The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Review

24 Feb

Maggie wowed us with Shiver, made us cry with Linger, and left us wanting more after her Wolves of Mercy Falls series ended with Forever. In answer to our prayers she came out with her first stand-alone this past year: The Scorpio Races.

And what is the Scorpio Races about you may ask?

Killer water horses.

If you are all slightly confused please just calm down, take a moment to process what I just said, and then calmly return to your computer… I’ll wait.

Back? Good.

Yes, as I was saying Maggie’s newest book is about killer water horses. In The Scorpio Races we are introduced to the island of Thisby (a geographically obscure and rather timeless little chunk of land somewhere near Ireland) where every November the Scorpio Races are held. A deadly competition that leaves men strewn on the beach their blood turning the tides red. The winner gains fortune, and fame. The losers, fall prey to the deadly horses they ride. But this year Puck (AKA Kate, our main character) is entering the races, the first girl ever to do so, and Sean Kendrick (three-time winner) isn’t at all pleased to see her on his beach.

Even going into such an unusual premise I wasn’t at all prepared for what The Scorpio Races dished out.

It was very different from what I had come to expect from Stiefvater, I went in thinking The Scorpio Races would have many of the same aspects as Shiver did. Mainly romance and a really strong suspenseful pull. But it wasn’t like Shiver at all.

The Scorpio Races starts out slower than expected. If Shiver was an atom bomb then The Scorpio Races was a line of gun powder leading up to a keg.

I also was surprised to find that The Scorpio Races main focus wasn’t romance. If you thought you’d be getting a Sam/ Grace replay then you will be sadly disappointed. Most of the story centers around preparation of the races and exploring what they mean, and Sean and Puck’s reasons for running in them, all surrounded by the dangerous carnage of the training grounds, and of course Stiefvater’s beautiful prose (something I doubt I will ever stop geeking out about)!

After finishing the book I found myself slightly dumbfounded wondering how it was that Shiver and The Scorpio Races had come out of the

same persons mind, because they were so utterly different, and as I said before that difference kind of set me off kilter. In the end I felt as though I needed to read the book again just to get a good grasp on it. Because, for me, The Scorpio Races was a lot deeper than Shiver. I remember thinking when I read it that it felt a lot more adult. Not in the plot or the wording, but in the feeling and mood. Something solemn, and serious, and intense.

Because it wasn’t really about Killer Water Horses, or Love, or racing, or Irish pastries. It was about finding out what you want, and what you need, and sometimes those things are the same. Sometimes they are not. Sometimes you don’t get them. Sometimes you do. And, sometimes when you get them it’s not in the way you expect.

And it took me a good two weeks of contemplating the novel to get the above sentences. So, my rating of the Scorpio Races?

4.5 stars out of 5

I really liked the book and recommend it to anyone who reads YA. Whether you were a Shiver fan or not (though I can’t image who those people would be).

The only reason it didn’t receive a perfect 5 stars was on the account of the romance, as I had expected a little more fire from Maggie in that department, but otherwise, I really enjoyed the novel and hope you all will add it to your reading lists.

If you’ve already read it, what were your reactions to the novel?

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4 Responses to “The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Review”

  1. Naomi February 24, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    Oh now I really want to read Maggie Stiefvater’s works, I’ve heard so much about her and I just want to read her books, must get round to that soon!
    This one sounds really interesting, the plot reminds me a bit of The Hunger Games (you know, one winner to the game, everyone else dies, and the winner gets fame, fortune and life) but in a good way.
    I’m particularly interested in this one because I actually spend a lot of time with horses, I’ve been riding for 9 years and spend a lot of time at the stables, helping out, riding or just spending time with the animals.
    Not to ramble too much, but they are really fascinating creatures – very intuitive, they pick up on what you’re feeling. It’s part of what makes riding them so exhilarating, just being so in touch with another living being and working as one, it takes mutual understanding.
    Anyway, enough of my rambles, I’m sure the book is more about the actual race and winning and Kate’s experience than riding horses, haha.
    This is a good review, I like how you write. It’s pleasant to read.
    “finding out what you want, and what you need, and sometimes those things are the same. Sometimes they are not. Sometimes you don’t get them. Sometimes you do. And, sometimes when you get them it’s not in the way you expect.”
    I like the sound of that (:
    Now please excuse me, I have to take a break from writing ridiculously long comments to go and order that book off amazon…

    • nkeda14 February 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

      Yes, Maggie is by far one of my favorite modern authors! Her writing style is beautiful. And, actually, the book really does have a lot about the rider/horse dynamic. I was surprised at how little the book really was about the race… I mean it was about the race, but then again it wasn’t? Well, it’s difficult to explain! If you read it I think you’ll see what I mean.

      I’m glad you liked the review, and no need to worry about long comments, I love to hear from you all! I hope you enjoy the book! I highly recommend Shiver too (it’s one of my favorite novels of all time)!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Book Review: The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater | Tree, Root, and Twig - April 22, 2012

    […] like cars and radio and the women’s suffrage movement, an exact date/time is never given. As another reviewer put it: The Scorpio Races takes place on “a geographically obscure and rather timeless little […]

  2. Book Review: The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater | My Website - December 8, 2013

    […] like cars and radio and the women’s suffrage movement, an exact date/time is never given. As another reviewer put it: The Scorpio Races takes place on “a geographically obscure and rather timeless little […]

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