The Scorpio Races
by Maggie Stiefvater
[Goodreads] [Book Depository]
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.
I am one of those people who has a tendency to avoid books that are hyped to the moon and back, simply because I have this ridiculous fear that I will be in the minority who doesn’t like them. The Scorpio Races was one of those books. Upon its release, the only book I’d read by Maggie Stiefvater was Lament – which I loved – and then heard mixed things about her Shiver series (still haven’t read any of them), and took ages to get through The Raven Boys (but finally did and LOVED it), so this book just kept getting shoved further and further down my TBR list. But thanks to an Audible credit, I decided to give this one a shot – finally – and WOW am I glad I did. This book was really amazing.
There is so much to love about this book that I don’t even know where to start. First off, the setting is amazingly described: a small island known for its races, where tourists flock at only certain times of the year. Much of the island is extremely poor – the two main characters most notably – and yet they have fabulous traditions and beliefs that are especially apparent during October and November when the race takes place. I also really loved how the author took the story of the selkies – for that’s kind of what the water horses are based off of – and twisted it into something unique and different. What initially held me back from reading this book was just that I didn’t really understand what it was supposed to be about. In the end, I think that helped me, because I had no preconceived notions about what would happen. And let me just say that there were plenty of surprises in its pages!
The other big draw for me are Puck and Sean, who – simply put – are both awesome in their own ways. I loved Puck’s strength, her determination, and her relationship with her little brother. Sean took a bit longer for me to warm up to, but by the end my heart hurt for him, and it was his story that actually made me feel the biggest emotions. I also liked watching these two slowly weave their way into each others’ lives; the romance isn’t the focus here, and that just made it work even more.
Also, a quick note on the audiobook version: it’s a winner. The story is told via two narrators, one for Puck and one for Sean, and they were both fabulous. I’m glad I went the audio route.
For a book called The Scorpio Races, the races themselves take up very little of the book – two chapters, give or take – and yet it still works amazingly well even if it isn’t necessarily action packed. I honestly can’t find a single thing that I didn’t like about this book – it is all absolutely, brilliantly perfect, and I highly, highly recommend it.
I’m so glad you loved this. I agree, the audiobook is a total winner!
Ah, your review made me want to indulge in a reread of THE SCORPIO RACES! I really do love this book. I think it’s a lovely, quiet story, and Maggie’s writing is gorgeous as always. So happy to hear you enjoyed it!