUAL SCREEN TIME. AND WAS BASICALLY THE HERO OF THE PIECE. I mean, the pieces that weren't Greta. I also really adore Francis Xavier (which Erin promised me I would. I CALL DIBS, YOU GUYS.) About the only thing I love more politics in a book is a good made up religion. And the only thing I like more than THAT is a girl who takes said religion by the horns and, well, that would be saying too much EVEN FOR A SPOILER CUT. (hide spoiler)] Get this book, friends. As soon as you can. (Here are my (spoilery!!!) fake blurbs, if you want to see them: link)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    One of the many wonderful things in this and the previous book, The Scorpion Rules, is the snarky humour of the AI. In this we get a double dose from Michael and Two. A must-read author.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Morris

    I’m not even sure where to begin with “The Swan Riders” aside from saying that Erin Bow somehow managed to outdo “The Scorpion Rules.” I don’t want to write much because almost everything in the book is unexpected. It’s excellent. Great character development; non-stop plot. There is also a very healthy dose of existentialism, which is always a plus to me. A bonus was that it had some parts that scared nightmares into me. In something that very rarely occurs, the story could stop with this book or I’m not even sure where to begin with “The Swan Riders” aside from saying that Erin Bow somehow managed to outdo “The Scorpion Rules.” I don’t want to write much because almost everything in the book is unexpected. It’s excellent. Great character development; non-stop plot. There is also a very healthy dose of existentialism, which is always a plus to me. A bonus was that it had some parts that scared nightmares into me. In something that very rarely occurs, the story could stop with this book or keep going, and either would be perfect. I’m hoping for the latter, of course. I recommend “The Swan Riders” to anyone who enjoyed “The Scorpion Rules.” If you haven’t read either, please pick up the series if you’re a fan of intelligent dystopias and very diverse books. This honest review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

  15. 4 out of 5

    laureneliza

    *throws this book in the face of anyone who thinks YA is 'simple'* *throws this book in the face of anyone who thinks YA is 'simple'*

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nafiza

    Excellent. Review soon on The Book Wars.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth ♛Smart Girls Love Trashy Books♛

    -POTENTIAL SPOILERS- This was an interesting little book. It pretty much only gets its tag and rating because it's a sequel to a very likely contender to my 'Best Books of 2017' list, and while this is a very good book, it's vastly different from The Scorpion Rules, and a lot of it was actually kinda confusing. Let's start with the good stuff, because there actually is a lot. I liked seeing Greta's transition in an A.I. I liked how she talked, how she thought, how she figured things out. Althoug -POTENTIAL SPOILERS- This was an interesting little book. It pretty much only gets its tag and rating because it's a sequel to a very likely contender to my 'Best Books of 2017' list, and while this is a very good book, it's vastly different from The Scorpion Rules, and a lot of it was actually kinda confusing. Let's start with the good stuff, because there actually is a lot. I liked seeing Greta's transition in an A.I. I liked how she talked, how she thought, how she figured things out. Although I do kinda wish she was a bit more...robotic. She's described as looking exactly the same, which I was kinda disappointed about. She should've had silver eyes or something like that. I also liked seeing her relationship with Elian develop in this book, even though...apparently they're dating now? That confused me in the other reviews. I just thought they were extremely close friends. The cast is still really diverse, which is fairly unique in YA sci-fi. I think this is the only sci-fi series I've read hat describes the fate of the entire world, not just one part. The backstory of how Talis came to be was really interesting. He wasn't as humorous as he was in the last book, but he had a few enjoyable quips here and there. I also liked the pacing. Yes, it was both written and paced weirdly, but it made sense since Greta's robot-brain is in control now. Plus I flew through it really quickly, obviously. However, I felt like a lot of the scenes were very confusing. I still don't really understand Talis' death, or why there was two of him, or what really happened in the ending....it felt very confusing to me. Mainly because it wasn't really explained. I also didn't really understand the concept of the Swan Riders. I mean, I kinda did, and then I kinda didn't. Again, that could've been much better explained. I was upset Greta's girlfriend wasn't in this. Also, apparently they're in Canada? Explains why I didn't get all the references. I always assumed Greta was Greenlandic though. Even here, it sounds more like Greenland than Canada from the climate and language and culture and everything. Overall, not as solid of a sequel and finale as I would've wanted, but still really good.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ezra

