The Swan Riders

The Swan Riders 
By Erin Bow
384 pages | September 20th 2016 | Margaret K. McElderry Books


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.

Picking up precisely where you hoped it might, The Swan Riders explores more of the story we began in Erin Bow's The Scorpion Rules

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? 

The story explores the terrifying world in which a fearful Artificial Intelligence (A.I) leader is in control. However, it's a shift of view from the first book where we get to see the world of Greta and the human children. 

The Swan Riders takes a turn and instead begins to explore the side of A.I characters and Greta's journey as she struggles with the change in herself. I like that no one is painted as simply good or bad. It isn't entirely a human versus AI, the story is so much more complex than that. 

This is such a fascinating concept though I do wish we could have a better grasp on how humans were being turned into A.I. Instead of a simple explanation as surgery the curious nerd in me wanted to know more.

If you want a fresh, complex story that will keep you completely engaged, I definitely recommend The Swan Riders.  

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for an ARC of this book. 

In the beginning, I was a city girl from farm country—born in Des Moines and raised in Omaha—where I was fond of tromping through wood lots and reading books by flashlight. In high school I captained the debate team, founded the math club, and didn’t date much.

In university I studied particle physics, and worked briefly at the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva, Switzerland. Physics was awesome, but graduate school kind of sucked, and at some point I remembered that I wanted to write books.  

Books:  I have six of them — three novels, and two volumes of poetry and a memoir (the poetry under my maiden name, Erin Noteboom). My poetry has won the CBC Canadian Literary Award, and several other awards. My two novels, Plain Kate and Sorrow's Knot, also have a fistful of awards, including Canada's top award for children's literature, the TD.   The third novel, The Scorpion Rules, still faces its award season. No one read the memoir.  

Right now I'm looking forward to the publication of my fourth novel,  a companion piece to The Scorpion Rules called The Swan Riders, which will be out September 20 from Simon & Schuster.  I'm at work on an new an entirely different novel, and a book of poetry about science. 

Did you notice I got to Canada in there somewhere?   Yeah, that was true love.  I'm married to a Canadian boy, James Bow, who also writes young adult novels.  We have two small daughters, both of whom want to be scientists.  

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