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. – Goodreads
My relationship with Maggie Stiefvater’s books is a strange one because there’s so much dread involved. I know, right? Weird. Allow me to explain: I read Shiver way back when and simply adored her prose and the book’s conclusion. As a matter of fact, I adored it so much that I decided that I didn’t want anything to ruin the ending for me and, to this day, I have yet to read Linger or Forever. Every time I think about finally giving them a go, I end up putting them back on my shelf. So, when I read that The Scorpio Races was a standalone, I was so excited that there wasn’t a possibility of a similar experience and, plus, the synopsis sounded absolutely amazing to me. I eagerly looked forward to its release, pre-ordered it, the whole nine yards…and then the reviews began to trickle in. A few lukewarm reviews began to pop up and I found myself in the similar state of dread that I feel when I consider reading Linger and Forever. I was worried over how it would turn out, that it wouldn’t reach my initial expectations, so I kept bumping it down on my TBR pile. I shouldn’t have worried because I loved it so much that the conclusion left me wanting to weep.
The Scorpio Races is set on the island of Thisby where flesh-eating horses, known as the capall uisce, rise from the ocean every fall. Men who decide to participate in the Scorpio Races train with their selected capall uisce with the goal of winning some fame and money. This a dangerous game to play, though, as the capall uisce are not animals that can be controlled and there are many participants who don’t even make it to the actual races.
Kate Connolly, aka Puck, decides to enter the Scorpio Races in attempt to keep her older brother, Gabe, on the island longer. She’s the first female to enter the competition and, despite the expected criticisms that she receives, she’s driven and has so much spirit. At first I was a little frustrated that she was entering with her common horse, Dove, but all it meant was that she had to fight harder. And she did.
Sean Kendrick is the four time winner of the Scorpio Races and somewhat of a horse whisper when it comes to the capall uisce. Although he’s not a man of many words, he still managed to have such a presence throughout the course of the novel. His bond with Corr was beautiful and, though I loved Puck and cheered for her, it was Corr and Sean that had my heart.
The romance between Sean and Puck is a slow one, but that did not detract from their chemistry in any way. I was so pleased with their development, how they came together, and the moments that they shared. The swoonage may have been understated, but it was definitely there and I loved every second of it.
The side characters were just as memorable. The three standouts were 1) Gabe, Puck’s older brother, whose actions lead Puck into the races, 2) Finn, Puck’s other brother,who was the cutest and most adorable ever, and 3) Mutt Malverin. Mutt who made me rage and who has earned a spot in my “Characters I Hate” list. Truly, I hate him.
Then, of course, there’s the capall uisce. Stiefvater made these creatures come alive for me. It was easy to feel the respect, reverence, attachment, and fear that many of the characters felt for them — especially the fear. There’s one particular scene that had my eyes bugging out because it was so terrifying. Even thinking about it now makes my stomach drop, ugh.
Now, to the conclusion. It was so beautiful and so perfect that, yes, I had to hold back a sobfest that threatened to erupt out of me. Just like the majority of the book, it was quiet and understated, but it evoked SO MANY FEELINGS. This book, that ending..a definite all-time favorite.
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