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The Swan Riders by Erin Bow

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

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.

Goodreads Summary

The fantasy world that Erin Bow has created is worth reading the book in and of itself. Although the main protagonist is supposed to be Greta, I felt that Talis's character was expanded and focused upon. She really grew and I found her to be more mature and interesting. Greta's character is as tough, strong, and intelligent as ever. It would be hard for me to imagine being in her position. I liked how fast-paced the plot was; the book was not always easy to put down. The imagery in the novel is vivid and the author has a "flowy" way of rating that I really enjoy.

This novel definitely does not focus on the romance between Greta and Xie. Although their romantic feelings are still implied, it's not the main focus. Elian's character, though not strictly evil, still has a ways to go on the compassion front. His character experiences several intriguing developments over the course of the novel. Overall, this is a must read for those who enjoyed the first book!

4 Stars

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