Review 15. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Title: The Scorpio Races
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: April 2013 (first published October 18th 2011)
Pages: 435 pages

"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 choice. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

The island Thisby is known for the deadliest race of all: the Scorpio Races. Men ride capaill uisce, hoping to control them long enough to reach the finish line alive. Sean Kendrick has already won four races, but that doesn't stop him from trying again. Kate "Puck" Connolly never wanted to ride on the races -especially after losing her parents to the sea. However, life has many twists and Kate finds herself in the races. Who will win? But most important, who will die?

“It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.” 

Writing: The Scorpio Races is an enthralling story, told by two voices, Sean and Puck. The writing is beautifully-raw. Maggie Stiefvater isn't afraid of writing bloody and brutal and at the same time expressing the purest emotions.

"I scream Finn's name. Now the mare tosses part of her victim at me, ears flattened back. I half gasp, half sob, jumping back from the bloody joint. There's something stringy coming out of it, like jellyfish tentacles. I want to just kneel down and stop thinking."

The story is slow-paced - the race only happens near the end.  However, there isn't a slow moment (so many jaw-dropping moments). The story tells to detail the events before the race, from the Thisby inhabitants preparing for the arrival of the tourists to the parade with the racers to the daily training on the beach. I just loved how it focused on every single detail about the races. The prose is so poetic and beautiful and cruel that the pace felt just right.

Characters: Can I say I loved every character? Well, not every character - how could I love Mutt? He was so despicable that I wanted to punch him.

Puck is a very strong character. She lost her parents, lives with her two brothers and with them tries to earn enough to survive. Puck enters in the races not for the glory, but for love to her family and home. She never backs down, even after every man on the island telling her to quit the races - fragile male ego much? I wish I had the strength and the courage Puck has.

Sean is an introspective character. A man of few words, he keeps a lot to himself and is the only who doesn't feel intimated by Puck's presence in the races - he even ends up helping her. At young age, he saw the races killing his father (and the mainland took his mother), but instead of feeling fear from the water horses, he learned to love and respect them. He has really strong connection with Corr, his water horse, and that shows how much he cares for these mythical creatures. Sean is one in a kind.

Relationship: Who doesn't love a slow-burn romance? Watching Sean and Puck falling in love was freaking cute. Sean let Puck in and Puck let Sean in and they figured out they had a lot in common: the love for their island and horses (Corr was Sean's best friend and Dove was Puck's). Who knows the precise moment when they fell in love? Every chapter, they became closer, they started thinking more and more about each other. And then, without warning, they were in love. This is how a relationship is perfectly built. 

“I say, 'I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.'
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, 'It's late for that, Puck.”

Also, Corr's crush on Dove, let's talk about cuteness.*.*

Worldbuiling: Even though the story has its roots in Irish lore, Maggie Stiefvater creates her own world. A harsh and cruel world where death hovers, but at the same time entrancing. She brings to life a new vision of the water horses, but not less fatal. The capaill usice are vicious creatures, but there is a charm in them that can't be denied. The island Thisby is so well shaped and described that I wish it was a real place. The worldbuiling of The Scorpio Races is simply flawless.

The Scorpio Races is a beautifully-raw story that has won my heart.

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