““It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.””
Best first line ever, am I right? Friends, I have been putting off reviewing The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater for OVER a year. I mean, how in the heck do I formulate words to convince you to read what is my favorite of Stiefvater’s books. I kind of feel like I should just let the writing of the book speak for itself, but that would be lazy and you guys I am so totally not lazy. Here is how I will convince you, this review goes live in October, which means maybe you have your reading set for this month, but you might not have your November reads picked out. Do yourself a favor, pick up a hot beverage and this gorgeous book, it is the quintessential November read. I shit you not. I absolutely cannot think of a better book to read in November for young adult fans than The Scorpio Races.
Every November, the Scorpio Races are held on the island of Thisby. These are not your average horse races. You see, these water horses emerge and they are incredibly angry and dangerous and trust you don’t want to be caught alone with one. Each rider in the race must obtain their own water horse and make it to the finish line or die. Sean Kendrick is nineteen. He’s pensive and quiet and you guys are going to swoon all over him. He’s the current champion of the Scorpio Races. Unfortunately, he does not have a stable of his own, and his boss’s son is a total douche, but we will get to that. This year, Sean has got competition in the form of Kate ‘Puck’ Connelly, the first girl to ever enter the races. The odds are against Puck. No one thinks she can do it, but she needs the money to win and save her family home. Oh you guys, there are so many stakes in The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater and I was just so on edge and had that racing heart the entire time. This book is just really great, so great in fact that it turns me into a chattering mess of ALL THE EMOTIONS.
If you like a headstrong girl, you are going to love the pants off Puck Connolly. She’s so, ugh, what’s the word. She is that sort of girl who will not take no for answer. She won’t let anyone tell her that she can’t. She is so devoted to her family and staying in the home their dead parents left them. She is a hell of a horse rider, er, equestrian. Right, so Puck tries to keep her brother who is leaving for the mainland in the best way that she knows how, by entering a life threatening race. I just love it. And you guys, I love Puck. She’s probably one of my favorite female characters of 2012, even though I am just writing about this love right now. Seriously, she’s the type of character who immediately comes to mind when I think about strong female characters.
Sean Kendrick is the other main character of The Scorpio Races and you guys it’s total creep of me, but if I could just reach in and scoop up this nineteen year old mmmmmmm. So, basically if you are into books that are a story of a boy and his horse YOU WILL LOVE THE SCORPIO RACES. Look at these flailing caps, they do not lie. You guys I cried. I CRIED OVER A HORSE, a murderous capaill uisce. I DID. Sean Kendrick has one named Corr and he gets so attached to Corr and omg. WAHHH. I can’t go on. Anyways. The love Sean has for his horse just pulsates through the book and not in a gross way or anything. But yeah, he basically is also poor like Puck, but he’s worked his way up at Mulvern stables, and the one Mulvern son has a bone to pick with Sean because he is like jealous or something of Sean, and the whole time I was like #thisbitch over Mutt Mulvern. Man, you guys, I really do get all jumbled when talking about my new/old literary crush.
I WANT TO GO TO THISBY. I know it doesn’t exist. I know that capaill uisce do not exist. But you guys, I want to eat a November roll. I want to see these scary races. I want to go to this one shop of things ordered from catalogs from the mainland. Sigh. Stiefvater does a superb job painting a picture of Thisby with her words. She just gets this desolate sort of feel of the island just right, but also the feel of a people who are hardy, who are strong, who persevere.
Now, this is where I say that if you read books because you like words and beauty and how words flow together to create that tangible image in your mind that you need to read The Scorpio Races. If you are the sort who reads strictly books that are quick and fast so you can put notches on your book-post, then you won’t like The Scorpio Races. It’s not the kind of book you should race through by any means at all, but the sort that you sit and savor and let sink into your mind. It’s the type you ruminate on. It’s the sort of book where you become attached to the characters and begin to think of them as real people. It’s the type where you think of Thisby as a real place. This is definitely one of my favorite young adult books ever and one that I hope you will be willing to give a shot, even if maybe it drags just a little. Be patient. Remember that not all books are a sprint, some are a marathon and worth that little high that you get at the end.
Disclosure: Review Copy Obtained At BEA 2011
Other reviews of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater:
Respiring Thoughts – “Stiefvater is a strong, masterful writer”
The Book Smugglers – “This is truly a beautiful book, the type that remains long after the pages are closed”
The Flyleaf Review – “I closed this book with a big, fat, smile on my face”