Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races
by Maggie Stiefvater

ISBN-13: 9-780545-224901
Publication: October 2011 from Scholastic Press
Source: publisher
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!
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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 dies.

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 choice. So she enters the competition – the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Besides being a Maggie Stiefvater book, the huge draw for me with The Scorpio Races is the fact that it’s a book dealing with killer horses. Something new and exciting, and you know it’s bound to be a little bloody (they are killer horses after all). The Scorpio Races deals with a very unique mythology and I really enjoyed losing myself in Puck’s and Sean’s story.

Told in alternating points of view, the reader gets to glimpse the world of The Scorpio Races through the eyes of Puck, local girl who decides to enter the races for personal reasons and gets swept up in Sean Kendrick and the capall uisce that are captured and ridden in the race, and Sean himself, a quiet teen who pulls off the loner persona wonderfully, and yet is the go-to man for all things to do with the water horses. It is so easy to tell the difference between our two narrators. Even without the name of the narrator at the top of each chapter (of which most are Puck. I would have loved to have more from Sean’s point of view, I got lost in his voice so easily) it would have been easy to tell whom we were experiencing the story through. Puck is headstrong and stubborn, determined and clever but a little bit petulant and reckless. Sean is quite pragmatic, intelligent and just generally good.

Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style is beautiful and draws you in. She never sets out and tells you what time period this story takes place and the mix of modern day and old fashioned legend blends into a great atmosphere for the Scorpio Races to be taking place. Descriptions are vivid and the slow burn romance between Puck and Sean is perfect for the story. It evolves very naturally and calmly, which is very Sean. And since we’re dealing with flesh eating killer horses, there’s quite a bit of death by horse – starting right in the first chapter. It all serves it’s purpose to the plot though. You’ll not find any gratuitous violence. The tension of the races and the build up at the end is delicious, and though you think you know how it’s all going to play out, it’s one of those books where you’re never quite sure if Maggie Stiefvater decided to throw a wrench in everything and surprise you.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater is a book that blends myth and modern into a story of love and dedication – for home, for family, and for friends, be they human or horse (or cat!). In the pages you’ll find a story not just about the legend of the water horse, the capall uisce, but a story about heart and drive to keep what you know and love close to you, but also the knowledge of when it’s best to let go. The Scorpio Races may revolve around a dangerous race, but without the people, there would be no race. So even though it may have been the legend of the water horses that drew me in, Maggie Stiefvater’s characters come to life and really make the book memorable.

Hardcover copy received from Scholastic Canada in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!

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3 thoughts on “Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. You’ve pointed out the sustained tension of the narrative, and I think that, for me, was the highlight and the thing that made the romance ‘work.’ No ups or downs – just breathless anticipation followed by steady pressure and finally! a hint of hope and future. Great review!

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