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.
After reading Maggie Stievfater's The Raven Boys last year (and loving it! Yeah, click that link for the review...no back a little, right there, yep, read after this one, thank you kindly :) ) I had to look into her other books. Not gonna lie, one of my best friend's is in love with her Shiver series but, to be honest, I have very little interest in reading about werewolves or vampires. I have made a few exceptions but overall I will not pick up a book that deals with either of these two paranormal entities. BUT, her other book The Scorpio Races was rec'd to me by Asheley at Into the Hall of Books and Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner. Asheley loved the book and Jamie always talks about how kickass the main character is on her blog. Anytime I hear that a female characters is kicking asses and taking names, the book moves up a few pegs on the TBR list. So for both those reasons I decided to give this one a try.
Glad I did. The writing of Steifvater is really quite unreal. She has a way of describing a story in such a way that when you pause in reading and look up from the book, you expect to see the book's location surrounding you. For real. Thinking back on my experience while reading I can feel myself in the setting surrounded by the ocean and horses. Her writing is skillful to say the least.
The story itself is really unique and based off similar legends of water horses with a taste for flesh. When she first started describing the capall uisce (prounounced CAPpal ISHka per the back of the book) I kind did a head scratch. Wait, what? They come out of the ocean...they eat other animals...um, okay. But I quickly adjusted to the paranormal element and fell in love with Corr, one of the main character's capall uisce. It is a blood red horse with an untrustworthy nature by rule of his species. But the description of this horse is just breathtaking and I loved conjuring up this image in my head. I also loved that the whole story revolved around this one intense and deadly horse race. It was very reminiscent of the Palio that takes place in Siena, Italy twice a year and the multiple books I've read about that race. The danger, the death, the deadly intrigue. This setting was awesome.
Puck. Puck is such a badass momma. She does not take crap from anyone. She says what she is thinking, good or bad, and is a complete straight shooter. I cannot NOT get behind a character like this. She is willing to sacrifice, quite possibly, her life in order to provide for her family in a game that is dominated by men. They do not want her there. See my chosen quote at the top. The second I read this in the book I knew it would be my header quote. No contemplation needed. Sean, our other main character, was a very unique guy. Quiet, strong, passionate about his love of horses. After that though he fell a little flat for me. I wanted to like him a lot more as a character but he didn't really do it for me. I loved his strength of character but without the internal monologue that the reader is provided I would find it very hard to warm him.
The pacing of the book is a little slow and told in a very leisurely sort of way. It is almost like the ebb and flow of the ocean. Up and down in regards to exciting parts of the story. Some parts move quickly, some very slowly. It took just a little effort to stay in sync with wanting to read it.
With that said, the themes of this book are incomparable. Sacrifice, loyalty, family values and love are just the main few. The relationship between Sean and Corr was probably my favorite. He was so tender with him and the horse that should be beyond a wild animal actually listens to him and him alone. It is just ador. The dynamic between Puck and her brothers was also quite heart-warming. The quirks that she points out about her brothers and herself and their reactions to each other is just perfect. If you have siblings and read this book, you'll know exactly the same type of feeling when she talks about her brothers. They live and die for each other's well-being and is a theme that I can relate well to.
Overall I liked the book. Slow while reading but thinking back on it, the description and feel of the story is great. And Puck's characterization is a shining sun in the rain-soaked world of Thisby. I'd recommend for Stiefvater fans and lovers of a fantastic setting with beautiful descrptions.