The Swan Riders by Erin BowThe Swan Riders by Erin Bow

The Swan Riders

byErin Bow

Hardcover | September 20, 2016

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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. Of course the leader of the AIs, an ancient and compelling 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.

First though, Greta will have to find a way to stay sane inside her new self. Talis’s plan for that involves a road trip. Escorted by Swan Riders, Greta and Talis set out on a horseback journey across the strange and not-quite-deserted landscape of Saskatchewan. But there are other people interested in Greta, people who want to change the world…and the Swan Riders might not be as loyal as they appear…
Title:The Swan RidersFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.2 inPublished:September 20, 2016Publisher:Margaret K. McElderry BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1481442740

ISBN - 13:9781481442749


Rated 4 out of 5 by from A funny and stimulating companion to The Scorpion Rules explores humanity against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic Saskatchewan First of all, let us acknowledge the cover. I liked the cover of The Scorpion Rules, but these new covers? Wow. Beautiful. (I know mid-series cover changes are the worst. But look how beautiful the new covers are!) (I digress.) I always have a bit of difficult time reviewing Erin Bow's books, and I find this duology especially challenging, because there's something about them that feels like they shouldn't work. Except that they kind of do. It took me a little while to really get into this book- I found that with The Scorpion Rules as well- Erin Bow's writing is not the sort that you launch right into. It takes time to build. The setting interests me because 1) I'm Canadian, and it takes place in post-apocalyptic Saskatchewan (which for the most part looks a lot like pre-apocalyptic Saskatchewan) (if I can't make fun of Saskatchewan, what can I make fun of?), and 2) I'm an environmental science student, so there are aspects that are frighteningly plausible. Where The Scorpion Rules stumbled for me, The Swan Riders was stronger. The sense of character was stronger. Greta remains a very internally strong character- having survived the AI upload, she's now basically struggling to hold herself together, and to hold onto the human parts of her. She's got a lot going on, but there's sometimes this strange feeling that, while she's the narrator, she's not always the main character. Even more strangely, that didn't bother me much... she's a character who is both an active participant and a more passive narrator, and it made for an interesting combination. Talis gets a lot more focus during this book, as do The Swan Riders (who would've guessed that, based on the title?) Talis has always been a challenging character to understand, simply because he's so many things at once, and it was intriguing seeing those parts shift and change, and form more of a cohesive whole. In The Scorpion Rules, he was an interesting character because he's this combination of terrifyingly amoral and charismatically funny, but he didn't change much. In The Swan Riders he actually has a character arc, which was great to explore. The thing about both The Scorpion Rules and The Swan Riders is that they're very much stories being told, in a way that renders the action not very action-y. It's not that it's terribly written, so much as that the action isn't the focus- the effects are, because these books are, in a lot of ways, ruminations on humanity and human nature that just so happen to contain characters and a plot. It's done in such an interesting way! The humour in these books really works for me. It's alternatingly clever, morbid, and truly, truly bizarre, which fits my own sense of humour to a T. I do wish there'd been more of it, but that probably would have upset the balance! Overall, I really enjoy The Swan Riders. It took me a while to get into, but I loved the humour and the thought-provoking aspects, and continued to be intrigued by the setting.. This sequel did a good job of wrapping up the story, in a way that was both fitting and somewhat bittersweet, and I'm really glad I read it!
Date published: 2018-04-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Cried like a baby Don't know why, but I binged this book and ended up sobbing at 1AM. The end just gets to you, you know.
Date published: 2017-05-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Good Ending Another 3.5, because I am legitimately torn about this book. On the one hand, I loved the additional world building and the return of my favourite characters Elain and Talis, in addition to awesome character Francis Xavier and great lead character Greta. They really were very awesome and I loved watching them endure the trials they did. I also really liked the history of the world and more details on the Swan Riders, a mechanic that took some really unique twists and turns and did not at all go the route I was expecting. But if you asked me what the story was about, I would only be able to tell you the basics. I understood what the main goal and theme were, but it was kind of chaotic to get there. I was confused about what was going on and why most of the time. This was a highly detailed plot that didn't explain things very well for me. That said, there were some truly beautifully written scenes and some heart aching moments. All in all, I was a little let down by the books, but I can't deny that the series was unique and had memorable characters and scenes. While it wasn't entirely for me, it might be for you.
Date published: 2017-02-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A strong sequel to The Scorpion Rules If you enjoyed The Scorpion Rules, you'll certainly like The Swan Riders as well. There's a lot of speculative fiction and sci-fi cropping up in YA lately, but Erin Bow's interpretation is something completely different from what you've read before. It's fascinating world-building, and a deep look at "the needs of the many vs the needs of the few." Absolutely would recommend.
Date published: 2017-01-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing just like the first book It was really amazing and I really loved it. It creates a nice follow up to the first book, as we peeks into the life AI Greta. As usual, I really love the characters; Talis is a treasure and there is a horse named Gordon Lightfoot like it is amazing. However, there are some parts of the book that completely lost me. Overall, it was a good read.
