The Scorpio Races
By Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2011, Scholastic Press
Hardback, 407 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.I loved this book right from the beginning. Though I am familiar with Maggie Stiefvater's writing style from other books, reading it in this one still felt fresh and new. I loved her imagery and witticism and how she described people and situations in new ways to me.
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.
There is a major emphasis on all aspects of horses, and not just because of the existence of the water horses. Though the author pulls the water horses from mythology, much of their origins and abilities are cloaked in mystery. Sean Kendrick is one of the few on the island that understands the water horses -- both how to control them and respect them, as well as how to care for them properly -- though he does not share his knowledge with anyone. The fantastical elements of the water horses are understated, as they are more of a catalyst for the budding romance between Sean and Puck.
Sean is as much of a mystery as the water horses. The other inhabitants of the island respect him, but keep their distance. As a regular winner of the Scorpio Races, sean is the expected winner, but his attraction to Puck makes things unpredictable and unprecedented.
Puck is easy to like. She loves her horse, she loves her brothers, and she loves the island. She likes life simple and her motivations are not for wealth, but to keep her home and her family just as it is. Of course, life never stays stagnant, and her spontaneous entry into the Scorpio Races sparks enough conflict and controversy to change her life forever.
While I learned much more about horses than I would ever seek to learn otherwise, the book is more of a love story than a horse myth come to life, and I loved every word of it.
The Cover: I love the mysteriousness of the cover, with an image of a girl on a horse. It is both simple and powerful.
First Line: "It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die."
What a strong opening line - she gets right to the point and pulls me in immediately.
Favorite Quote: "It's easy to convince men to love you, Puck. All you have to do is be a mountain they have to climb or a poem they don't understand. Something that makes them feel strong or clever. It's why they love the ocean."
Read For: Outdo Yourself Challenge