Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: "The Scorpio Races" by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Reading Level: Young Adult
ARC: 416 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: 18 October 2011

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.

What an enchanting, breath of fresh air! The Scorpio Races is unlike any book I have ever read, and I couldn't be happier. I finished it earlier this morning and I've been mulling it over in my head all day, trying to put to words just how much this book has become a part of me. Now how am I going to explain it in this review? Gah! I had a similar difficulty after reading Maggie's The Wolves of Mercy Falls series earlier this year. In fact, those reviews are still waiting to be posted! Dang. I don't want that to happen again, so I may as well jump right in!

Maggie Stiefvater is truly a master at weaving words, as I like to say. She has this ability to take hold of your heart - your soul - and weave it within the pages of her novels, making you feel like you're so much a part of everything. You can't help but marvel at the atmosphere she winds around you and the whimsical, beautiful writing on nearly every page. You can't resist falling in love with her characters and embedding them into your very being. I have absolutely no idea how she does it. Frankly, I don't care how she does it as long as she keeps on doing it.

The Scorpio Races was such a thrilling ride. The setting was so vivid, it seemed to be alive! The island of Thisby was like a character in and of itself, with its storms, fog layer and other qualities... which was spectacular. I found it a smart move that Maggie made Thisby in an ambiguous country - it could possibly be risky, but she really gives her readers credit and lets them picture it themselves without being bogged down by predetermined locales. And the water horses, the Capaill Uisce, were beautiful and terrifying all in one. I was both fascinated and completely freaked out by these mythical creatures with a deep, magical connection to the water. I mean, seriously... carnivorous horses that pop out of the ocean? Crazy awesome! Then add in the part where, every year in the Scorpio Races, people RIDE these man-eating creatures? Talk about a heart-pounding adventure! If the story centered around that aspect alone, I would have loved it.

Lucky for us, there is another aspect that our awesome author excels at. In comes the wonderful characters! As with her previous novels, Maggie Stiefvater masterfully uses multiple p.o.v. to tell the story. Our heroine, Kate "Puck" Connelly, is a pretty awesome character. She has fire and determination, but she's also vulnerable and scared. After the death of her parents, she and her two brothers must try to survive on their own. To help in this, Puck decides to enter the Scorpio Races for a chance at the large winners purse. The hero of our tale is four time winner of the Races, Sean Kendrick. Also an orphan, Sean lives and works at a local stable as a horse trainer. Quiet and enigmatic, Sean has an almost magical connection to horses - especially one of the capaill, Cor. I enjoyed learning about what set our heroes on their course to the Races and watching their interactions with one another. I really don't want to give anything away, but watching these two characters develop and grow was nothing short of enchanting.

Filled with terror, adventure, sadness, joy, and the importance of relationships, The Scorpio Races has cemented itself in my favorites list. In my humble opinion, you can't go wrong with this wonderful tale of finding strength in oneself and taking the helm in your own life. Definitely go out and read this fantastic, lyrical novel... now!

A favorite quote: "It's easy to convince men to love you, Puck. All you have to do is be a mountain they have to climb or a poem they don't understand."


  1. Wow.. I will have to read this. I haven't read her other series yet either.

  2. @Christy - I LOVE her books! Well, I haven't read her books of faerie yet, but they're on the list next. :) I definitely recommend reading this book AND The Wolves of Mercy Falls series... so good!


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