    Okay listen. The first book was incredible. Mind-boggling. Hilarious. Riveting. Couldn't set it aside. But this one. THIS ONE. Not Great. Yeah sure it was poetic. Had a few laughable quips. But it took Talis and made him into something beyond confusing. It drained him of his humourous indifference. Honestly, I was just majorly confused by so much. And Greta? Grace? What? There's just so much going on that doesn't really need to be explained in such a roundabout way. Most of it was just nonsensical Okay listen. The first book was incredible. Mind-boggling. Hilarious. Riveting. Couldn't set it aside. But this one. THIS ONE. Not Great. Yeah sure it was poetic. Had a few laughable quips. But it took Talis and made him into something beyond confusing. It drained him of his humourous indifference. Honestly, I was just majorly confused by so much. And Greta? Grace? What? There's just so much going on that doesn't really need to be explained in such a roundabout way. Most of it was just nonsensical inner rambling. There was just the bare minimum of the wonder of the scorpion rules in this book. It wasn't fantastic. It turned a great big world into a tiny little bubble that centered on a few people.

  19. 5 out of 5

    The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)

    Full Review on The Candid Cover This sequel to The Scorpion Rules has been one of my most anticipated books of the year for a while, and I was so thrilled when I received an ARC. The villain has a bigger part in the story and there are so many Canadian references. Greta is still such an amazing character, even if she is no longer human. Despite all this, I had some problems with the pacing of the book, and didn’t enjoy as much as I could have. The Swan Riders is so different from the first book, T Full Review on The Candid Cover This sequel to The Scorpion Rules has been one of my most anticipated books of the year for a while, and I was so thrilled when I received an ARC. The villain has a bigger part in the story and there are so many Canadian references. Greta is still such an amazing character, even if she is no longer human. Despite all this, I had some problems with the pacing of the book, and didn’t enjoy as much as I could have. The Swan Riders is so different from the first book, The Scorpion Rules. Talis, who is kind of the villain, has a much bigger role. Throughout the book, the reader really gets to know him and see him in a different way. Greta also isn’t a prisoner anymore and gets to travel to Saskatchewan. I loved how the book is set in a real place, but modified a little bit. There are so many Canadian references (hat tip to Gordon Lightfoot the horse) which I really enjoyed catching as I read. Greta has really changed since The Scorpion Rules. She is still the same clever girl as before, but no longer a human. Greta has become an AI and must lose all her memories as part of the transition. She is so determined to keep her memories, even though it’s dangerous, and I really admired that about her. Greta is also bisexual, which I loved, even though her girlfriend isn’t in the book as much. Although The Swan Riders has so many amazing components, I found the plot to be very slow at times. Certain scenes dragged on, and by the end of the book, I ended up losing interest. On the contrary, other scenes moved too quickly and I ended up really confused. It was hard to enjoy the book when I wasn’t entirely sure what was happening all the time, and I really wish I could have enjoyed it more than I did. The Swan Riders is a sci-fi book that is very different from the first story. I really enjoyed Greta’s character and the concept of the AIs. I loved so much about the book, but the pacing really bothered me. However, I would still recommend this book to those who have read and enjoyed the first book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jay G

    Want to see more from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... Just like book 1, Tallis was by far my favourite part of the story. He is sassy and sarcastic and I love the little comments he makes throughout the book. He's very similar to Deadpool in my opinion, AND I LOVE DEADPOOL. Greta really annoyed me in this book. She didn' t seem to have an ounce of personality and I just did not care what she was doing or what happened to her. I was very disappointed that Want to see more from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... Just like book 1, Tallis was by far my favourite part of the story. He is sassy and sarcastic and I love the little comments he makes throughout the book. He's very similar to Deadpool in my opinion, AND I LOVE DEADPOOL. Greta really annoyed me in this book. She didn' t seem to have an ounce of personality and I just did not care what she was doing or what happened to her. I was very disappointed that Xie was no longer in the book. She is mentioned from time to time but we never see her. The possible relationship between Xie and Greta was a big reason why I loved book 1 so much. The pacing was weird overall. For most of the book, I was confused with what was going on and why something had happened. I would have given this around a 2/2.5 but I just love Tallis so much he deserves that 3 star.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kate Woods

