Saturday, March 4, 2017

Book Review: The Swan Riders by Erin Bow

The Swan Riders
Author: Erin Bow
Series: Prisoners of Peace
Publication: Margaret K. McElderry Books (September 20, 2016)

Description: 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…

My Thoughts: This second book in the Prisoners of Peace series has Greta turned into an AI and trying to adjust the the flood of new information in her brain. She is being guided by Talis, the AI who rules the world. She is traveling with him and two Swan Riders to a base where she can spend time adjusting when they encounter some people who aren't happy that Greta was turned to an AI. They want to rescue her but she doesn't feel that she needs rescuing.

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.

Favorite Quote:
"Greta, dear," said Talis. "I'm five hundred years old. How do you suppose I got that way?"

"Multiple copies and massive fortifications," said Sri.

"My point," said Talis crisply, "is that when you're the center of the universe, it's always about you."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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