The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races – Maggie StiefvaterTitle: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Publishing Info: October 18, 2011 by Scholastic Inc.
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 29, 2013
Related Posts: Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls #1), The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1), The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3), The Scorpio Races, The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1), The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2), The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4), All the Crooked Saints

    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.

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THE SCORPIO RACES was magical. I’m not entirely sure what I had expected when I started, but I really ended up enjoying it! I actually felt like it took me a little while to get into it — not because it wasn’t good, but because it took a while for me to “meet” the characters and get to know them. I felt like both Puck and Sean have a really tough exterior so even to the reader it takes a little bit to break that shell. I was never really going to quit it, but I can’t seem to think of different wording than I’m glad that I stuck with it. The writing is simply beautiful and whereas I did not really enjoy the only other Steifvater book I’ve read so far (SHIVER) I was totally captivated by the beauty of Maggie Steifvater’s writing and her character development.

Even though THE SCORPIO RACES ultimately boils down to a race, exciting action, and violent sea horses, I think was I was really sold on was the character development. We really get to know Puck and Sean separately until the races intertwine their two lives. They’re both in different yet similar predicaments — they must win the races and the monetary prize that goes with winning in order to maintain their currently lives and not lose a valuable piece of their family (or whatever they consider their family after everything they’ve already lost). Watching the interactions between Puck and her family and Sean & his horses was the most magical part of this book for me by far. As far as their romance goes, I loved that it wasn’t rushed and it wasn’t even the main focus. It fit in perfectly and easily, without being forced at all.

For some reason, I was totally caught up on the logistics of the water horses. How did they survive in the water AND on land? Did they have gills to breathe in the water? Were their lungs adapted to both land and water? It was never explained and somehow I was a little stuck in the fact that I didn’t know the details.

A big part of the magic of this book for me was Thisby itself. I have no idea in what time period this was supposed to take place but I very much pictured something in the 1930s or 1940s – a time before technology started coming through and the automobile was just becoming a part of every day life. I loved the atmosphere that this setting created. It was such a personality in itself and I loved the feeling of Thisby.

I was REALLY hesitating how to rate it. I was caught somewhere between liking it and loving it, but overall, I think I’m leaning more towards loving it. Thinking back on the general feel and the emotions I felt toward the end, I’ll lean towards the higher rating!

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Yes. Get this as an audiobook. Steve West reading for Sean Kendrick and Fiona Hardingham reading for Puck Connelly was superb. I absolutely loved the British accents and for some reason it just made the story flow. Is it weird that my favorite part of the narrating was George Holly’s American voice? I don’t what it was, but for some reason I found it weirdly sexy….. Anyone else? No? Just me? Okay, awkward….

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Puck: Even though both characters alternate narrating, I really felt like it was more Puck’s story than Sean’s. I just felt like she had more going on as far as a conflict goes and more of her personality came across to me. She was so spunky and determined and I loved her spirit. She was definitely a ton of fun to read about/listen to.
Sean: Sean was a lot more reserved and a little bit brooding… I loved his quiet strength and his passion for looking after the horses. My heart went out to him the whole book and I just felt like there were so many emotions bubbling under the surface for Sean. He brought so much passion to the story and really made me FEEL for the characters — even the horses!

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BUY IT

This book was so magical… and the audio was just fantastic. I’m highly recommending this one — a magical realism I can get on board with!

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9 thoughts on “The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater

  1. Candice

    This happens to be a favorite! I think I was more drawn to Sean’s story than Puck’s but either way they were simply beautiful! So glad you enjoyed this one!

    1. Brittany Post author

      I love that you were more drawn to Sean than Puck! I think it’s really neat how the same story is so different for one person than it is for another 🙂 YES I’m glad I liked it too! I was afraid I wouldn’t because I read Shiver and didn’t really care for it so I was worried about reading another Stiefvater book, but turns out I didn’t have to worry 🙂

  2. Amanda @ Late Nights with Good Books

    I am kind of tempted to listen to the audiobook now. I read (and loved) the book at the beginning of last year, but I borrowed it from the library and have my heart set on owning the beautiful paperback edition that comes out in a few months. It is such a magical story and, like you, I did feel like Puck’s story was a little more predominant. It’s interesting how you pointed out that the story ultimately comes down to a race full of action, yet the majority of the book is all about subtle atmosphere. It’s all so beautifully crafted. And now after reading your review I want to reread it right now. 🙂

  3. Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook

    I have been meaning to read The Scorpio Races forever. I’ve read Shiver and Lament by Stiefvater, and I admit that, although I enjoyed them, I wasn’t madly in love with either. But I feel this need to read all of Stiefvater’s books because we went to the same college, and majored in the same subject. And I was there for possibly one year before she graduated. Which is a silly reason to want to read everything by a certain author.

    But The Scorpio Races is a Printz Honor, I think, so I really need to get on it.

  4. Debbi Michiko Florence

    I loved SCORPIO RACES! A friend recommended it to me on the basis that I am an animal lover – and I loved the horses, their wildness, and the characters. I fell in love with Thisby, Puck, and Sean and his great relationship with his horse! 🙂

  5. Elisa

    I really enjoyed that one too. I only read Shiver and wasn’t too jazzed about continuing that series, but this slow build, her take on a fae water horse, what are those called? oh, Kelpies and that one creepy scene where they are in the barn?! I was in love. Atmospheric and quietly desperate, these two characters slowly call to each other. I also thought Puck predominated, but I loved Sean’s narrative and his horse sense. Good stuff.

  6. Lynn M

    I second your recommendation to listen to it on audio. The narrators were absolutely perfect for this. I actually had the book on my TBR pile when I checked out the audio version from the library. I started that way, so the voices of Puck and Sean were fixed in my head, and then I both read the book and listen as I could. Loved this story. And I’m like you in that I haven’t loved any of Stiefvater’s other stuff – Shiver was a DNF for me – but this book is destined to be a true classic.

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