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The Swan Riders (Prisoners of Peace) Hardcover – September 20, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—This sequel picks up shortly after the conclusion of The Scorpion Rules. 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. 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—the protagonist struggles to cling to what is left of her humanity while learning about 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. Quick recaps and Greta's own memories bring readers up to speed in this fast-paced sci-fi novel, although having 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's point of view—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. Weighty subject matter and heavy questions about what is best vs. what is right are tempered with humor and Greta's wry first-person narration. Like its predecessor, this installment 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. VERDICT A fascinating follow-up and stunning story that is a must-read for fans of the first volume.—Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library
*"Slyly humorous, starkly thought-provoking, passionate, and compassionate—and impeccably written to boot: not to be missed." (Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review, on The Scorpion Rules)
*"Bow continually yanks the rug out from under readers, defying expectations as she crafts a masterly story with a diverse cast, shocking twists, and gut-punching emotional moments." (Publishers Weekly, starred review, on The Scorpion Rules)
*"Masterful, electric prose... Bow delivers a knockout dystopian novel that readers will devour with their hearts in their mouths." (School Library Journal, Starred Review, on The Scorpion Rules)
"Bow has crafted a true sci-fi narrative around the AI premise, utilizing an imaginative world and well-developed characters. Through Greta’s conflicts, the author explores what it means to be human." (Booklist, on The Scorpion Rules)
" This is a smart, compelling read that explores the complicated nature of love, family, peace, war, and technology; fans of Johnson’s Summer Prince and Collins’s Hunger Games who are searching for an empowering and intelligent read-alike need look no further." (The Horn Book Magazine, on The Scorpion Rules)
"This is fearfully superlative storytelling- electrical tension crackles in every elegant word. The finest fiction I've read this year." (Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity , on The Scorpion Rules)
“Bow's amoral artificial intelligence overlord is one of my favorite characters in a while.” (Maggie Stiefvater, author of The Raven Boys, on The Scorpion Rules)
“The Scorpion Rules is one of the most inventive, devious, exciting and thoroughly enjoyable books I’ve read in years. Very highly recommended!” (Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of ROT & RUIN and THE NIGHTSIDERS , on The Scorpion Rules)
“Clever and unexpected, THE SCORPION RULES is a game-changing novel about the consequence of war and the brutality of peace. Unforgettable!” (Suzanne Young, New York Times bestselling author of The Program series, on The Scorpion Rules)
"Elegant world-building, white-knuckle plot, and wonderful characters make The Scorpion Rules an extraordinary tale. I couldn't put it down." (V.E. Schwab, author of A Darker Shade of Magic, on The Scorpion Rules)
"Bow's vision of our apocalypse is stark, beautiful and terrifying. This is my favourite book." (EK Johnston, author of The Story of Owen, on The Scorpion Rules)
"I don't know which is more delicious, the storytelling or the villain." (Tone Almhjell, author of The Twistrose Key, on The Scorpion Rules)
“THE SCORPION RULES is a bloody, breath-taking, beautiful book… As a fellow craftsperson I'm leftin awe, and as a reader I'm left feeling transformed.” (Zoe Marriott, author of The Name of the Blade series, on The Scorpion Rules)
*"A fascinating follow-up and stunning story that is a must-read." (School Library Journal *STARRED* August 2016)
*"Brilliant and compelling: don't miss this." (Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review)
Top customer reviews
So yes. The world Bow has created is very interesting. Yes I finished the book. But it seemed to me that maybe this book was rushed. I felt like I was reading an early draft. The pacing was off (WAY too much time in Saskatchewan) and a lot more work should have been put in to making the plot make sense. I still really appreciate the world that Erin Bow has created.
When Talis is injured they need to move even faster to get to their base. Along the way Greta learns a lot more about the Swan Riders who she had only seen as executioners when they came to her school to kill hostages. She learns that, while most are loyal to Talis, there is a growing majority who want to change the way things are done.
Over the course of the 500 years since AI took over the world and stopped the wars under threat of force, the AI have been losing touch with any shreds of humanity that remained when they were turned to AI. Greta, as the newest AI, can see this and wants to make some changes. So do the Swan Riders.
This was an intriguing science fiction story with realistic characters and a great plot. I loved the world building and the descriptions of the badly damaged Earth.
Can you feel both excitement AND disappointment for a book at the same time? Because that’s kind of how I feel about The Swan Riders. (Also I keep wanting to type The Swan Divers, ngl.)
I was SO in love with The Scorpion Rules. The characters were all so lovely and well developed and diverse–not just racially, but also in personality. It was dramatic, and yes, violent too, but there was so much SOUL to it.
And while The Swan Riders (cough DIVERS cough) is most of those things, it’s also a VERY different book. It’s a journey story–much more about the AI tragedy than the whole world falling apart around them.
Rules is Frodo’s build up to save the world from the power of the One Ring, and Riders is that one scene where the Ring is trying to kill Frodo on top of the mountain. It’s more complicated than that, but I just felt there were drastic differences in the goals of each story, rather than pulling each together.
However, I loved them both, and I know Book #2 is a journey on the way to the third part of story. There is so much epicness left to see. If you haven’t read Erin Bow’s novels yet, you really really should.
Most recent customer reviews
If you have read my review of The Scorpion Rules, you will know that I was very very...Read more
My number one, somewhat idiosyncratic concern with the sequel was that Elián not be...Read more