The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

March 20, 2013 Reviews 3

  • Date published: 18th October 2011
  • Publisher: Scholastic
  • Format: Hardcover, 409 pages
  • ISBN 13: 9780545224901 ISBN 10: 054522490X
  • Categories: YA Fantasy
  • Goodreads / The Book DepositoryBooktopia
  • Source: purchased

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.

I can easily wax lyrical about Maggie Stiefvater’s books – the mysticism, the magical quality of the writing, the timeless story lines, realistic characters and poignant themes. Everything about them is awesome. So you won’t be surprised that I loved, loved, loved The Scorpio Races.

It’s not really about a race – I mean it is, but the race happens right at the end, and instead the novel is concerned with what motivates our protagonists, Puck and Sean, to participate in this ruthless, bloody sport. Readers expecting a thrilling racing novel will be disappointed, but I think those looking for trademark Stiefvater depth will love it. The Scorpio Races are a time-worn tradition on the isle of Thisby (loosely based on Ireland in our world), where men prove their bravery by racing water horses – blood thirsty beasts that rise up out of the ocean and long to go back to it.

Despite losing his father in the Races, Sean loves water horses and has a unique connection with them. He’s a bit of a mystery to everyone around him – his aloofness is often mistaken for arrogance but he’s a really sweet person once you get to know him, if a bit shy. Puck, on the other hand, is vivacious and excitable, but deeply troubled under the surface. However, her bravery and family focus are never in question: she decides to enter the Races to save her family, and she never backs down, even in the face of her whole community turning against her.

I love the themes Maggie explores in this book – family ties, the importance of heritage, defying the expectations that others place on you. I think she handles the issues with care and sensitivity and I never felt that she was preaching to her readers. She turns each issue over and examines it from all sides before allowing her characters to make crucial decisions, which I really admire.

Showcasing the best of Maggie’s writing, The Scorpio Races isn’t to be missed. Beg, borrow or buy your copy as soon as possible, because I am sure you will love it as much as I did.

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