review: the scorpio races by maggie stiefvater

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: 10/18/2011
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 404
Source: Purchased

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.

Thisby Island is unique in many ways, but is most well-known for the Scorpio Races: an event that happens every November and is a race between man, horse, and sea that is every bit as brutal and unpredictable as the people and their mounts that participate. Puck Connolly had sworn off any interaction with the races until she's left without an option. Sean Kendrick is the sea personified and wouldn't have it any other way than to enter, but this year it means more than any other. The island has its way with people, and this November it's a fight to the end.

I want to honestly say that I'm hard-pressed on where to begin with this. It's taken me a week to finish The Scorpio Races when normally I would have finished it in a few hours. 100% of that delay was me wanting to drag it out word by page by perspective so that it would never end. Perhaps a little background is necessary in why I feel so strongly about it. The first promise I ever remember making is to my mom, in the way that children do, that when she won the lottery she would buy me a horse. I read Black Beauty over and over until the copy was worn out, but I wouldn't let anyone throw it away. My favorite place is anywhere that I can be in the water, but specifically on the ocean. There is absolutely nothing like it: the sounds, smells, texture of the sand and the surf washing over your feet, the way the sun sets and rises and glimmers. I love water. Thus the fact that every time I read a sentence in this book I felt like it had been written specifically for me.

I knew Maggie was a ridiculously talented writer after reading Shiver, but this book is in a different league. From the very fist sentence I was hooked as Sean Kendrick watched the capail usice run across the beach, already critical of what was happening in the quiet, knowing way that he has. Despite not knowing anything about what was happening it set up perfectly my wanting to find out everything that I could, and all of that was laid out as the story progressed. One of the best things about the book - and is something that effects the way everything happens - is that the island, aside from being just a setting, is very much a character in the story. Thisby has moods that influence the weather, its history has affected the traditions of the people, and its relative size means that the population has to socialise much closely together than they might have elsewhere.

Here's where I would normally tell you more about the characters, but, really, I want that to be something you experience for yourselves while reading. As a whole, though, all of the characters in the book were so well crafted and each one was absolutely necessary - there's no fluff here. Puck is strong, earnest, blunt, but quite perceptive. She doesn't give up, and she doesn't believe she should have to. Her two brothers, Gabe and Finn have such strong personalities even when they're not present that you might think they have more 'screen time' then they actually do. (This is not a bad thing. I loved Finn in particular.) But I have to say that Sean Kendrick steals the show for me. From this book alone he's catapulted into my top 5 favorite characters and it's almost hard to describe why. Sean is a man of few words, but not in what you might consider a typical broody, leaning against the wall with smoldering eyes sort of way. He's honest, doesn't need much to live on, but he feels so intensely that it's difficult for him to interpret what it could mean.

The interactions with Puck and Sean in this book had me in tears and smiling huge because they never had to yell it out or say it in big speeches or acts. It was gradual and so, so believable. Maggie's beautiful descriptive writing created two characters and made them real.

The Scorpio Races is a book that I will recommend to anyone simply because it has so much to offer. If you love characters? This book is for you. Mythical creatures? Water? Horses? Still for you. From the first sentence to the last this book is, page by page, full of emotions and adventure for you to experience. Just read it slowly, because it will end faster than you'd like.

10 comments on "review: the scorpio races by maggie stiefvater"

Giselle wrote: Thu Nov 10, 11:50:00 AM

I'm really intrigued about this one. I also enjoyed her Shiver series. This one has gotten mixed reviews but I really want to check it out for myself. Awesome review!

Xpresso Reads

We Heart YA wrote: Thu Nov 10, 12:37:00 PM

Hate to say it, but this is the first really favorable review we've read of the book. That said, everything you've described sounds really appealing! And we haven't read anything else by Maggie, so maybe this would be a good place to start. We're a bit more interested in water and horses than in werewolves. ;)

Jenny wrote: Thu Nov 10, 01:11:00 PM

This one's premise sounds very interesting but I'm not a huge fan of Maggie's other series...I still am going to try this one.

Stephanie Mooney wrote: Thu Nov 10, 04:52:00 PM

I love when I find a book that I really connect with like you did with this one, especially when it brings me back to what I loved as a kid.

You make this book sound really good. I'll have to check it out. :)

Sarah (saz101) wrote: Thu Nov 10, 05:57:00 PM

Oh my goodness, Black Beauty. I've just moved house and unpacked all my books (I had a box I'd never unpacked in the last place), and found my copy of BB.

Maggie is amazing. She doesn't just write beautiful prose, she crafts it. I'm so excited to get my copy of this :)

Karen L. wrote: Thu Nov 10, 10:36:00 PM

I'm going to start this one soon, and your review makes me even more excited!

Lola wrote: Fri Nov 11, 02:48:00 AM

Lot's of rave reviews on this one. I might just give it a try! Fab review! :)

Anonymous wrote: Mon Nov 14, 04:29:00 AM

AWESOME review. I'm in the process of reading this book myself. I'm only about 50 pages in and I'm totally with you on taking my time reading it so it will last longer.

LOVE Black Beauty! One of my ALL TIME favorites!

Christina Reads YA wrote: Mon Nov 14, 11:37:00 PM

I completely agree :). It would make my day if the people who bought the rights to adapt the book into a movie actually got a move on and made it into a film--it would make for SUCH a magical film. Definitely one of my favorites of 2011 and "Just read it slowly, because it will end faster than you'd like" <--- yes, yes, yes! Awesome review, Kaye!

Unknown wrote: Thu Jan 29, 12:33:00 AM

I was a happy-sad mess over this book and the good book hangover lasted for days. I know everyone always says, the day after a good hard drunk, that they will never ever do it again but I'll drink myself into a stupor with this book many, many times over. Even if Maggie and I never cross paths again, this one book means so much to me that I'll never be able to praise her enough.
Highly recommended site for Lake Clark Alaska Bear Tours

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