Date published: 2017-01-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A little complex but a decent story line *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review* What I Loved This is a series that I want to like SO BADLY and I think that’s messing with my thoughts a bit. I really love the concept of this book. Not many dystopia books have AI in them. I think it’s really cool that computers could take over the world (I mean realistically they won’t but it’s cool). I love that there’s basically this super computer guy who riles the entire world. I think it’s also really cool how he rules with fear. People are terrified he’s going to bomb their cities so they mostly stay in line. My favourite part of this book was Talis. He’s the super computer guy I was talking to you about. He kind of acts like a human, if a human was super smart and had no emotions. I love how sarcastic he is and I think it’s hilarious. Greta isn’t bad for a character either. She’s strong but can be really stupid sometimes. In this book she’s transitioning from human to computer (I don’t understand it either) so she’s a little messed up. We see her old personality from the previous book as well as a new personality from being all knowing. What I Didn't Love This would be a much better books if I could understand anything that’s happening at any point. Seriously though. I don’t know how people understand what’s going on. Or maybe they don’t but that doesn’t bother them as much as it does me. It drives me crazy when I don’t get something. The biggest point I couldn’t wrap my head around was that somehow humans became AI. There was some kind of surgery and BAM, they’re no longer human. They often have some human characteristics but they’re basically a human/computer mix. I think? I don’t really know. That’s the biggest thing that bothered me. I just didn’t understand the concept even though it’s a cool one. Also the swan riders are humans but they have some kind of computer embedded into them so that an AI can “borrow” their body. It’s very strange but cool though, once again, I don’t understand how it works. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I need to understand how something could possibly work. When something doesn’t make sense it’s all I can focus on. This was a good book but I just felt lost most of the time and could have used with some more blunt descriptions. Who I'd Recommend To This is a book I’d recommend to people who are looking for something different. It’s not all that similar to anything I’ve read before. It’s a dystopia book but there’s actually a lot of science in here (without being too scientific) and I think there’s a lot of really interesting things happening.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it even more than the first book! I am not the sort of person who likes sequels. I am the sort of person who usually goes, "Well, the first book was perfect, so I will ignore any and all follow-up books in the hopes that the original will never be ruined for me." But because Erin Bow is a brilliant writer and I adore her, I knew that reading The Swan Riders was non-negotiable. And because Erin Bow is a brilliant writer, I needn't have worried, because The Swan Riders is amazing and in no way suffers from a book-two-letdown. In fact, it might actually be even better than The Scorpion Rules, which is a high standard to reach right there. I don't want to spoil anything -- I gasped audibly and also cried noticeably on multiple occasions, so there is much to spoil. But I will say this: There is a horse named Gordon Lightfoot. The romance element took a different turn from what I was expecting... but it's amazing and layered with gender, and identity, and power dynamics. No instalove, no sense that it's just a distraction from the main plot. It's something beautiful, complex, and steeped in a horrifying dystopian world. Talis' development made my heart feel like it was dropping out of my body. This right here is how you do characterization. It's phenomenal. And Greta. What do I even say about Greta? Whip-smart Greta. Put-in-impossibly-difficult-positions Greta. Burning-bright-with-humanity Greta. I adore her. I adore everything about this book. I just wish I'd slowed down more when reading it, because now it's over and I don't know what I'm supposed to do with my life.
Date published: 2016-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New favourite series This and the Scorpion Rules are now the top two favourite books that I've read. They take genres that are not usually my cup of tea, and made it so I loved them. It was so well written, so easy to feel empathetic for everyone, and I especially love how they handled the AI overlord. All the subtle Canadian references, and bisexual representation make it even better for me. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2016-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This book was just as good as the first one, with even higher stakes and a lot of excitement. There was tension in all the right places, and enough rest that I wasn't stressed out reading it. The characters are excellently fleshed out (pun intended), and Greta remains a likable protagonist. There's a lot of gray morals, and a lot of questioning what it means to be human. But it's not overly complicated, and is in fact very easy to read and understand. Overall, it was an exciting read that I really enjoyed.
Date published: 2016-10-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good sequel if you enjoyed the first book While The Swan Riders was a well matched sequel to The Scorpion Rules, I found that I had similar issues surrounding the technological dystopian theme. At certain points the advanced workings of the AI’s were not explained as well as they could have been, and I was forced to stop and think/ even double back in order to make sense of what I just read. However tech novels are not my forte, so once again this is personal opinion. Individuals who take delight in technological advancements and what they could mean for the future of our world may very well take delight in this series. This book analyzes political conflict and unrest within a country, as civilians fight against what they believe to be tyrannical leadership.
Date published: 2016-06-09

Editorial Reviews

*"Brilliant and compelling: don't miss this."