Thursday, December 8, 2011

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Title:  The Scorpio Races
Author:  Maggie Stiefvater
Pages:  404
Genre:  Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher:  Scholastic Press
Summary:  Some race to win. Others race to survive. 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 choice. So she enters the competition--the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

The Dish:  Wow.  I'm not quite sure how to begin my review of The Scorpio Races except to say that it was not what I had expected.  Judging from the summary as well as the amazing book trailer, I had a completely different story in my mind when I first heard about Maggie Stiefvater's "secret novel."  But as with Shiver, Stiefvater did not disappoint with this story, and I am supremely glad I finally read it.

First off, Stiefvater pulls off multiple points of view quite successfully, and with characters like Puck and Sean, it's easy to see how she was able to do it.  Both main characters made great transitions within the story, opening up much more than either of them had before.  Puck was always used to it being just her family without really reaching out to "outsiders."  It was great to see her come out of her shell even if it meant participating in the most dangerous of races.  I was quite taken with Sean Kendrick, the mysterious boy who has a way with the capaill uisce, the powerful and deadly water horses.  To read about his relationship with Corr, the red capall uisce stallion captured first by his father and then again by Sean, was nothing short of remarkable and a little reminiscent of The Black Stallion, at least to me.

Secondly, the pacing of the book was incredible, and while I didn't feel rushed, I did feel the need to keep turning the pages to read what was going to happen next.  It definitely had something to do with the short chapters, and I've seen this means of "pushing the reader to read" in other books.  This is a technique that Stiefvater has mastered in how she was able to completely immerse me in the story without feeling bogged by so much information being thrown at me.  I was able to breathe even when it felt as though my stomach was turning in knots at both Puck and Sean's situations right to the very end.  Stiefvater's storytelling is nothing short of incredible.

Overall, this was an amazing story about a dangerous and thrilling race that lasted all of several chapters.  With magnificent plot build-up, believable and gradual character development, along with beautiful storytelling, this is one story you do not want to miss out on reading.


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