Friday, June 3, 2016

Book Sketch: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

By: Maggie Stiefvater
Published By: Scholastic Press
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Series: None
Pages: 409
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads Summary: 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.

First Thought After Finishing: But, but, but...I need at least one more chapter!

I realize that posting this review now probably makes me a bad blogger. Not because of the content of the review, but because of the book is based on. A good blogger would be posting a review of The Raven King or, at the very least, a book in the Raven cycle. However, I once heard an author say that part of the beauty of having so many books and your collection was having the book available when you are ready to read it. This was the time that I was ready to read Scorpio Races, and I am so glad that I did.

Scorpio Races is based on the lore of water horses. In the fall, horses emerge from the ocean, stronger and faster than any horses bred on land, but also far more deadly. On the island of Thisby, these horses are raced at the beginning of every November. The prize for winning is wealth and fame, but you run the risk of dying in the process. Sean Kendrick has cheated death four times to be the winner of the Scorpio Races. He has a special way with the water horses, especially the horse that has been his own for years. Puck Connolly never paid much attention to the races, but desperate for money for her family, she adds her name to the list of riders.

Throughout the story, these two virtual strangers are thrown together again and again as the races draw closer. Neither is looking for a friend, but an alliance of sorts begins to develop. Sean is a sort of mystery, and Puck is a sort of contradiction. I loved seeing how the two complimented each other. Neither was afraid to be themselves, and both had a quiet strength and intelligence that showed through their actions.

From childhood, I've loved reading books about horses. I always wanted to take riding lessons, but books were the closest I could get. Scorpio Races reminded me of everything I loved about horse books and made me want to ride again. From the descriptions, I could picture all of the horses in my mind, how magnificent they must be, and the bonds between Sean and Corr and Puck and Dove were palpable through the page. It wasn't hard to see why horses, even water horses, responded to Sean, because the more that I read from his perspective, the more I liked him. Puck also has chapters from her point of view, which was a nice balance, but I still wanted to read more about Sean.

From the sea cliffs to the stables, I found myself wanting to be immersed in this book. Since it is a stand-alone novel, it's a good reminder that I need to get lost in Maggie's latest series!

Most Memorable Aspect: The sense of timelessness this book had. All of Maggie's books that I've read have a spellbinding, trance-like quality to them, where time and reality are suspended and the story is all that matters. It makes for a wonderful escape and reading experience.


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