on October 18, 2011
Also by this author: Linger, Forever, The Raven Boys, All the Crooked Saints
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
I’m not sure where to start with this. I am a huge fan of Maggie Stiefvater’s. HUGE! So obviously The Scorpio Races was one of my most anticipated books of the year. I’ve said before that I think Maggie can do no wrong, and this book underscores that perfectly. As soon as you read the first page you will know that The Scorpio Races is something completely different than the Wolves of Mercy Falls books and the Books of Faerie series. Not only can she do no wrong, but she can create such original, beautiful new worlds. Worlds that you slip into without noticing. You will be fully immersed in this book before you even realize it.
The world in this book really consists of a sole island. An island in a indeterminate part of the world in an indeterminate time period. That makes the possibilities of how you interpret it endless. The island Thisby, was all sharp cliffs, and eerily windswept landscapes, but it was so gorgeous. I felt like it was filled to the brim with magic and secrets, but subtly so. The power of that made me yearn to be there, even with its dangers.
The dangers that I speak of are the water horses. The capall uisce. You probably know them as something more like kelpies. In some YA fiction water horses are depicted as tame sweet creatures with braids in their mane. You will quickly find out that those are not the brand of water horses in The Scorpio Races. These mythical creatures are evil. They would rather eat you than let you ride them. I don’t want you to read the summary of this book and scoff at the fact it’s about water horse, because 1.) they are so, so much more than the fluffy fairy tale kelpies, and 2.) it’s not just about water horses. There’s so, so much more to this story than that. Like Sean and Puck.
The story is told from alternating perspectives, which is fantastic because for the first half of the book there isn’t a whole lot of interactions between these two characters. They each have their own lives and problems and they don’t cross paths much until the Races start drawing nearer and nearer. They were both fantastically done characters and I fell in love with them as their bond grew. Also I think this might be one of the only cases were I didn’t prefer one narrative over the other. I was equally engrossed in both of their lives. This is less romance than we are used to seeing from Maggie Stiefvater. It’s definitely not the focal point of the story. But it’s always subtly there, growing before your eyes.
On top of all these wonderful things I have mentioned about the story, it’s also full of nail biting action. The story builds to a fever pitch as the Races get closer. I often had butterflies in my stomach for them. It boils over in the end. I literally had to sit up straight for the last 100 pages. My heart was beating fast for Puck and Sean, and I don’t know that a book as ever gotten that kind of physical reaction from me. I was anxious and scared and completely hooked.
It almost goes without saying–but I will say it anyway–the writing is, as always beautiful. The style seems different than her other books, but it’s just as gorgeous and magic. I found that after I finished The Scorpio Races when my mind was wandering it often found it’s way to Thisby. I wondered what Puck and Sean were doing and if they were happy. Those are my favorite kind of books. The ones that get stuck in your head. The Scorpio Races is definitely one of those. It’s beautiful and unique. I urge you to read it.