Monday, April 22, 2013

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

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.
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 Connelly 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.
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 reading experience.

~Print copy, 404 pages
Published: 2011 by Scholastic Press

I wasn't really expecting to like this novel.

I'm not a romance fan, as you might can tell if you've been poking around my blog for awhile. And this seemed, from its summary, like one of those books that understates the romantic element in the summary when really, the whole freakin' thing is romance dressed up as magical.

But thankfully, it wasn't like that. The romance was kinda subtle, didn't really pick up until the end. Most of it was the worrying over the water horses and Puck's stubbornness and a worrying lack of money.

Let me go into a bit of detail here. Puck Connelly is a stubborn, family-oriented girl who has never witnessed the Races, despite having grown up on the only island that does the Races. But she feels forced to participate when her brother announces that he's leaving for the mainland. Their parents are dead, and she and her little brother would be left all alone.

So she blurts out that she'll join them, just so he'll stay a couple more weeks. This seems kind of a flimsy reason to join the Races; she could have found a different way, or just accepted that he'll leave, or insist she'll go, too. But she does none of that. She joins a bunch of Races she's never seen for herself. Races that consist of superhorses who eat human flesh if you're not careful racing against each other, right next to the habitat that magically calls to their blood: the sea.

But really, overall, I kinda liked Puck. Whatever her reasons behind it, she still joined the male-dominated Races against everyone's advice, even after the male racers shun her in little ways and big ways. And anyways, she finds out she needs the prize money: without her older brother, the primary money-earner, she'll be kicked out of the house she grew up in. And that's worth fighting for. 

And Sean Kendrick? He's a weird one. He's a cool character -- for some reason, he reminded of Four from Divergent, though I can't pinpoint why -- and his reasons are his own rhyme. Or, in other words, he seemed like a real person, and moreover he seemed like a real person who I might actually be able to stand. He doesn't care about society, sticks up for Puck, loves his water horse a little too much.

This is a real character-oriented novel, really. I can't tell you where this novel took place, other than the romantic vision of an isle of scrubby grass and tough people, all living near cliffs and the sea. I believe, from the references to America and the mainland, that it takes place somewhere around the British Isles, or Ireland or Scotland or... you know the vague area I'm talking about. (I'm not good with geography.)

Overall, this novel was pretty interesting. I finished it a little less than a week ago and I can still give you this opinion, so obviously it was in some shape or form memorable. I wouldn't stick it among my greater favorite books, because it didn't quite catch my spark. It almost did, but it didn't for whatever minute reason. But I think it's a book that plenty of people would love beyond love. It's a fine book. So, I give it four stars.

1 comment:

  1. I expected a story about horse racing. What I got was a story about self-discovery and the value in proving to yourself that you are stronger then what others would define for you; about finding out what you would be willing to sacrifice to get what you desperately needed.
    HOA Management Raleigh