Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Review: The Scorpio Races

404 pages
Published October 18th 2011 
by Scholastic Press

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. (Goodreads summary)

When I was young, I had a fixation with horses. I was obsessed. I read the cheesy book series, watched all of the movies, had horses for my Barbie dolls, and fell in love with the animated flick, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (yes, I admit it, I liked that movie). All this to say that I loved horses.

As time went by, that obsession dwindled. When my dad bought a horse two years ago, I was interested but only mildly so. Thus, when I first heard of The Scorpio Races, it didn’t appeal to me. A book about a horse race? Really?


I can’t wait to return home to Tulsa, go to the stable, and pretend I am Puck Connolly. I want to get on our horse, Dawson (pictured above), and ride him at a full on gallop. Only this would result in disaster (not me above). I will have to settle with standing still and using my imagination. I will pretend that I am riding my horse on the island of Thisby. The scent of brine will linger in the air, and the magic of the island will fill my soul. Once again, I am obsessed with horses. And I am obsessed with this book.

I’ll tell you what I like about The Scorpio Races. Everything.

I’ll tell you what I don’t like about The Scorpio Races. Nothing.

The Scorpio Races started at a slow trot, but the beautiful writing and original plot kept me interested. Then it took off at a gallop. I flew with the wind blowing through my hair and my hands gripped tightly to the reigns. It was spellbinding. Aside from the fact I never figured out how to pronounce capaill uisce, these mythical creatures brought to life captivated me. And the boy who can whisper to them—whispered right into my heart. 

        I say, “And the whispering. What do you tell him?”
    Sean stands at Corr’s shoulder, and for the first time he smiles at me. It’s the smallest of things, and it’s not amusement or humor, so I’m not sure what it means. He’s younger when he has it on, easier to look at, which is maybe why he avoids it. He leans his cheek against Corr’s withers and says, “What he needs to hear.” (Puck, The Scorpio Races, pg. 295)

I have a new type, the silent loner boy. Forget snarky, I’m in love with quiet and stoic. And this is a boy that Maggie Stiefvater does extremely well. Sean Kendrick. A boy so alluring, he must always be referred to with two names. His story, paralleled with Puck’s, opens up an insight into this mythical island. And their subtle romance makes it all the better. Their romance is precious, but it is their shared love for the island of Thisby that is the real love story.

The Scorpio Races is full of amazing characters—characters that are brought to life with just one descriptive sentence. Though I suppose one complaint (not complaint but request) is that some of the characters are left without endings. But the endings we do receive are at times heartbreaking and others heart wrenching. They all do their part to help bring to life this island and this story. 

Overall, this book is unique. And in a sea of YA books that have the same forward path, it is such a rewarding treat. The story, despite the element of fantasy, is realistic and powerful. And Maggie Stiefvater's writing is gorgeous. 

The Scorpio Races pounded against my chest like the hooves of the horses against the beach. Now, it calls to me like the sea calls to the water horses. When I reached the last page, I wanted to turn around and relive it all over again. 

1 comment:

  1. oh wow I will have to give this book a try again. I found the beginning really difficult to get into so I gave up. I have read either love it or hate it reviews. I should try again. Your enthusiast is contagious. Love the picture of you on the horse. I have only been horse back riding once but I loved it.
    If you have time please show my review some love Reign Fall


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