Book Review! | The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

the-scorpio-racesIt 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. – from Goodreads

The Scorpio Races is a book I’ve wanted to read for a long, long time and I’m so glad I finally managed to pick it up!

I’m going to start with one of my favourite parts: the horses. The capaill uisce, the water horses, are so so dangerous and yet beautiful and magical too. I really loved to read about Corr, and although he was deadly, I also kind of fell in love with him through the pages, and it really made me miss horses myself.

And yes, in case you haven’t guessed, I am a horse girl.

So yeah, the horses were glorious. I liked that there were some land horses mixed in as well, although to be honest, they were in so much danger from the capaill uisce a lot of the time, I was screaming at most of the people on Thisby to actually protect themselves and their animals. There was a bit, actually, where my heart was pounding because I was so fearful for these characters, and especially their horse! Maybe it’s because I’ve been bitten by a horse myself, but they can be very scary yet majestic creatures.

Ok onto the characters. Sean Kendrick was… I don’t really know how to describe him, I’ll be honest with you. He was wonderful. Quiet, he was also very clever, very emotive (to himself) and very good with horses. As the characters themselves said, “He has one foot on the land and one foot in the sea,” and I think that’s a lovely way to live.

Puck… was okay. I definitely preferred the name Puck to Kate! I just kind of don’t have any opinions of her, really. She was… okay. There. I actually really liked Finn, her younger brother, and I would have liked to have read more about him. If Gabe actually showed up, I might have had a better opinion than, “Dude. What.”

I can see why some people said the plot was slow paced, because the Scorpio Races don’t actually happen until nearly the end of the book, and then it’s over very quickly. I actually found that passage quite confusing: I wasn’t sure who was where, and who was alive, who was dead, which horses had thrown their riders etc. etc. I wanted more history and background – why do the Scorpio Races happen? Why is it called ‘the Scorpio Races’? When & how did this tradition start? There was a little bit about the capaill uisce, but not much and through the mind of a visiting American (which is actually quite a good way to do it, I suppose). I also wasn’t quite sure where Thisby is based, but I guessed that it was an island off the west coast of Scotland area, or maybe around Ireland.

Also, a lot of people die in this book. I’ve already said that the capaill uisce are dangerous, and they are, so why don’t people just let them live on their own island? (Thisby only has 4000 people, so it wouldn’t necessarily be hard to get them all off.) I get that they’re fascinating, but seriously, there were maybe 5+ deaths which for a book like this, and not dystopia or high fantasy or whatever, that’s a lot of people! There was also hardly any sadness when one of the characters died I was sad for, so I’m really surprised. The psychology of the Thisbians would be really interesting to study, but I’m kind of surprised that Stiefvater didn’t go much more into it.

Overall, I think I’m actually going to give this 4/5 – 4.5/5 (I’m changeable, and I still really love this book) despite absolutely loving it and giving it 500/5 at the time. I think I just wanted a little more from this, and I did feel quite removed from all the characters except for Sean Kendrick. However, I really want to buy my own copy so I can reread it in the future whenever I want to. Would I recommend this? Yes. But I think it is a book that you have to like if not love horses for, as they feature so heavily. But yes, I would totally recommend this book.

TITLE: The Scorpio Races
AUTHOR: Maggie Stiefvater
GENRE: YA fantasy realism
ISBN: 9781407129853
PERSONAL SOURCE: Borrowed from the library


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