The Swan Riders, by Erin Bow
I was late to reading The Scorpion Rules, but I was less late to the sequel, The Swan Riders, and it was worth it; the story is imaginative and gripping.
Greta, once a crown princess and a hostage to Talis, the artificial intelligence that runs the world, is now AI herself. She, Talis, and two Swan Riders have to travel across the country (Saskatchewan, to be exact) before Greta falls apart. Becoming an AI is extremely dangerous, and she could well die before she can receive good care.
Her former subjects, however, are in revolt. The Swan Riders themselves are plotting something. And Elian, her friend, but headstrong and not given to analysis, is out there too. Everything goes pear-shaped very quickly.
Erin Bow must be one of the best YA authors out there. She is original and sharp, and Swan Riders gives readers plenty to think about as well as an exciting plot that keeps moving and layered characters with good depth. Every person in this story is an individual with worth, and never a flat stock piece or part of a mass. Good stuff.