Monday, 14 November 2011

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-1-407129-85-3
Pages: 482
Series: N/A
Type: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Every year the sand on the beaches of Skarmouth turns red from blood during the Scorpio Races. Every year riders capture the savage water horses and race them, and every year only a handful of the entrants survive. When Puck enters the Scorpio Races to try to save her family she doesn't expect to find herself drawn to Sean, the only person able to tame the beasts. But their newfound connection is overshadowed by the danger of the Races.

I have loved Maggie Stiefvater's books ever since I read Shiver. She has an incredible way of creating a world that you can fall into and characters you care about. When I heard this was to be about savage water horses I was thrilled. I grew up with stories of viscious horses from the sea (though mine were kelpies not cappaill uisce) so I couldn't wait to read this, and I loved every page. The storyline has a great steady pace that draws you in, and plenty of twists and turns to make you desperate to see what happens next.

The story focuses on Puck, aka Kate Connolly, who enters the races because her family needs the money. Her parents were killed by the cappaill uisce so Puck and her brothers struggle to look after themselves. By entering the races Puck challenges some long-held views of the locals, not least of all because she's the first girl ever to enter. I really liked Puck. She manages to find a balance between confident and cocky, and I really rooted for her.

Like the author's other books, this switches narrator between Puck and Sean which is great as you get two very different perspectives on both the horses and the races. Sean has an incredible bond with his capall uisce Corr and he has already won the Scorpio Races four times. I liked Sean from the start, but grew fonder of him as you see him work with the horses. There is a big cast of characters here and I would have liked to get to know some of them better, although that may have detracted from Sean and Puck's story.

The ending is outstanding - it takes the tension and drama built throughout the book and brings it to culmination with the race. It is cleverly done and not entirely what I expected, but ends the book really well.

All in all this was an outstanding read and I thoroughly recommend it.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 49/50

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