Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Expected publication: October 18th 2011 by Scholastic Press
Source: Courtesy of the publisher for review
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."
First line: "It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die."
Thoughts: AMAZING! The Scorpio Races is everything I hoped for and more. There's so much action and emotion that it'll make your head spin. Who knew a book about killer horses could be so entertaining, yet heartbreaking, all at the same time?
In traditional Maggie fashion, The Scorpio Races alternates from Sean's point of view, to Puck's and back again. Sean is the reigning champion of the Scorpio Races and, in a sense, a horse whisperer. He has the most experience with the capall uisce, pronouced KUP-all OOSH-ka (i.e. Irish for "water horse"), and the person to summon when trouble arises. Sean also works at the horse ranch for Benjamin Malvern, who I can best describe as the Donald Trump of Thisby. Like most people who work around animals, he loves horses, especially Corr, a capall uisce he broke and trained for the races. Corr, in a way, is Sean's best friend and his only comfort during the races.
Kate "Puck" Connelly has lived on Thisby her whole life. There are people that leave the island, but Puck's not one of them. Even after her parent's death, she can't imagine leaving the island. It's been a struggle, but luckily she has her brothers, Gabe and Finn, to help her out. Then, some startling news shifts Puck's world, and she must enter the Scorpio Races. No girl has ever entered the races before, and she knows of the dangers it possesses. After all, it's the capall uisce that took Puck's parents, as well as the lives of many others.
The dynamics between both characters is unlike any I've ever read before. Both are filled with so much pain and suffering, it hurts. All I kept thinking throughout the book was "Why can't these kids just catch a break?"...and I kept also wondering why these people would live on an island that breeds man eating horses, but that's a whole other story. With all this said, I absolutely adored every moment Sean and Puck shared together. From the first "Keep your pony off the beach", to the advice and the friendship and possibly something more, I couldn't help but fall in love with them. The love they have for their horses is undeniable, as is their chemistry. You want them both to come out on top, one way or another.
For all you Maggie Stiefvater fans, please keep in mind that while The Scorpio Races is packed with emotion, the romance is minimal. This does not take away from the story. In fact, I personally think it adds a certain flair to it. I also think too much romance would have ruined/taken away from the story (and I'm a romance lover!). This book definitely has more action than the other books, and more death, too. You never know who the next capall uisce victim will be, which is quite thrilling. The best way I can think to describe this book is if Ballad and Shiver had a baby, that baby's name would be The Scorpio Races.
Plus, I also think Maggie has a personal vendetta or grudge against boys named Thomas. You'll see what I mean.
Overall, I was captivated and loved every second of The Scorpio Races. While at ALA this past year, I ran into Maggie, and she told me that The Scorpio Races is her favorite book that she has written thus far. I can completely see why. This book offers something for everyone. All I want to do is find a cliff on a beach somewhere and watch killer horses go ballistic. From a distance, of course...and while inside a protective cage they can't enter. This is, by far, one of my favorite 2011 reads, and I can't wait to see what else Maggie has in-store for us. There's a reason she's one of my favorite authors, and The Scorpio Races is just further proof of how brilliant she really is.
Wow, I'm totally girl-crushing on Maggie Stiefvater right now. With that said, I highly recommend this to everyone: teens, adults, boys, girls, elves, ligers, everyone! But please, make sure you have enough time to finish this in one sitting. Somehow, it packs more of a punch if you do. That and you will not want to put this down, not for a second!