The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.
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.
This is my first Stiefvater book. I don't know why I didn't read her werewolf series; maybe because the market was a bit saturated with werewolf/vampire stuff at the time. After The Scorpio Races, though, I'll definitely be checking them out.
What I Liked: Lord, what didn't I like? The characters, to start. Sean, Puck and the supporting cast were beautifully done, both rugged and independent, which fits the setting and the story. Especially Puck, who rode the knife's edge between vulnerable and tough throughout.
I loved the water horses, too. I don't know if Stiefvater is a "horse person" in real life, but the water horses' authenticity is going to hit home for anyone who knows horses. Because real horses do have that sort of wildness and unpredictability in them; Stiefvater just magnifies it to make a truly terrifying creature.
Authentic is a word which keeps popping up when I try to describe this book. Even though it contains supernatural creatures, the world is so real, so well-crafted, that you fall right in and lose yourself.
What I Didn't: There was only one thing that stuck in my craw on this book, and it's a tiny, nitpicky thing--the use of the term capaill uisce for the water horses. Even though there was a pronunciation slipped in early in the book, I forgot it, which meant I couldn't pronounce it in my head, which distracted me.
Overall: Loved it. A new favorite I will definitely go back and read again.
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