The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Rating: 4.5 Stars
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
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 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.
As a horse lover, this book was simply perfect. The way that Maggie Stiefvater describes these beautiful, majestic water horses made me feel as if I was at the racetrack, admiring the beautiful Thoroughbreds. But these aren’t Thoroughbreds. These horses are wild, dangerous, flesh-eating monsters. Yep, you read that right. And every year, people that live on the island of Thisby catch these monsters, attempt to train them and race.
One of our main characters is Sean, a young man who works for one the richest men on the island. The man who owns the largest stable and breeds and trains sport horses as well as the occasional capaill uisce, or water horse. Sean is the head trainer at his stable and this guy knows horses. I love how he treats every horse with respect. He doesn’t beat them into submission. He whispers to them, calms them. He shows them that he is in charge, but also that their relationship is one of mutual respect. Sean is amazing.
And then there is Puck, or Kate. A girl who wants to save her parents’ house and in order to do that, she must race. But she doesn’t have a capaill uisce. She only has Dove, a normal grain/hay-eating mare. But both Puck and Dove have something in common. They have heart. They have strength. And they have courage. Not only is Puck going into this race with a normal horse, she’s also going in as the first female to ever ride in the races. And people around the island aren’t too excited about it.
Both Sean and Puck have to decide throughout the course of the book what they really want. What is it they are trying to accomplish in the races? What they originally think they want turns out to be something completely different and I loved watching them both come to these conclusions and fight for what they truly want and deserve.
There is a little bit of romance in this book, but not a lot. I wasn’t crazy about it, but I didn’t dislike it either. I liked that it wasn’t a focus and it took a backseat to the relationship between Puck and her brothers and Sean and his horse, Corr.
Speaking of, Sean and Corr. This is the piece of the story that stole my heart, broke my heart, put my heart back together and then cracked it all over again. Once again, as a horse person, I understood this relationship. A horse is different than a normal pet. It’s different than having a dog or a cat. The relationship between horse and rider is complex. It involves trust and respect. And the relationship between Sean and Corr was perfection. Corr is a monster. But Sean loves him, he respects him and he shows him that through his care, his training and the whispers in his ear. And in return, Corr does the unthinkable. He respects Sean and I believe he even trusts Sean. I’m going to cry again thinking about their bond.
This book was amazing. Between the horses, the relationship between riders and their horses, the relationship between Puck and her brothers and the relationship between Sean and Puck, I fell in love. With every single aspect, every single relationship. The end broke me and put me back together. What a rich and imaginative story.
Have you read this book? What did you think of Puck and Sean’s relationship? Did Sean and Corr’s relationship bring you to tears as well?