Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races

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.


Somewhere in the Scorpio sea lies the island of Thisby. It's a small island mainly inhabited by fishermen, and every Fall the capaill uisce (pronounced copple ooshka) come ashore only on the this island.  Fearsome water horses, they feed on meat and blood.  They are predators, killers, every year taking the lives of several innocent fishermen.  The island of Thisby is also famous for The Scorpio Races, which are held each year in November.  Men capture and tame the capaill uisce. Well, as well as a fierce monster that hears the call of the sea can be tamed.  They train and prepare them for a race on the beach.  

Sean Kendrick is a sure thing. He's the one to beat. He is the equivalent of a water horse whisperer, and most seek his advise on everything concerning horses, land and sea. He lost his father to the races when he was a child, and since then he has worked for Benjamin Malvern, horse breeder and the richest man on the island. Sean has won The Scorpio Races four times on the capaill uisce he loves, Corr. But he can't really be happy because Corr belongs to Malvern. When Malvern tells him he will sell Corr to him if he wins The Scorpio Races this year Sean knows there is nothing he won't do to win. But what about the strange and determined girl that has captivated him? 

This year newly orphaned Kate "Puck" Connolly, has decided she is going to ride in The Scorpio Races.  Initially it is to delay her older brother, Gabe, in leaving her and her younger brother, Finn, for the mainland, but she quickly realizes she has to win the race in order to save the house she and her brothers have inherited from their parents.  No woman has ever entered the race, and the townspeople are not happy with Puck for challenging tradition.  Especially since she decides she will be riding her horse, Dove.  Her small land horse. 

I don't think I've ever read a book where my opinion changed so much throughout. One minute I'm wondering why Ms. Stiefvater chose to write about, of all things, killer horses.  Then, when I was in the middle of my day to day life and NOT listening to the book, I couldn't get my mind off of it.  The story started slow. It took me awhile to really get into it. I found Puck to be very childish and Sean to be extremely dreary. I know and understand the reason for both of their personalities and quirks though.  You really get to see these two characters grow and mature, and I loved how slow and steady their relationship progressed. Too many books have the lovers fall head over heals into a relationship that is unrealistically romantic.  It's refreshing to read a story about two people that get to know each other, spend time together and then realize their feelings.  It just feels more real. 

The the last half of the book was much more exciting, I was hooked! The races were exciting and beautifully written.  I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.  And I love Finn!! His devotion to his sister was amazing, and he totally cracked me up at the end.  I picked this book out because not only do I love YA and dystopian novels, I also love Maggie Stiefvater.  Although I initially thought it might, this book did not disappoint!!  This book is 90% about the water horses and the race, and 10% love story. If you're looking for a sappy love story, this is not it.  It is however, an amazing book.  I am a bit sad that it's a stand alone novel;  I'd love to read more about the island of Thisby in the future.

As a side note I'd also like to say that the audiobook was great!! I don't usually like it when more than one person narrates, but this time it really worked perfectly!

I gave The Scorpio Races 4 stars.

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