Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
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.

Reading The Scorpio Races was like being hit with a gust of fresh air. (I mean that metaphorically btw, because I doubt being hit with a 400-page hardcover would feel like a breeze.) This book was unlike any other YA novel I’ve read, and that is definitely a praise difficult to earn these days.

The story was imaginative and the setting was painted wonderfully clear; I’m usually claustrophobic on islands, or just the thought of them has me feeling queasy, but in the case of Thisby, I can definitely see the appeal and found myself crazy jealous of all the tourists the town had bustling in.

As a reader that particularly loves great characters above all else, I was pleased with every one of these - they all had flaws and faults, and that made them all the more real. Kate, or Puck as she's called, was... well, she was something. I’ve never encountered a character quite like her before, but I think there needs to be more of the same. Ever hear an older person, most likely a grandparent, or someone of grandparent age refer to someone as a firecracker? If so, they were totally talking about Puck Connolly, or a Puck Connolly. She was smart, sassy, often times hilarious, temperamental, impatient, and the list goes on... But she was also brave and strong in the situations most people would be neither of those things. Her brothers, Gabe and Finn, were also lovable, and it was nice that there was a sibling dynamic, more so, one that I loved reading about; you could see how close the three of them were and just how strongly they all cared for one another. I shared the same feelings Puck had for Gabe, but was also able to see his side of things, and Finn was just adorable - I wanted to wrap him in a big ole bear hug, even though I know he’d hate it.

And then we have our other main character whose POV we also get to see, Sean Kendrick. Yeah, it’s no secret I love fictional boys - a lot of them - but I had no clue I was going to love this one as much as I did. He’s the strong and silent type for sure, but without the predictability. He seemed one hundred percent aware and yet, had absolutely no clue, at the same time, just exactly the effect he had on people. His love for his horse was so genuine and I couldn’t help but root for him to win the race, which made it super hard since Puck was also just as deserving; I was completely torn trying to choose sides, so instead of picking one or none, I chose both. Ha!

Speaking of horses, the mythical water horses - otherwise known as the capaill uisce - Stiefvater created, were both equally terrifying and enthralling. The power and strength they held was frightening and the game of The Scorpio Races itself was so pragmatically written, I didn't even hesitate once while reading, to think this deadly sport was entirely fictional. The writing was that good.

More noteworthiness... 

I also loved that just because the romance aspect of the book was subtle, didn’t make it any less sweet. I found myself swooning all over the place, and let me tell you, it’s been a while since a book has gotten me feeling all warm and fuzzy, but that’s just what Sean Kendrick does, apparently. You will feel ALL THE THINGS! So, you know, fair warning.

The only slight issue I had (which isn’t an issue at all really, but if I were forced to nitpick things, here ya go), was that though I loved the ending, I would have loved it times a million if we’d gotten an epilogue, especially since this is a standalone. But that’s just because I like my endings happy, wrapped in a big beautiful bow. (Blame Stephenie Meyer and her dumb, wedding/baby-making finale of a “book”)

All in all, if you couldn’t tell from my use of the word “love” repeated like, a bazillion times throughout this review, I would not only definitely recommend this book, I strongly urge you to go out and buy it and read it RIGHT NOW. It is that lovely.

The Scorpio Races was a unique, creative story with wonderful mysticism woven right in, creating an enchanting tale I won’t forget. It has definitely squeezed itself onto my favorites shelf!

PS In case my fangirl love just didn’t get across to you somehow, here are two quotes - both from Puck - that I absolutely loved. I need her as a BFF.

“I always liked the idea of being such a bother that I affected even the weather.”


“...I’d always thought I was above being fascinated by anyone but myself.”

Guuurl that was before Sean Kendrick, and YOU THOUGHT WRONG.

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