THE SWAN RIDERS by Erin Bow
Kirkus Star

THE SWAN RIDERS

From the "Prisoners of Peace" series, volume 2
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A girl, remade, might just remake the world.

Princess Greta Stuart of the Pan Polar Confederacy was tortured and killed, then remade through politics and science into the first new AI in over a century (The Scorpion Rules, 2015). Now it’s time for Talis, the godlike, peace-dictating AI (who blows up cities to ensure compliance), to bring her home to the Red Mountains. But he’s currently in a vulnerable human body, subject to attacks both emotional and physical. Bow’s second volume starts slow, almost bogging down in minutiae, then accelerates to an extraordinary conclusion. This is not a fault: the slowness is an exquisite example of showing. Greta is AI, and AI tend to focus on minutiae. As Greta loses her humanity the narrative slows, swallowed in detail and exposition—only to switch pace and subtly alter in voice as she regains the qualities that make her human. All of this plays out against small human dramas and intense political plotting, all focused on an exploration of power, corruption, and compassion. Are there a few references that seem too now? Sure. Does it matter? Not at all; this is a treatise on humanity and love and the importance of caring—and also a sharp science-fiction novel of a weirdly plausible future.

Brilliant and compelling: don’t miss this. (Science fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4814-4274-9
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2016




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