The Scorpio Races
By Maggie Stiefvater
Average Rating: 4.07
Cover Love: The silhouette of the water horse and (possibly?) Puck with the red spotted background is very artistic.
My Rating: 5/5
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 am here on firm ground, but part of me is already down on the beach, and my own blood is singing, I’m so, so alive.
Can we have a round of applause for Maggie Stiefvater? Please? Because she is just one of those writers that will never disappoint. She’s just a storytelling genius, and now I need to get my hands on her other books (or reread the Shiver trilogy?!).
Lord, this was my first impression of Puck Connolly: snotty brat. That was pretty much my thoughts on her for a quarter of the novel because at the beginning, she would not drop the fact that her older brother, Gabe, smelled like fish and how much she hated the smell of fish. *rolls eyes* Puh-lease. I get it. You were very clear the first time around.
I step back so he can walk into the house, and as he does, I notice that he stinks of fish. I hate it when the Beringers have him clean fish. He makes the whole house smell.
He keeps doing it when Gabe emerges in fresh clothing but still smelling of fish.
Not done yet.
Gabe told me once that we should be grateful for Joseph’s inability to think of anything but himself, because it is why Gabe has a job. I’m not grateful at the moment, though, because Gabe smells like fish since Joseph is a feck.
Yup, this girl knows how to complain like a boss. However as she developed and as I grew to like her, I found this quality very Puck. Those blunt comments became something analytical in the storytelling and I found it was a nice, odd change to typical YA novels. I’m glad that I didn’t like her in the beginning or I wouldn’t have appreciated her bluntness. She’s also full of snark, so I had to eventually grow to love her. I think it was instant denial because I saw myself in Puck and I mean I don’t rant about things…ever…most of the time…
Puck is stubborn and she makes very stupid, and very irrational choices early on, but how the story built from that and how we got to see how she most definitely accepted those consequences was a nice way to focus the novel on. I mean anything for the sake of character development right? I really admire Puck’s courage to keep her brother at home by being the first girl to join the races, no matter how stupid her reasons were. I just wanted to push Gabe into the ocean and watch him get eaten by the capaill uisce. That’s all.
But who really drove the story for me was Sean Kendrick. I forced myself to turn pages because of him. I wanted to delve deeper into his mind, and pry his feelings open with my
lips fingers. He’s definitely a character where you can’t help but want to know more about and marry. That Sean Kendrick is pretty mysterious. 😍 He’s definitely the black sheep in this story because of his endearing connection with the capaill uisce, the water horse. He’s practically untouchable and cold but he meets Puck and I couldn’t contain my feelings at their growing relationship. I wanted to swim in Sean’s complications because he’s a complicated character that deserves to be understood! (me with every misunderstood hero) HE JUST MADE ME SWOON SO HARD. 💕
These are not ordinary horses. Drape them with charms, hide them from the sea, but today, on the beach: Do not turn your back.
Some of the horses have lathered. Froth drips down their lips and chests, looking like sea foam, hiding the teeth that will tear into men later.
They are beautiful and deadly, loving us and hating us.
What I loved most about this novel was its strong grip on fantasy!! I love full out fantasy novels with fae, demons, and magic, but the ones where the fantasy is subtly there and is integrated so delicately? That is the real magic. With the unique twist on water horses and their pull to the water, The Scorpio Races is a book that absolutely stands out with the ideology and world Stiefvater introduces to us. I enjoyed it so very much. These water horses or capaill uisce are dangerous and their pull to the water makes them crazy. I love Sean’s relationship with his capaill uisce, Corr. I’m very happy with the way Stiefvater questioned humanity through these horses and the direction she took with Sean and Corr. *squee* I’m more than happy with the direction she took!
Plot moved rather slowly at first, but it definitely picked up once I got through the nitty gritty of being thoroughly introduced to the world and characters (ahem, Puck’s brattiness). Many complain that the race only lasted for a few pages which wasn’t worth it at all, and although I do wish the race lasted longer, I believe that that wasn’t the point of the novel. It was to witness the bond between Sean and Puck and their character growth and how something as inhumane as the capaill uisce can lead to something full of love and tenderness. *brushes away tear* That ending broke me to little swooning pieces. That image was so hopeful and brought on all the good feels (which is a nice change because when do feels not destroy you?!)
I’ve killed one of the beautiful, deadly capaill uisce that I love and I’ve nearly died, and a fever is racing through my veins, but all I can find to say to the girl is “Keep your pony off this beach.”
The romance was low-key but there and it was absolutely swoony. I was shipping Sean and Puck so hard, it was insane. There are some pretty swoony quotes with these two and I want to share them with you but I think my little book addicts should go read this and swoon for yourself. *smirk*
The only problem I have with this book is that I would give anything for an epilogue. ANYTHING. Period.
The Scorpio Races is a wonderful fantasy novel that forces you to open your eyes to the characters’ hopes and dreams, but most importantly their flaws. I’m sure you will be amazed with the depth of the world and the plot Maggie Stiefvater created in this spectacular standalone novel.
Keep calm and read on,