Saturday 25 February 2012

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio RacesThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

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.

The thing I love about any of Maggie Stiefvater's books is that the writing is so beautiful. Scorpio Races definitely has a lyrical quality to it, that takes you away to another land. She has cleverly managed to create a world that feels both modern and real, but also ancient, otherworldly and mystical. Thisby is a little island set apart from the rest of the world, with it's own old-fashioned customs, festivals, and traditions. Although it's fictional and never properly elaborated on, from what was described of it, it felt like it was based on the remote Hebredian islands to the very far north of Scotland. It is such a small, closed off place that everyone knows everybody's secrets, and the oddball characters are just a part of life on the island.

So is the ever-present danger of the water horses. They are meat-eating predators that come up out of the ocean. These mystical horses are both beautiful and terrifying, and have taken the lives of many people on the island, including Puck (aka Kate)'s parents. I loved the way that these horses were presented as just a part of the island, and how the people living there have just grown used to being on alert for them at all times. Sean especially loves these horses and respects and understands them. He seems to have an instinctual understanding of how they think and move, and is the only one who can even try to control them.

Every year on Thisby the traditional Scorpio Races takes place on the beach- an extremely dangerous sport but also the highlight of the year on Thisby. Puck decides to enter the Scorpio Races on the spur of the moment to try to stop her older brother from walking out on her and little brother Finn, and because if she wins they won't be evicted from the house. But Sean also needs to win, because if he does his boss will let him buy his beloved horse off him.

Sean and Puck should be rivals, but instead, find a common bond. They are both outsiders, both have a grudge against Ben Malvern, and as they train together, they grow to be good friends, unexpectedly bringing out the best in each other. They both have problems with money or family, and are so very relatable as people that I connected with both of them, and loved how they grew in the book. Puck is a great heroine- feisty and very brave, and I although Sean is perceived by the other islanders as distant and mysterious because he avoids company and doesn't speak out- reading his story from his point of view shows that there is so much more going on with him as well.

This is a very sweet and magical story, and I really liked the dual narrative of both Puck and Sean. I loved how their relationship built up gradually, but honestly, I would have liked to see a lot more between them. The final race scene however, is very exciting and highly emotional- so tense and dangerous.

Rich in imagery and emotionally charged, this is a wonderful story that caught my imagination and made me believe in the tale being told. I swear I could almost feel the sea spray on my face! A lovely book, and breath of fresh sea air!

Alternate Cover:
US Cover

Buy from:

Free Audiobook Download from


  1. I like your review about this book. I never read it but it sounds very interesting to read.


  2. I completely agree about Maggie's writing - it's stunning.

  3. Maggie is one of my all time fave writers. She's amazing! And I loved Scorpio Races. I thought it was a beautiful book, and it will stick in my head for a really long time. Nice review!

  4. This book was absolutely phenomenal and I recommend it to anyone and everyone.
    Highly recommended Dentist In Longview


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Elvendorf Valley and Make Believe kits by Irene Alexeeva