The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: October 18th, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Synopsis: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.
My Thoughts: I will try to keep myself from going on forever about this book, but you should know up front that I desperately loved it. Maggie Stiefvater has blown my mind once again. She continues to have the ability to suck me right in. She projects the story in such a way that you are completely immersed and surrounded, you are part of the story, you are the characters, the scenery is so real, it all seems real. And, I absolutely loved every minute of it. I fell in love with her work. Her story telling casts a spell on me. I am so glad I discovered her books! The first ones I read were the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and if you've read my review on those, you know how much I loved them as well. Subsequently I have placed Stiefvater very high on my list of favorite authors. You know, the ones that you have to read absolutely everything they put out, no matter what.
This story is so unique, and you will be hard pressed to find another one like it. The story tells of a small island called Thisby. Every year around fall-early winter when the stormy weather comes, horses emerge from the waters. These are not your typical horses. They are crazed, meat-eating, massive, creatures. But they are beautiful, as well as haunting, and terrifying. They invoke in you a fearful awe, I imagine being incredibly frightened, but unable to look away. Every year they hold races on these horses. They are captured, and they attempt to tame them. They of course are never really tamed. They can lash out and commit murder at any second, and they do. Tourists come from all around to watch and even take part in the Scorpio Races. Its an immensely bloody, literally life-stealing, gory sport. You have to either be incredibly brave or incredibly stupid to take part in my opinion.
We get to learn about the races and the horses and the island through the view of the two main characters. The story is told much like the Wolves of Mercy Falls series where the narrative switches back and forth. I loved this method before and it proved to be wonderful again. The two main characters being Kate "Puck" Connolly and Sean Kendrick. The two characters have so much in common but are very different at the same time. They are both parent-less and fending for themselves. Kate lives with her two brothers in their parents house, their parents were killed by the water horses. Kate's oldest brother just announced that he is leaving the island. At the same time Puck finds out they are about to lose their house if they can't pay off the debt. So in order to convince her brother to stay a little longer, and to win money to save their house, Puck enters the races. She is the first and only female to do so, and she is not well received. I adored Puck and her fearless-ness, her strong sense of self, and her refusal to never back down from a challenge. Despite all the people and odds against her, she never falters. Then there's Sean, his mother ran away to the main-land, like many of the islanders do. I mean, if I lived on an island that was rampaged my killer horses.. I might leave to. His father was killed in The Scorpio Races. Sean works for the richest man on the island, Malvern. Malvern makes a living catching the water horses and selling them during the race, as well as regular horses. Sean is his #1 horse guy, he is like a horse whisperer. He has won the race the last 4 years, and this year if he wins, he could get the one thing he's always wanted most. Sean has the same amazing sense of self that I wish I had. He is always sure of himself,his decisions, and his actions. He has a lot of respect from most of the Islanders for his ability to work with the horses. The exception being Malvern's son "Mutt", who is pretty much willing to do anything to make sure Sean does not win this year.
And that is all I want to tell you about the story line, you have to read this book yourself. Seriously, you have to. So many times while reading this book I had to stop and re-read passages. Not because I didn't understand, but because it was so well written and beautiful I had to read it more than once. You know when you're reading a book and you come across a couple lines or a paragraph that just jump right at you, they just hit you right in the heart. You just have to stop and admire it, the beautiful thoughts and images it creates. This doesn't usually happen to often to me. Once in a while, in a really good book. It happened to me so often in this book. I would stop and re-read and attempt to commit them to memory because I just loved them so much.
This story was immensely captivating, I am completely enamored with the story and it's characters. When I finished I was so reluctant to close the covers. I recommend you go out and read this. Riht now :) Also, sorry for not really keeping my word about going on forever haha.