    Did you ever pick up a book you knew little about? Maybe it was on sale, or someone gave it to you. Then you read it and it was life changing and gorgeous and you didn’t understand why everyone wasn’t talking about it. That was The Scorpion Rules for me. I got it while it was on sale for Kindle and I devoured it in one day, only stopping to dry my tears and gush to my little brother about how perfect it was. When I heard there was a sequel, I was understandably worried. The Scorpion Rules had on Did you ever pick up a book you knew little about? Maybe it was on sale, or someone gave it to you. Then you read it and it was life changing and gorgeous and you didn’t understand why everyone wasn’t talking about it. That was The Scorpion Rules for me. I got it while it was on sale for Kindle and I devoured it in one day, only stopping to dry my tears and gush to my little brother about how perfect it was. When I heard there was a sequel, I was understandably worried. The Scorpion Rules had one of the most beautiful and perfect endings I ever read. I’ve spent the last 8 months scared of reading the sequel, afraid of what it would do to the perfection of its predecessor. I could not possibly be more surprised and content with The Swan Riders! I will never doubt Erin Bow or her talent again. This book was epic perfection on a whole new level. It took the beauty of The Scorpion Rules and turned it into something even better. It took that perfect ending and gave it new meaning. I don’t know how a book set in such an unrecognizable future and based on so much science can be filled with so much emotion or be so relatable. This is a book on what it means to be human, and in our current world filled with so much evil and hate, it is such a welcome and necessary book. The Swan Riders takes the story in a very new direction. While The Scorpion Rules focused on Greta and the other children at the precepture, this book focused on the world itself, Talis, and the swan riders. From the first book, we already know what the human children experience and how they see the world, but now we get to see what the AIs and the swan riders experience, and how they view things. We learn more of the history of the world and how Talis and the swan riders come to exist. I had a lot of questions while I read the first book, and while I wasn’t terribly upset not to have them answered, it was a pleasant surprise to have them answered in this book. The story itself has always been enough to keep me reading, but knowing more about the swan riders and Talis really hooked me. Bow’s world-building is very interesting. She never gives more information than you need. It is an effective strategy that keeps you focused on the game and the players, not on the why until it really matters, and will have the biggest effect on you. It makes for some very emotional and pivotal moments in The Swan Riders. I absolutely ADORE when a science fiction writer can make a future world seem so real; I sit there waiting for it to become my reality. Erin Bow is a master at this. There are also major twists in this book that I can honestly say I did not expect at all! Bow is a master at building an interesting yet predictable story and then ripping it out from under you with amazing grace. At points I had to take a minute to absorb what just happened, it took me that much by surprise. The themes of morality and humanity were so prevalent, with science always lurking in the corners. The Prisoners of Peace series is a look into our possible future–and the cure to save it–or possibly prevent it. Greta’s journey towards understanding who she is as a new AI, and her interaction with former friends and swan riders Sri and FX, brings a whole new spark of reality into the story. Greta’s inner thoughts and reactions are all so incredibly believable. I found myself nodding at times agreeing with something Greta said or thought. I felt a real connection to her as the main character. The war inside her was a fascinating thing to behold. Watching her decide who and what she is, coming to terms with the changes in her, made the story what it is. I got to know Talis so much better in this book and I love him. He is my favorite character by far. He vacillates between being this inhuman genius, with far too much knowledge and power, and acting like a teenage boy complete with sarcasm and dirty jokes. He brings a lighter side to Greta’s serious demeanor and weighty thoughts. I think FX, Sri, and the other swan riders provided valuable insight into this world and they were really compelling and mostly likeable characters. Elian popped back up in the story, much to my chagrin. I neither love him nor hate him. He serves a purpose, but I’m often cursing how impetuous and short sighted he can be. He is still a valuable character and the story wouldn’t be the same without him. The other AIs are very creepy, which I loved. Nothing makes a story more interesting than creepy AIs!! I think the only major player I really missed was Xie. She is not featured much in this book, but I can see why. Bow has her ducks in a row and the story must play out. I still missed her and the budding relationship between her and Greta. I honestly cannot wait to see where the next book takes us with all these characters. This book is one of the few I would actually hazard to describe as perfect. The balance between witty banter and discussions of ethics is brilliant. The writing is superb and so very appropriate at all times. The language is flowery at the right times without ever being too much. Greta has poignant, emotional thoughts, while her dialogue is still snarky like a teenagers should be. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where I find so much of it to be absolutely just as it should be. There is science, but also emotion. There are motivational epic moments, but also silly ones. There are moments of great action and adventure, but also many descriptive scenes and inner monologues. There are characters of all types with all sorts of personalities. Erin Bow quite literally left nothing out. This book and this series have become my favorite of all time. I cannot wait to read more from this incredibly talented author!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Reviews of A Shameless Fangirl

