Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic (Audiobooks)
Released: October 18, 2011
Page #: 12 hour audio
Source: My public library
"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.
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 to ever 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 listening experience."
"It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.
Even under the brightest sun, the frigid autumn sea is all the colors of the night: dark blue and black and brown. I watch the ever-changing patterns in the sand as it's pummeled by countless hooves."
I truly put off reading this book for a while. I had heard some reviews that were kinda meh about it and I didn't want to have that sort of experience. But after reading/listening to it, I've decided that those people just wanted it to be like her other books. It's not, but it absolutely stands on it's own two (four) feet (hooves) and gives you an amazing story you won't soon forget.
The Scorpio Races take place on Thisby every November. It's an island where the water horses come on land during the month of October and almost terrorize the towns. But once the locals have snared some of the horses and learned to ride them, tons of tourists show up to watch them race on the most dangerous day next to the ocean. People die in these races every year - but this story is about two teens who decide to test their fate. One is the first girl ever to ride in the races and the other is the reigning champ fighting for a better life.
Man. I just realized that it's hard to sum up this story in a few words. It's probably one of the more deep and intense novels I've read/listened to in a while. Maybe it's just the connection that you form with these characters because they are so different from your average teens. And I do want to give kudos to the author for writing an awesome horse story without a bonnet anywhere on the cover... or in the story. What a relief! :)
Puck was an amazing character. At first she's super naive and trusting -until she realizes just what she's gotten herself into. The races have always been for men and many people in the community try to convince her to drop out. She also decides to use her own horse instead of one of the very un-horse-like water horses. One of her biggest concerns is being eaten. That's right... eaten.
Sean is the champion rider that has won the last four years, but this year there is a lot more at stake. His horse is one that he has gotten to know so well, there is no denying their connection. But the horse is owned by someone else... and he wants the chance to be free to live his own life. All he has to do is not just survive the races, but win. Again. He's an internal guy. Nothing shows on the outside. He's brooding and relates much better to horses than people. Until Puck, of course ;).
The whole idea of water horses was a new one for me. I hadn't heard any of the tales or anything, so I looked a few things up while I was reading this book. It's such an amazing idea. Can you imagine something as huge as a horse coming straight out of the ocean? It gives me shivers. And the author does such a great job with descriptions that I felt like I could hear them, smell them, see them... perfectly. It's such an eerie idea and it really makes this story full of magic and suspense.
I loved all of the various characters around the town. The shop owners, the boys who are friends of her brothers, Puck's brothers themselves, the American horse buyer... all of them. It just made this town feel so rich in history and life. Though, I do have to question... it seems like a small town/island. How in the world to they afford to lose that many men every year during the races? I mean, according to the races, there are a ton of people who don't make it. I do know that it's discussed as a fact of life there. But how do they continue to have people to take part in the races? That's all. Maybe I missed something about how intensely this island is populated :).
I will absolutely be recommending this book! There are lots of characteristics that make it a wonderful story and I think it will appeal to a broad range of people. I loved that the romance didn't hit you in the face - which I think is a nice change. I have already looked around to see if there will be a sequel and it looks like that's never going to happen. It's too bad, though. I'd love to see what happens afterward. Ah well. It's a great story by itself. I definitely think you should all give it a try!
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