This book kinda snuck up on me. I picked it up because I had The Raven Boys, book 1 of Maggie Stiefvater’s series, The Raven Cycle and enjoyed it, and I have a copy of Shiver (book 1 of The Wolves of Mercy Falls) sitting around that I’ll get to one of these days.
I was never a huge horse person (though I have nothing against them), so I went into The Scorpio Races with kind of an “ehh, let’s see” attitude. I enjoyed it in the beginning, then all of a sudden, I desperately needed to be reading this book. It’s now been several weeks, and it has stuck with me. To the point where I’ve considered rereading before going to one of the other 390,349,344 books on my to-read list.
The plotline is simple in action, but quiet complex in emotion. A race is a coming. A horse race. A horse race with super scarey, monster killer water horses called “capaill uisce” that could easily kill you or run you off into the water. Sean has won 4 of these races so far and it looks pretty good that he’ll win again. Then there’s Puck, who has recently lost her parents, is about to lose her brother, and is doing whatever she can to hold things together for her and her younger brother. Throw in a dash of romance and you have a story as heart-stopping as the “capaill uisce” themselves.
I hated Gabe immediately for his wanting to ditch his siblings at the worst time possible. You could argue he has good reason, but eh, no. Bad brother. Puck’s younger brother, on the other hand, works just as hard as she does to earn money to scrape by. This desperation is what leads Puck to sign up for the dangerous races. Puck is the first girl to ever enter the race, and faces plenty of scrutiny for doing so. The romance in the book is sweet and slow. None of that insta-love people complain about so often. The horses themselves are characters, from Pucks’s gentle and “regular” horse, Dove, to Sean’s swift and strong capaill uisce, Corr. Though the capaill uisce are made-up creatures based on a myth, they felt so real that I actually had to look them up and see if they were imagined or not.
I love the way Maggie writes. It’s not drawn out or flowery, but there’s plenty of description. The plot is fast paced, and the emotion is clear. I feel what the characters are going through and am rooting for them. I still think so fondly of Sean and Puck after weeks, that I have a feeling these characters will be with me for a long time.
I hope someone makes this a movie. I want to see the cliffs and the sea and the terrifying water horses. I’ll read this book again. Perhaps many times. Just because I miss them and their world. It’s even made me like horses more, for some reason. I see a horse and I think of Corr or Dove and it makes me smile to know what such an animal is capable of. It’s an all around beautiful story.
The Goodreads Description
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
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Did you read it? What did you think?