The Swan Riders – Erin Bow (Review)

Title: The Swan Riders (Prisoners of Peace #2)
Author: Erin Bow
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016
Genre: YA Dystopian, YA Science Fiction

This review can be found on my BlogTeacherofYA’s Tumblr, or my Goodreads page

My Review:

To see my review for the first book, The Scorpion Rules, click here: Teacherofya: The Scorpion Rules review

I honestly needed some time away from this novel in order to review it. Why? Well, I had a paper to write for my Shakespeare class, but that’s not it. I think I needed to stay in the story world a little bit longer…

Yes, I had a book hangover.

It was painful. Let’s just say….I cried at the end. Literally. Cried. I know. 😳

Ok, let’s get on with it: like ripping off a band-aid, right? Quick and painless? Well, not painless…but you know what I’m saying.

Oh, by the way:

 Not really “spoilers,” but if you haven’t read The Scorpion Rules, some of the stuff that happens in that book is mentioned. But no spoilers for this book. Only The Scorpion Rules.

Ok, now we can begin!

So Greta Gustafsen Stewart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, has retired her title. You can’t really be royalty when you’re AI. She has hopes that she can save the world, if only she can avoid skinning, the process an AI goes through when overloaded with data. Greta has almost skinned before: a memory isn’t just a memory, but actually relived…and relived…and relived…and so on in a feedback loop until the AI shuts down. This is why there aren’t many AIs around: many didn’t survive the process. But Greta has. And that makes her valuable to Talis.

Oh, yeah, remember Talis? Leader of the world? Overlord? Cocky AI with a tendency to blow up cities for conflict resolution? Yeah, that’s him. He leads Greta with another two Swan Riders, Francis Xavier and Sri, to the Red Mountains where the Riders and AIs live. They just have to make it back in one piece.

As they traverse the Saskatoon terrain, Talis still in Rachel’s Swan Rider body, Sri runs off to get oats in a nearby town. She doesn’t come back. When they look for her, she’s being helped by the locals: apparently Sri has “Rider’s Palsy.” The disease creates lesions on the brain…the result of an AI inhabiting your body. She’s at level five, so she’s dying. They try to continue carefully, but her seizures interrupt a fast journey. When approaching a church, they are ambushed: Sri turns on all of them and stabs Talis in the chest, separating him from his datastore. He can no longer communicate with the satellites, the weapons orbitals, the world.

Talis is injured…so when the convoy calls for help, another Swan Rider arrives: 


One has known Greta…has learned to appreciate the fragility of humans. And one has not. 

But Talis Mark Two is in control now.

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes. Totally. All day long. It would be wonderful to make a lesson plan with both books. (You couldn’t use The Swan Riders without The Scorpion Rules) However, most classrooms are made for standalone texts. Some series texts can be read individually (i.e. People teach The Hunger Games, but not Catching Fire or Mockingjay). So it is possible. But this series needs book two. It is possible to use book one, but now that I’ve read the sequel I would never want to separate them. 

I think the sequel is NECESSARY for reading book one, so it’s hard to do a lesson plan with two anchor texts, especially when they are part of a series. So I would only use The Scorpion Rules now if I could use both. 

Age Range:

So it’s not listed on, and that could be because it is so new. So I’m going to stick with the same age range as  The Scorpion Rules and say 14-17 (because Lexile said it for that book). No swearing and no sex. Some very touching moments. Very emotional book. I’d recommend it to my future students. I hope to have both books on my shelves in my home and future classroom…both books I had to read from the library, but I’d love to own them.

End Result:

So if you’ve got this far, then you probably have figured out how I feel about this book. Obviously, I give it β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…. It will make you cry. Well, maybe not. If you’re stone-hearted you might not. But I did.

I recommend this to ALL fans of dystopian literature. I recommend this to everyone. I want more, but I’m pretty sure it’s done, and I’m sad. I don’t know what to read next. It seems hard to move on. 

What are YOU reading? Gonna check out The Prisoners of Peace?

23 thoughts on “The Swan Riders – Erin Bow (Review)

  1. I still have the first book on my to-read list so I could only skim this review, especially after seeing the spoiler warning sign as well. But wow it seems like you loved it, and the fact that it gave you a book hangover as well just makes me want to start this series even more. The last book that gave me a hangover was Empire of Storms and that was just amazing! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I CRIED! I never cry!
      It was so good. I did wish there was more of a love story, but it seems like it leaves the possibility for more…if she decides to continue. I can’t tell if it’s the end or not. I’m assuming bc I don’t see any others listed as up-and-coming, so idk.
      But this story really reels you in, makes you feel, makes you think about what it means to be human. I hope you read it soon. I know I have all these ARCs, but it’s really nice to catch up on these books that have been out and I have never been able to read…there’s always more books coming out, but others get left behind!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hardly ever cry at books either so wow that is high praise. πŸ™‚
        Overall it seems like a good book. I take it it didn’t end on a cliffhanger then if you’re not sure if there’s another book or not. There do seem to be more and more duologies being released nowadays.
        It sounds amazing, I hope I enjoy it as much as you have! πŸ˜€ Oh I know what you mean. I haven’t got around to any of my ARCs yet but I’ve read some amazing books in the meantime! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Yeah, it seemed to end with blanket statements about what would happen. Like a future plan. It could have a sequel, but it seems like it could also stop there. It’s ambiguous. Like an independent film. And I kinda like it when books end to where it’s not a major cliffhanger and you’re wringing your hands in wait.
      I started The Sleeping Prince bc it was due yesterday. And Swarm is due back, too. I don’t want to return The Dark Days Club, but I might have to return to it. As I said, I have to Hunger Games my books…makes me sad. Another batch due on the 6th. But I’m getting through them. I can return Ember in the Ashes because it was on sale the other day for $1.99! I love deals. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Who knows? You can never be sure with some books if they’re going to be continued or not. I guess if it’s an ambiguous ending it would be nice to have a third book but at the same time it’s not like it ends on a major cliffhanger or anything.
        I’m not a massive fan of cliffhangers but they keep me hooked until the next book is released, no matter how long the wait is.
        Ohh I don’t envy the decisions you have to make this time around. Hopefully you’ll get through The Sleeping Prince quickly, and maybe have time to squeeze one more in before returning it? At least you don’t have to worry about that with An Ember in the Ashes though! πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

    3. Yes, that deal saved me a Sophie’s choice with my books! I was thrilled. I’ll have to return A Torch Against The Night, or whatever it’s called, but that’s cool bc I’m going to need to read An Ember first anyway. I wish I could read really fast. It seems like the time goes so freaking fast!
      I like a good cliffhanger, but with time it’s hard to remember how the book ended. Like, I had to read a review for The Sin Eater’s Daughter just to remember what happened! Lol! πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wish I could read faster than I actually do. But I hope you enjoy An Ember in the Ashes, I read it and loved it, and I hope you can then get back A Torch Against the Night quickly as well!
        I don’t seem to have that issue with books that end on an addictive cliff-hanger, but yeah I think there must have been some I’ve forgotten as well! πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! Amazing that it was able to so poignant, to the point that it made you cry. I hope you’ll recuperate from this and enjoy something more jolly to change the spirit during the month of December! πŸ˜€

    – Lashaan


    1. Thanks for the tissue! ::blows nose::
      Thanks for letting me borrow it…here you go! ::places it in pocket:: Thought you’d want it back! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      I loved that it made me cry…it was so good. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s