The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater {Book Review}

If you’ve been following my blog you might know that stand alone are a struggle for me to find, but have created a sort of quest as well (kind of like a holy grail). When it comes to the types of books I read, there generally are a lot more series than there are novels, and it’s pretty understandable. I get it, it’s hard to setup a Fantasy world in a short span of time and also give up a great and complete story. So with that said, what did I think of the Scorpio Races? Let’s find out!

Synopsis:

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater follows two characters, Sean Kendrick and Puck Connolly as November and the famous Scorpio race approach. Sean has been the champion for years now with his capaill uisce, Corr, but the latest race will bring new and startling changes, the least of which include the first girl to enter. Puck hadn’t planned on entering until she was faced with it being the only potential solution to all her problems. The only question will be who will win.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I went into this novel knowing I wasn’t the biggest fan of Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle Series (please don’t hate me!), but having liked a lesser known of her novels, Lament. So, it was a good 50/50 scenario no matter how I looked at it. Already on the plus side was the focus on the horses, which is one of my favorite animals, and a childhood obsession. I like a well done horse story, but this book brings us something different in both the land based and sea, otherwise known as the capaill uisce. The capaill uisce are perhaps the most beautifully and terrifyingly described animals I’ve read about in any Young Adult book. Stiefvater did a great job showing us why everyone is as fascinated as they are scared of them. It felt like the unpredictable nature of horses magnified and mixed with a t-rex kind of hunger. Definitely sent chills up my spine when the characters went near one of these creatures, which I guess is the appropriate feeling and response. The description of these animals weaves itself into the setting of the island as it is impacted more and more by the capaill uisce’s growing presence thanks to the race. While the place isn’t described as being the most hospitable, it definitely changes as these creatures show up.

Beyond the great description and well written tension of the story are the characters; from the main to secondary characters each presents their own unique story. Puck and Sean make the dual point of views a breeze instead of me favoring one over the other. Both have plenty to offer in their storylines and character growth, leaving no dull moments to speak of. This really impressed me since so many books with multiple POVs have at least one character that I just can’t connect with or stand, sometimes bringing me to boredom even if the story was actually good. It’s why this remains one of my pet peeves in stories, but in this novel it made the story that much more of a standout. On top of that, the horses featured feel like characters in their own right as well, instead of animals the characters ride around on, which was a great change.

The last great thing Stiefvater achieved in this book is the balance of quiet or “normal” moments, with the tense and action packed ones. We all like those constantly moving storylines, but with this book it wouldn’t have been a great fit. Instead, we are given the average day lifestyle of these characters, both main and secondary, even while all the drama of the races is there. There weren’t any lulls in this book, each of the characters pulling us into their lives, as well as the drama, tension and action making me hold my breath. I was shocked at how fast, easy, and exhilarating this read was. This was definitely my favorite of her books, and I would fully recommend to any fan of fantasy, adventure, or horse stories!

Have you read this book yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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