Book Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: ARC (courtesy of Scholastic Press)
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
Publication Date: 10.18.2011
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.

“Tell me what it's like. The race."
"What it's like is a battle. A mess of horses and men and blood. The fastest and strongest of what is left from two weeks of preparation on the sand. It's the surf in your face, the deadly magic of November on your skin, the Scorpio drums in the place of your heartbeat. It's speed, if you're lucky. It's life and it's death or it's both, and there's nothing like it.”
-Puck and Sean, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (uncorrected ARC)
I admit that it took me a while to get into this book. Maggie Stiefvater is very descriptive in her writing, and in the beginning it felt too wordy. But soon I was enthralled with the way of life on the tiny island; the people, their lives, and their pasts. I love the picture Maggie paints of the live-or-die attitude, and the pride that comes from the yearly races.

The story is told from two different points of view: Puck's (Kate Connelly), and Sean's. We get two very different opinions of the water horses from them. I was enchanted when Sean talked about his water horse, Corr, and what it felt like to ride him; to be called by the ocean. Puck's fresh view of the water horses was very mediating, keeping me from both falling victim to the magic of the water horses, and from feeling too much anger for Sean's and Corr's predicaments.

I did initially find Puck's reason for racing (in the beginning, at least) pretty flimsy. Later on something happens to make her reason more noble, but before that I was like: really?

Those who love horses will definitely appreciate this book since there are plenty of good passages and details about horses. I have never learned so much about an animal before, and although I have only ever ridden a horse twice in my entire life, I came away considering myself quite the horse lover.

I will say that the wordiness continues throughout the book, which I know will be something some people won't like. But after a certain point in the book, I didn't mind it at all, and found it quite beautiful. Also, I did get a little antsy towards the end, wanting to races to just begin already, but it totally payed off. I loved the ending, especially the very last paragraph.

This story is paced slowly, but I liked that. It has a subtlety to it that allows emotions to creep up on you, and before you know it, you're falling for these people, this island, and these horses. I thought it was a story about a boy and his horse, and a girl and her determination, but I was wrong. This is a story about water horses. Nothing is as it seems.

Note for those who have read the book: There are three characters in this book who reminded me very much of the three Fates. This is never confirmed, and it could just be me reading into things, but I have my suspicions about them and I would love to know if others thought the same thing. Comment and let me know!

Read this if:
...you love horses, you like danger, and you like subtle plots.

Content Warning
*This section may contain some spoilers about content!*
Highlight between the brackets to reveal the text.
{Violence (water horses killing people).}

Shhhhhh, shhhhhh, says the sea, but I don't believe her.
-Sean, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater  (uncorrected ARC)

Purchase The Scorpio Races:
Maggie Stiefvater:
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  1. I'm very curious about this one. Some of Maggie's stuff I love and other I don't...so we'll see, I guess.

    Confessions of the UnPublished!

  2. This has been getting quite the hype lately and I'm getting anxious to read it myself. It's definitely a fresh plot that's for sure.

    Great review:D

    -thank you&come again.

  3. Thanks for the review! I've heard a little bit about this one, but for some reason I didnt' think there'd be much about horses. :) I love the quotes you picked out.

  4. I was not drawn in by the cover when I first saw it, but the more reviews I read on this book, the more I want to read it!

  5. Juju: Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you like the review. :)

    Sarah: I hope you like it! I wasn't a big fan of her Shiver series, but I loved this!

    Racquel: It definitely is, and I was so fascinated by it!

    Kathy: Lol, I knew it would be about horses, but not this much about horses. That's what I ended up loving about it though. Glad you like the quotes! :)

    Colleen: I loved the cover, but it was more because of how cool the title is. Alone, I don't think I'd be drawn to the cover, either. I hope you do read it!

  6. You mentioned a couple of things that are usually big turnoffs but it seems like the author is able to make annoying things work in the end. I've seen this one around and I'm definitely interested in giving it a try.

  7. I have yet to read Stiefvater, but every review I reads reminds me to get on it. She sounds like a great storyteller.


  8. Alexis: I hope you do! The positives outweighed the negatives in this one (at least for me). Hope you like it!

    Jehara: She really is. Hope you read it! :)


Thanks for commenting! I read each and every one, and reply as soon as I can :)

Please note: The Reading Fever is an award-free zone. I am very flattered, but comments are all the thanks I need.


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