Book Review : The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

March 13, 2013 Book review 4 ★★★★★

Book Review Forecast : Severe Gushing Ahead!
The Scorpio Races are held every November and if you are not killed by end of the race, that’s an achievement and a half.  The riders ride on mythical water horses, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion, Puck Connolly is the first girl rider.  And this is the story of the build up to the race and the race day itself.

Book Review : The Scorpio Races by Maggie StiefvaterThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press on 18 Oct 2011
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Pages: 404
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

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

There are too many people on horseback today trying to prove themselves, trying to prepare, trying to get faster. They haven’t discovered yet that it’s not the fastest who make it to race day.  You only have to be the fastest of those who are left.”

I don’t know what genre to put this book into, it’s not like anything else I have ever read.  And with so many books following popular, ‘look this arc works, lets jump on the bandwagon’ clichéd plots;  this book is a breath of fresh air.  Bitingly sharp, crisp, fresh air that I want to inhale as quick as I can to re-energise my bookish soul.

It is set on an Island off Ireland and I was picturing the Aran Islands as I read.  A huge part of the story is the fierce capaill uisce (Irish for water horses), the mythical water creatures that can’t be tamed.  But that doesn’t stop the locals attempting to train and ride them every November in this crazy race.  I loved, feared and respected the capaill uisce but mostly feared.  They reminded me of old Irish legends like Tir Na Nog and the horses that took you across the sea to the land where you are forever young.  But beware, the Capaill Uisce are not your friend and won’t be carrying you off anywhere good, they are sinister and spine chillingly dangerous.

The story itself is captivating, beautiful and atmospheric.  It’s a tale of the Island, the harsh life on the Island, the extreme poverty and also a tale of slow burning romance between Sean and Puck.  As I read, I could hear the pounding of the hooves on the strand, smell the sea and feel the splash of the water.   I was lost, totally lost in this story and didn’t want to be found.  There are no twists, the plot is simple,  the magnificence is in the words and the way they are skilfully crafted together.

There are some great characters here too, I was rooting for Sean and Puck all the way and didn’t know who I wanted to win more.  They are characters you won’t easily forget about and even more you won’t want to forget about them, you will want to treasure them.

After this book, I’m a fan of Maggie Stiefvater for life.  I devoured ‘ The Raven Boy’s’ and the ‘Shiver’ series is on to read list.  I highly recommend you check the Scorpio Races out if you are looking for something a little different and you are a fan of beautifully written prose.

Bookish Chat : What book have you read that touched a part of your soul, that you will treasure forever?  Please help me feel less weird by reassuring me that I’m not the only person affected by books in this way!  Or if I am, I’d appreciate you pretending!

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4 Responses to “Book Review : The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater”

  1. Kelly W

    Haha you are not the only person affected like that. I have a handful of books that I love in a completely irrational way, considering they really are only words on paper – no matter how real they feel.

    This has actually been on my TBR list for awhile, but for some reason, it keeps getting passed up. I guess I haven’t found that thing to push it into my arms, but this review could very well do it. At the very least, it’s pushing it much higher up on that list.

    Fantastic review, Trish!

  2. Nuzaifa @ Say It With Books

    An entire galaxy of stars huh?Sounds awesome!
    I’ve read The Raven Boys and I had the same problem,Trish!I simply couldn’t categorize it-Maybe Maggie’s book have a genre of their own? 😉
    The reviews for The Scorpio Races ranged from extremely positive to extremely negative so I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it-But hearing you talk about this one makes me wanna read it ASAP.

    And don’t worry you aren’t the only one who feels this way-There are a couple of books that make me feel this way too so join the club! 😀

  3. Lisa

    I picked up the audio book of this a while ago, and for some reason never finished listening to the whole thing, maybe it was due? But anyways, awesome review, I think I’ll borrow it again, and finish it this time!


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