Tag Archives: prisoners of peace

The Swan Riders (Prisoners of Peace, Book 2)

The Swan Riders Book Cover The Swan Riders
Prisoners of Peace, Book 2
Erin Bow
Margaret K. McElderry Books
September 20, 2016

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…



I’m not even sure where to begin with “The Swan Riders” aside from saying that Erin Bow somehow managed to outdo “The Scorpion Rules.”

I don’t want to write much because almost everything in the book is unexpected. It’s excellent.  Great character development; non-stop plot.  There is also a very healthy dose of existentialism, which is always a plus to me.  A bonus was that it had some parts that scared nightmares into me. In something that very rarely occurs, the story could stop with this book or keep going, and either would be perfect.  I’m hoping for the latter, of course.

I recommend “The Swan Riders” to anyone who enjoyed “The Scorpion Rules.”  If you haven’t read either, please pick up the series if you’re a fan of intelligent dystopias and very diverse books.

This honest review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.


Content Warning:

Language, Non-Explicit Sexual Situations, Violence, Horrifying Imagery

The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace)

The Scorpion Rules Book Cover The Scorpion Rules
Prisoners of Peace, Book 1
Erin Bow
Juvenile Fiction
Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing
September 22, 2015

In the future, the UN has brought back an ancient way to keep the peace. The children of world leaders are held hostage—if a war begins, they pay with their lives. Greta is the Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy, a superpower formed of modern-day Canada. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. The hostages are Talis’s strategy to keep the peace: if her country enters a war, Greta dies. The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered. Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. Greta is furious that Elian has disrupted their quiet, structured world. But slowly, his rebellion opens her eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power. Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to mete out punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed...unless Greta can think of a way to save them.



I absolutely loved “The Scorpion Rules”.  It’s a wonderful addition to the YA dystopian genre.

The first thing that made me love it is the diversity.  Racial diversity is merely the beginning.  There is cultural  diversity and religious diversity, including a Jewish protagonist, which is something rarely seen.  And to take things to an entirely different level, there is sexual diversity, including a female bisexual main character.  I don’t think I have ever read that in a young adult dystopian novel, and I was quite literally bouncing with the excitement of it.  Absolutely none of it felt forced or gratuitous.  Well done.

Then we have the villain.  I think he may be my favorite villain ever.  He’s hilarious while being really, truly evil.  This is not someone (something?) you would want as your enemy.  I also enjoyed the other characters and their development.  Some of them may seem flat at first, but their traits unfold slowly and organically.  Greta is an unreliable narrator on the level of Katniss, and it is fun to go along with her on her journey of awareness.  Elian, well, I’ll let you find out about him for yourself.

Finally, the book brings up some incredible points about the nature of humans, society, wars, and the climate.  It is quite heavy on the philosophy, and yet it is also hilarious.  Some parts had me laughing so hard it was difficult to catch my breath.  The author has a good sense of comedic timing.

Overall, I recommend “The Scorpion Rules” for anyone eighth grade and up who loves a good dystopian novel.  The flow and humor make it a good choice for the reluctant reader, as well.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence