The Compulsive Reader: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Every fall on the remote island of Thisby, vicious water horses, capaill uisce, emerge from the sea, tossed to land by the autumn storms. The people of Thisby begin the dangerous process of capturing these horses and training them the best they can for the Scorpio Races, which take place on the first of November. Sean Kendrick is only nineteen, but he has ridden in the races for years, and is the man to beat. But he rides for more than just the money: he loves his mount, Corr, and hopes to one day be able to buy his freedom from Malvern Stables. Puck Connolly's parents were killed by the capaill uisce, and now her older brother has decided to abandon Puck and her younger brother Finn for the mainland. Desperate to convince him to stay, Puck declares that she will ride in the races--the first woman to ever do so. The races will be deadly. And neither Sean nor Puck will ever be the same.

Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races is as complicated and arresting as the autumn sea. The strange, almost mystical setting of Thisby is very set apart, both physically from the rest of the world, and in time. It has its own unique history with the capaill uisce that wash ashore every year, and as a result, its own culture where it is acceptable, even honorable, to ride in the deadly races, even at a young age. Yet Puck, who is female, is discouraged and sabotaged nearly every step of the way. But she doesn't give up—she's fiercely protective when it comes to her family, and she'd do anything for her brothers, even if riding in the races isn't the smartest thing to do. She's a very observant character, and is constantly looking for ways to educate and better herself, with a little humor and a lot of courage. Sean is similar to Puck in his courage and dedication to what he loves, in this case, is capall uisce, Cor. He may be a loner who doesn't have much to say to other people, but he is also very intelligent and he doesn't miss much. The tentative alliance between Puck and Sean, followed by friendship, then romance, was paced perfectly. They form a strong bond, and are tested when each has a compelling reason to win the races in which there can only be one victor. The story is told back and forth between the points of view of both Sean and Puck, giving the reader a wide look at the politics of Thisby, the iron grip that the Malverns hold on Thisby, and all of the drama of the upcoming races. The Scorpio Races is a very dangerous, very compelling, and heart-pounding book that will make you never look at an autumn shoreline the same way again.

Cover Comments: This cover reminds me of ancient drawing on the side of a cliff, which actually do appear in the book! I love the red of the cover (it makes me think of one of the horses, Corr) and the font of the title! Very simple, yet very cool!

ARC picked up at Scholastic event!


sunnynikki said...

I've been hearing a lot about this book but wasn't exactly sure what it was about, thanks for the description. I'm not 100% sure I want to read this, it might go a little too far into fantasy for me, but maybe I'll download a sample chapter onto my Nook and give it a try.

Lyla said...

This book is next on my to-read list. I'm so excited to read it! :)

Anonymous said...

First review I've seen of this one. I'm excited to read it...love Stiefvater's writing style, and I like that this one has more action. Glad to see you liked it!