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The Scorpio Races


The Scorpio Races Cover

ISBN13: 9780545224901
ISBN10: 054522490x
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pink_daisy_23, January 22, 2012 (view all comments by pink_daisy_23)
When I attended a panel at a book convention and heard Maggie Stiefvater’s book being summarized as a story about “homicidal horses,” I was sold.

The Scorpio Races centers around mythical horses called the capaill uisce, which emerge from the sea every November, and during this time, riders capture and train these horses--all while trying to not be disemboweled by their mounts. These Celtic legends attempt to lure their victims into the sea or merely shred them to pieces. However, the author presents this as magical realism--subtle and as an organic part of the setting. So for any fantasy skeptics, this book reads like a Misty of Chincoteague or the Black Stallion with higher stakes.

Now, this story is told from alternating perspectives of Puck and Sean. Normally within post-modern YA novels, I find first person narrative repulsive--it’s like being forced to endure a conversation with a self-absorbed, insipid imitation of a teenager. However, I found myself endeared to the horses, the characters, and the island. I watched as Puck and Sean, without that instant-love rainbow connection, form a relationship born out of a mutual love of the island, which is sweet and suits the characters.

Lastly, I loved the luscious atmosphere and lyricism. Without bordering on purple prose, the coastal fog just rolls of the page as the author describes all the shades of twilight. Every page brims with life. With vivid descriptions like "a fearful dull Pegasus with disintegrating wings of sea foam" or the simple yet effective repetition of "I am so, so alive" the author constructs sentences that make me envy her talent. This book receives 5 out of 5 stars.
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luvbooks, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by luvbooks)
Riveting novel of loyalty, love, and the racing of mythical horses--the most unique and wonderful novel of the year to my mind!
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sixkb, January 5, 2012 (view all comments by sixkb)
As a big fan of her "Shiver" series, I was looking forward to this book. It turned out to be just as compelling a read as that series, if not even better!
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Heidi Millay, January 4, 2012 (view all comments by Heidi Millay)
Yes, yes, yes. I wasn't a huge fan of Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series (Shiver et al.), so I didn't really expect much from this - but I LOVED it. It's moody and weird and bewitching, like nothing else I've ever read. The story seems to exist outside of time and space (I had no clue what time period it was set in, until a character mentioned "women's suffrage" towards the end of the book, and the setting is a small island I assume to be located off Scotland? or maybe Ireland? since the story incorporates creatures from Celtic mythology). The narration switches back and forth between the two main characters: Puck, a feisty, fearless girl who was orphaned by the water horses, and Sean, the quiet, mysterious four-time winner of the Scorpio Races. Puck becomes the first girl to enter the annual race, which she does to save her home, and this is how she and Sean cross paths. Sean is in the race because he's always in the race, and he needs to win so he can buy his beloved water horse, Corr, from his wealthy employer. So they enter the race, they train for the race, they race. Throw in lots of family drama, some first-wave feminism, a wee bit of romance, and a good dose of death and dismemberment, and that's that. Really this book isn't very supernatural at all, except that the horses in the race happen to crave human flesh and come from the sea (!). Other than that, it's a pretty straightforward coming-of-age tale. I love the characters, I love the writing, I love the horses, I love the totally believable romance - but most of all, I think, I love the heartbreak of it all. It's hard to explain, really. I think some Shiver fans will hate this, because it's much more quiet and subtle, but I found it to be totally enchanting.
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coriander8, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by coriander8)
This book is amazing. I love how the author showcases all of the character's feelings, and the writing is beautiful. I love all things fantastical, but this story of the mythical water horses really striking.Only after I started it, i realized that I had actually seen the author speak in October at Wordstock!I couldn't put it down, and now my friends are lining up to borrow it from me! Definitely five stars.
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Product Details

Stiefvater, Maggie
Scholastic Press
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Edition Description:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 9
8.25 x 5.5 in
Age Level:
from 14

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Young Adult » General

The Scorpio Races New Hardcover
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$17.99 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Scholastic Press - English 9780545224901 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In her closing notes, Stiefvater (the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy) calls this a book 'about killer horses' — terrifying faerie creatures that eat meat and seek to drown humans — and, in virtually the same breath, says that it 'isn't really about water horses.' She's right on both counts. On the island of Thisby, the Scorpio Races are held every November, when the driven or the crazy ride the beaches on the backs of these mounts. Sean Kendrick does it for love, winning year after year on the stallion Corr; Puck Connolly, pitting her ordinary horse against the killers, does it out of desperation, to win money to keep her home and to earn respect from her older brother, who threatens to desert the family. Stiefvater's narration is as much about atmospherics as it is about event, and the water horses are the environment in which Sean and Puck move, allies and rivals to the end. It's not a feel-good story — dread, loss, and hard choices are the islanders' lot. As a study of courage and loyalty tested, however, it is an utterly compelling read. Ages 13 — up. (Oct.) Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "This is the most romantic werewolf book you will ever read."
"Synopsis" by ,

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 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.

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.

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