Thursday, January 19, 2012

Guest Post from Special K: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


Published: October 18, 2011
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 409
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

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 didn’t expect to like, or even love, this book. But I did. It was beautiful and haunting and heartbreaking, and I'm glad Maggie Stiefvater waited until the story felt right to her and wrote it as it should be (be sure to read her note at the end of the book). It's a departure from the general 'water horse' myth, but it's as real and true (and maybe more so) as any of its tellings in the multiple cultures where water horses make their appearance.

Scorpio Races excels where Shiver/Linger/Forever excelled - the character development (and especially interaction) was stellar, and nothing less than I expected from this writer. But the story grabbed me more than her werewolf tales, and I fell in love with Sean, and rooted for Puck trying to do right without knowing what she’s doing. Most of all I fell in love with Corr, and felt my heart race with Dove. Setting the scene in a small town, where everyone knows everyone, and the interactions are unique but consistent, must have surely been a challenge to write, but Ms. Stiefvater pulls it off flawlessly, and you have distinct reactions to each of the individuals you meet, and how they play off one another.
The setting was also immaculate, set in a place everyone can imagine and in a time outside of an era: it could have been 50 years ago, or 100 years ago. You never can tell. And that only adds to the magic and mystique that literally swirls through the entire novel.
I hate books that make me cry.

But I loved this one.
For a refreshing read, that barely tinges on fantasy, toes the line into historic, and plays with the idea of romance - try The Scorpio Races. It isn’t heavy handed in any of those categories, and is one of the few books I have read that I believe is close to perfection.

2 comments:

  1. I absolutely loved this book. I really feel like it's Maggie's strongest work out yet - it was incredible to read it :)

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  2. I honestly cannot recommend this book enough or sing its praises loud enough. If you are thinking about reading this book, do it. I couldn't put it down and fully expect to read it again several times over. Well worth the purchase price.
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