Sunday, October 16, 2011

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

“It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.” Every year, at the start of November in a town called Thisby, riders race their water horses in the sand by the sea and cliffs. It’s a dangerous race because the water horses are not ordinary horses; they come from the sea, they are vicious, unpredictable and they have a taste for flesh.

Nineteen-year-old Sean Kendrick knows this only too well. He’s won the races three times, and is determined to win again. If he wins, he’ll be able to buy Corr, the water horse he is riding in the race. Sean works for a hard man named Malvern, who owns most of the water horses. Although he won’t admit it, he needs Sean to keep the water horses calm and safe. No one can handle the horses like Sean – he’s got a powerful and unusual gift – like a horse whisperer extraordinaire.Then there’s Kate Connolly, also known as Puck. There has never been a girl rider in this race, but even though the people in Thisby are against it, Puck is determined to compete and win. She needs to win to save her family home. And she intends to ride her own mare, Dove.

I have to be honest - I don’t know if I would have bothered reading this book if I just thought it was about a horse race. But it was highly recommended by my amazing friend and publisher rep Janet(who is always right on), and it’s written my Maggie Steifvater - two great reasons to try it.  And I wasn't disappointed!

The story is told from Sean and Puck’s point of view in alternating chapters. Sean was quiet and mystical. I felt like he came from the sea, just like the horses he loved so much. I loved Puck’s determination and how straight-forward she was. A romance develops between them, but it’s a quiet, gentle whisper kind of romance (not the helpless and nauseating kind). Both characters were strong , imperfect, and very likeable.

I was glad the author didn't just turn this into a romance. The characters were strong, but so was the setting - the sea, the cliffs, the cold harsh weather, and the danger of these powerful water horses who were almost impossible to ride.  I loved the mythical quality of this story.  It's so much more than a horse race! This story is about family, courage, and the sacrifice one makes for what they love and believe in. Beautifully written.

Order The Scorpio Races from today.

Reviewed by Maria Martella.

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