    *4.5 I loved this book. I'm not sure how else to really express that sentiment other than to just say it. Beautifully written, engaging and utterly unique, The Swan Riders continues to play on one of our biggest fears as a society; What happens when our creations turn on us? Worse, what happens when we become our creations? Read the full review: http://www.yafangirlreviews.com/2016/... *4.5 I loved this book. I'm not sure how else to really express that sentiment other than to just say it. Beautifully written, engaging and utterly unique, The Swan Riders continues to play on one of our biggest fears as a society; What happens when our creations turn on us? Worse, what happens when we become our creations? Read the full review: http://www.yafangirlreviews.com/2016/...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jessica (The Psychotic Nerd)

    I thought Scorpion Rules would be perfectly fine as a stand-alone, but oh well

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lulai

    Still so unique, I don't know why this serie is so different but I really like it, such great characters here. Still so unique, I don't know why this serie is so different but I really like it, such great characters here.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kogiopsis

    Stories about artificial intelligence are, universally, about what it means to be human. I mean, most stories are about that in some way, but AI brings a particular sort of laser focus to the subject. If human science can create sentient life, what responsibilities do we have to that life? What distinguishes it from us, and what rights is it entitled to? Or the reverse: if it becomes possible to upload consciousness, is the resulting entity as human as when they were flesh-and-blood? What gets lo Stories about artificial intelligence are, universally, about what it means to be human. I mean, most stories are about that in some way, but AI brings a particular sort of laser focus to the subject. If human science can create sentient life, what responsibilities do we have to that life? What distinguishes it from us, and what rights is it entitled to? Or the reverse: if it becomes possible to upload consciousness, is the resulting entity as human as when they were flesh-and-blood? What gets lost in the shuffle from neurons to ones and zeroes? It’s this angle that I particularly loved about The Swan Riders, though I enjoyed pretty much everything about it. Given that The Scorpion Rules showed us a world which, despite being ruled by an all-powerful supercomputer, was still fundamentally broken, it makes perfect sense for the next question to be: what is Talis’s grand design lacking? And that, in turn leads to the question of what Talis himself lacks, and whether or not that loss is inevitable for those made AI. This also creates the perfect opportunity for Greta to continue her character arc from the first book: she is learning to carve her own path, even in messy situations when everyone around her insists there is no option C. (Incidentally, I love the fact that a character whose development is so much about realizing that there are more paths available to her is also canonically bisexual - in romance, as in the rest of her life, Greta rejects the idea that she has to make the expected binary choice.) Plot-wise, The Swan Riders seems sedate right up until it’s not. Talis and two human Swan Riders escort Greta across Sasketchawan, as her newly modified brain struggles to deal with what it’s become. Interspersed with this we get flashbacks in Talis’s perspective, describing the early existences of other AIs and the desperation with which he tried to keep them sane. It explains the unhesitating and sometimes harsh methods he applies when Greta falls into a destructive memory spiral - most of those who would have been his kin died in the process, and he’s determined not to lose another one. And here is the crux of it: Talis, scarred by history and loss and the horrors of war, has stopped being able to see more than one option in a given situation, and that option tends to be the harshest. We see, through his recollections and his dialogue, a bit of what the apocalypse looked like for this world: She was quoting from the Utterances. The full verse was: Shuttles can be shot down, and you won’t always know who to blow up afterwards. Reaching down the weapons platforms was like putting one finger on top of an ant. When he did it for the first time, he could almost feel the tiny crunch. Sensory feedback in the finger he didn’t have. From the exoskeleton that Manila didn’t have. “Would you be happier if I kicked puppies? I’m complicated, okay? And I like horses. Horses don’t pump sarin gas into each other’s preschools. Horses don’t use hunger as a weapon. Horses don’t - you have no idea what I’ve seen, Elian Palnik. And no right to judge me.” Ultimately, though, Talis’s methods are failing. There are more uprisings against him, more challenges to his authority, and the child-hostage structure has been doomed all along. And he doesn’t change. Until Greta, the proverbial bit between her teeth, starts to demand that there has to be a better way. Bow’s AIs inhabit the extremes. They remember everything in minute detail, or nothing at all; they are completely knowledgeable, or completely oblivious to a blind spot. Humans, though, dwell in the muddy middle, living and loving and remembering imperfectly, and that allows us to grow and change and make mistakes and make better mistakes. Messiness - in life, in choices, in relationships - marks Bow’s human characters (and to an extent, the AIs as well, though they struggle to deny it). “It changes you,” I said. “Caring for someone. Being cared for.” The ending, fittingly, is also messy. Nothing that touches on the fate of an entire planet can be tidly wrapped up in two books - and yet, the way it ends is deeply satisfying. This might not be the beginning of a happy story. But one way or another, it was a new beginning. Change. New mistakes. Better mistakes, hopefully - and sometimes, I think, that’s all any of us can really hope for.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Coudeville

    I had higher expectations for this book. First of all, super pissed that there was no Xie, only mentions. Secondly, the AI storyline got really confusing at times. I think some aspects needed to be explained better. And I wish it had gotten a different ending. It just didn't feel like closure. I'm not saying I hated it, but it could've been more. I had higher expectations for this book. First of all, super pissed that there was no Xie, only mentions. Secondly, the AI storyline got really confusing at times. I think some aspects needed to be explained better. And I wish it had gotten a different ending. It just didn't feel like closure. I'm not saying I hated it, but it could've been more.

