Book Review – The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Review - The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races Cover

The Scorpio Races

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publication: October 18th, 2011

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Format: Kindle Edition, 409 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Paranormal

Read: July 2016

Maggie StiefvaterGoodreads

 

 

4.5 Stars

Synopsis:
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Shiver and Linger comes a brand new, heartstopping novel.
Some race to win. Others race to survive.
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 choice. So she enters the competition – the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
As she did in her bestselling Shiver trilogy, author Maggie Stiefvater takes us to the breaking point, where both love and life meet their greatest obstacles, and only the strong of heart can survive. The Scorpio Races is an unforgettable reading experience.

Critically

Plot – 4 out of 5 stars
It took me a little while to get into but it didn’t take long for the story to capture my attention. It’s action packed, full of mythology and folklore and death. It dealt with death, family and personal  desires. Obviously, it had horses in it, both normal and mythological and both were freaking awesome. While I enjoyed the action of it, I feel like it’s more a story about the characters and their connections to other people and places, how it happens, how it affects a person and so on. It ended up feeling very powerful toward the end.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
I’m slowly but surely becoming a huge fan of Maggie’s writing. It’s always so atmospheric and eerie. It’s so vivid and descriptive that it makes it incredibly easy to picture what is happening. While the story is medium pace which sometimes might feel really slow, it was powerful and intense when it needed to be. I spent the whole time highlighting different lines (which I also do with the Raven Cycle) because some of the things she writes are so poetic and beautiful. It’s so easy to read and to get lost into the amazing and intriguing world she created.

Characters – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I really liked the characters in this book though it took me a little while to warm up to them. There are two protagonists in this story, Puck and Sean, who have two completely different lives, and thoughts, and desires but who also manage to find common ground together. Puck, or Kate, is super tough. She’s an orphan whose parents died and left her with her two brothers. She’s used to working hard and trying to make ends meet even though she’s still a teen. She’s determined and rough around the edges but she’s also sweet and honest. I liked her personality even when she frustrated me sometimes. She’s my kind of girl. And then there’s Sean. I love him, with a giant passion. He’s one of those quiet, intense guys. Not because he’s trying to play himself as the bad boy but because he takes care with his word. He doesn’t say anything unless he means it. He’s deep and powerful and caring and honest. Not only with other people, though not many, but with his horse. That relationship hit so close to my heart, it was intense and beautiful and so real. I also really liked the side characters. They were all eccentric and interesting and sometimes just completely weird. Sometimes I didn’t understand them but they lent a lot to the story.

Emotionally

I wasn’t sure how to feel about this book when I first started reading but the story captivated me completely.

The plot is interesting. We follow two teens in different place in life who stumble into each others life when they both decide to enter the Scorpio Races, a legendary horse race involving carnivorous sea horses called capall uisce. The story started off really slow and I wasn’t that interested at first. I didn’t connect with the characters right away and there wasn’t a lot of world building or set up to speak of and it turned me off a bit. But the writing style is so beautiful and enchanting that it pulled me in and got me intrigued about the island setting and the characters and the folklore and mythology. This isn’t a fast paced read or an action packed story by any means, even if the synopsis makes it feel that way. It’s a tale about people. Their wants and needs and how it feels to be connected to something bigger than yourself. To a horse, to an island, to a community. It’s quite beautiful to be honest. Once I allowed myself to be submerged into the writing and to go with the flow of that little island, it was a different experience. Don’t get me wrong, the mechanics and characteristics of the sea horse race were amazing. The rituals they have and why they do what they do. How people invest themselves in these savage wild animals who at any second could kill them. The both positive and negative aspects of these connections and how it affected the community of this little island. I wish there was another book so I could have more of that experience.

I didn’t know how to feel about Puck for awhile after finishing this book, maybe it was her that made me unsure at the beginning, maybe not. I really loved her attitude and her determination. She’s in such a hard place in her life and then she gets this huge news that somehow makes it feel like more than the world is on her shoulders. She makes this crazy decision to be a part of this race with these carnivorous horses who caused her siblings and herself to be orphans, only because she wants what little family she has to stick together. But it becomes something more. More meaningful, more intense once the practices start happening. She’s a tough girl, because life made her that way but she loves where she comes from. She’s caring and she’s fierce. She loves deeply and intensely and I was in awe of her by the end of this book.

However, Sean is my favorite character. He’s quiet and intense but powerful in the way he moves through life. I love his disposition and his strength. However, my favorite part of him was his relationship with with Corr, his capall uisce. It hit me so close to my heart and reminded me of the relationship I had with my mare who sadly passed away a few years ago. Their connection was so genuine and so real. Even though he was a carnivorous horse, Corr listened to Sean constantly and fought off his natural instincts. His trust and faith in Sean was overwhelming and Sean’s love was intense. I almost liked them more than I liked the ship. Though I loved that a lot too. It was such a slow burn which I appreciated and came from a place of understanding and mutual respect for the other and their dreams. I’m a fan of them <3.

I wanted to talk about the side characters very briefly, because I found them all to be so eccentric and complex and they gave a whole new life to that little island residence. Puck’s brothers are complete opposites but that trio loves each other so much, even if their search for their own happiness makes it feel like they don’t. Finn was so sweet and endearing but smart and crafty. I loved how simply he loved. There are quite a few weird old ladies in this story but they were hilarious and smart as a whip and I loved them. And then there’s Peg. She’s a badass woman and I loved her fierce attitude. Lastly, there’s this young American (how he’s referred to in the book) that spiced  things up quite a bit and he made me laugh.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It has a slow start but the writing style is beautiful and captivating. The plot is not as exciting or action packed as I was expecting but the underlying themes of family and looking for happiness are wonderful and powerful. I loved the characters, their personalities and relationships and most of all I love the horses! I would definitely recommend this book.

So that’s it for this review! Let me know what you think of my thoughts. Have you read the Scorpio Races? Or a book that is similar. Leave me your recs down below! Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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13 thoughts on “Book Review – The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. I am SO glad to finally see this review in action. I’m still not sure how I ended up kind of the black sheep in our buddy read group – I agree that it was really slow, but the writing was beautiful… but I guess that just wasn’t enough to turn this book around for me? 😛

    But yeah. Glad that you enjoyed it and I can’t wait for our next buddy read!

    … also, I am totally linking to this post on my review because of how different our experiences are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks lovely! I’m glad it finally came time to post it haha. Well, I think that considering how you’re our most critical reviewer and I don’t know if you have read some of her other books or not, it didn’t affect you as it did us who are more of her fans. But that’s okay! Makes the buddy read more fun!
      Do it! 😀

      Like

  2. Great review, as always. It seems like Maggie always focuses more on the themes and the characters than on the plot itself! I’m really interested in this book after I read your thoughs on it. Especially the relationship between Sean and Corr, it sounds adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! The Raven Cycle is also great, I’m currently reading the last book and I’m really enjoying it. I wish this book was a duology at least but as a standalone it’s also super good. I hope you enjoy it if your read it 🙂

      Like

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