15 April, 2015

REVIEW: THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater


Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: -
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Physical copy
Pages: 409

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PLOT 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.

I do not exactly remember how I discovered this book but if I have to guess... probably through Goodreads since I had already read other books by Maggie such as Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy. I noticed the girl riding the horse in the cover and I was immediately drawn since I love horses, moreover the story itself about a girl who enters a water horse race — actually being the only girl to ever do so— which was never meant to happen just sold it for me. I didn't care about a probable romance, because let's face it nowadays a story is not a YA story without romance, I only cared about her, the water horses, and the Scorpio Races.

THE WORLD: The book takes place in Thisby, a small island probably located somewhere off the coast of Ireland, Scotland or Wales. References in the book are to Mainland but it is never specified. The myth of water horses, though, has a Celtic origin, thus my guess. Since it's a small island everyone knows everyone (and everyone's business). They survive because of the money tourists spend when the Scorpio Races begin in November. It's also important to mention that Thisby is the only place with water horses and they have been there quite some time since there is a painting of them in a cave.

CHARACTERS: The main character is Kate "Puck" Connolly, a 17 year old girl who lost her parents to the water horses and the November sea. She lives in her parents' farm with her older brother, Gabe, and his younger one, Finn. She also has a mare called Dove, a normal horse... maybe not even a horse since she's a local pony. Puck was a very well developed, real character, and I say real because you can relate to her thoughts in many levels: from who she is to why she entered the Scorpio Races and a tiny little bit of who she likes. Who does she like? Someone she never even spoke to before she entered the Scorpio Races, the one and only Sean Kendrick. The king of the Scorpio Races. Sean is a very mysterious character, we barely get anything about his past and he's the reserved-type of boy. He doesn't say anything unless he really means to express it. His only friend is actually the water horse he trained, Corr, for the stables of the island owned by the Malverns and the son of Mr. Malvern, Mutt, hates Sean because he has a special connection with their fastest horse which is, of course, Corr. I also liked Sean a lot although I would've liked to know more of his background or his POV.

LOVE: I enjoyed this book as the romance does not play a big role, not even a medium role, the story solely focuses on the water horses. It was nice to have a break from sugar-coated romance stories. But I must say I was totally shipping Puck and Sean.

PLUS: The setting. The characters. The story. The water horses! It was very interesting to learn about this Celtic myth and I wish there was a second book but sadly it is just a stand-alone.

MINUS: Even though the book has the water horses playing a major role it does a very basic role on explaining them, what they are, why they are that way, etc. Don't get me wrong, it adds mystery to it but at the same time it doesn't satisfy my scientific curiosity so I had to do extra research about the water horses. If you are willing to know more about them keep reading the facts below, if not, STOP RIGHT NOW OR YOU WILL SPOIL YOURSELF!

OVERALL: 5 stars. Despite the minus this book is on my list of favorites for a reason. I definitely recommend it unless you are more in the mood for pure romance or the horse/race theme doesn't appeal to you. Sadly, there are no follow up books which, if you think about it... maybe it is for good. No, it's actually a pity. I want a sequel!


Water Horses

Basic information:

The Capall Uisce (COP-ple ISH-ka) or Capaill Uisce (plural) is a legendary Celtic water horse that lives in the sea and is far more dangerous than the kelpie.


A large, fleet-footed horse with curved and pointed ears, devilish eyes, and vicious teeth. May come in any variety of coat patterns.

The sea. Cold northern waters.

The Capall Uisce is a vicious killer, even among those it may love. They become very active during weather with strong currents or intense storms (November), and may come ashore. They eat flesh, and may devour their victims, or drag them into the sea to drown them before consuming them.

Benefits of Keeping:
Energy and connection to the sea. To their keepers they are fiercely loyal and protective, but may still cause harm to them during storms or near the sea. They are predators who will very easily harm others, including children and especially animals. They require a firm, steady hand and a very experienced keeper.

© All credits to the information source.