  27. 4 out of 5

    SR

    I can't handle this many bi anxious AI world-saving feelings I am an emotionally compromised robot in a meat body HELP Talis is to AI as Howl is to sorcery. Prisoners of Peace is to optimism in scifi as the Hyperion Cantos are to nihilism in SF. Greta is the love of my literary life in all her failures to deal with horses and all her decade-plus of Greek poetry without recognizing romance until it kisses her straight in the face. I love these two. The sequel is vastly different from Scorpion, but I can't handle this many bi anxious AI world-saving feelings I am an emotionally compromised robot in a meat body HELP Talis is to AI as Howl is to sorcery. Prisoners of Peace is to optimism in scifi as the Hyperion Cantos are to nihilism in SF. Greta is the love of my literary life in all her failures to deal with horses and all her decade-plus of Greek poetry without recognizing romance until it kisses her straight in the face. I love these two. The sequel is vastly different from Scorpion, but in this glorious way - like the difference between Queen and Invasion in the Tearling trilogy. Together, they're stunning. And Erin Bow has no right to be so hilarious in single sentences while demonstrating magisterial sweeping views of the future in paragraphs, but I'm glad she uses it. I'm so glad.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    4.5 Stars. The first book was nothing at all what I expected - it was a heavy, more politically inclined dystopian thriller. The second book again shocked all expectations out of me, the heart bled through on almost every chapter, every scene of The Swan Riders. It was an exploration of humanity in every way, of love and relationships and idea's about morality, autonomy, and identity. It was heavy but it was poignant and Greta was a character that landed in my heart and head and refused to budge. 4.5 Stars. The first book was nothing at all what I expected - it was a heavy, more politically inclined dystopian thriller. The second book again shocked all expectations out of me, the heart bled through on almost every chapter, every scene of The Swan Riders. It was an exploration of humanity in every way, of love and relationships and idea's about morality, autonomy, and identity. It was heavy but it was poignant and Greta was a character that landed in my heart and head and refused to budge. Erin Bow really outdid herself with The Swan Riders it was so unbelievably gorgeous and heart-wrenching.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Swan Riders begins almost exactly where the Scorpion Rules ends, and I don't think I've ever encountered two books connected by plot, characters and time that are, despite those things, so staggeringly different. Both very good, but yeah, very very different. I didn't always know what was going on in the Swan Riders, and looking back the plot is kinda thin, and yet it's written with such elegance and beauty that I barely cared. It helps that different versions of the same person fighting is like Swan Riders begins almost exactly where the Scorpion Rules ends, and I don't think I've ever encountered two books connected by plot, characters and time that are, despite those things, so staggeringly different. Both very good, but yeah, very very different. I didn't always know what was going on in the Swan Riders, and looking back the plot is kinda thin, and yet it's written with such elegance and beauty that I barely cared. It helps that different versions of the same person fighting is like my most favoured and obscure trope and this book pulled it off brilliantly.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Once

    Greta has to get use to being an AI. Greta has to get use to being close to the swan riders. Greta has too many emotional memories from her life before being an AI, but she doesn't want to lose that part of herself. With Talis helping her she might just lose that part of herself. This is an interesting concept for a story. I was intrigued by the AI and the fantasy aspects that went into this story. Being the sequel to a book the story picks up where you would want it to. You are following Greta a Greta has to get use to being an AI. Greta has to get use to being close to the swan riders. Greta has too many emotional memories from her life before being an AI, but she doesn't want to lose that part of herself. With Talis helping her she might just lose that part of herself. This is an interesting concept for a story. I was intrigued by the AI and the fantasy aspects that went into this story. Being the sequel to a book the story picks up where you would want it to. You are following Greta as she becomes transformed into this AI. This story will make you almost wish that we had the opportunity to become AI's after death, and to then become one of the swan riders. The swan riders are tough and resilient. They are the strong willed people of this earth, who then get turned into AI's who fight for the cause that they stand with. http://www.onceuponatwilight.com/2016...

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