Book Review: The Scorpio Races

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Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Published: Scholastic, 2011
Pages: 482
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
Read more about it on Add it on Goodreads
4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Scorpio Races follows the lives of Kate ‘Puck’ Connolly, Sean Kendrick and the people of Thisby. Each October to November water horses – the cappaill uisce – return to Thisby and this time every year the Scorpio Races take place, where not everyone will come out alive. This year something unprecedented happens: Puck enters the race, the first girl to ever take part. Both Puck and Sean are fighting to hold on to what is dear to them, but in the process find something they didn’t expect: each other.

This masterpiece has rendered me speechless, unable to formulate sentences as to why I love this book – I’ll try to formulate those words that elude me. Where do I begin… The first book I read by Maggie Stiefvater was The Raven Boys and I came to adore this series; The Scorpio Races  is the ‘second’ book I’ve now read by this author and I can’t help notice how she infuses magic into every day life.

In the beginning I was unsure of how much I liked this book; was I loving it? How much did I like it? It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying it, it’s just that I couldn’t quite make my mind up, but then…something happened: like magic, it took hold of me. I couldn’t even tell you when this started to happen; at some point, I became hooked and couldn’t stop reading. It called to me like the ocean calls to the cappaill uisce. It very subtly reels you in, takes hold and doesn’t let go.

Two things which I love are present in TSR: horses and magic. The tale of water horses is fascinating and the interwoven magic surrounding them and the town is interesting to read about. What I truly loved though are the relationships. The sweet but difficult relationships between siblings, the love between horse and man and the slow developing friendship/romance. This book at times broke my heart when it looked like Corr and Sean’s time together was threatened. Their bond was beautiful and moving and a joy to read.

THIS IS HOW A ROMANCE SHOULD BE DONE! I couldn’t help but love Puck and Sean. The book is slow and their relationship is slow developing, but this is what makes it so wonderful. It’s real and raw and isn’t the sole focus of the book. The book is a love letter, encompassing many kinds of love and I love that the romance isn’t the sole focus. I’m bursting with love for this book but have no idea how to articulate it…and that, I think, is actually how you know it’s a special kind of book.

“‘This island runs on courage, not blood,’ he says.”

“The tourists always seem to want something. On Thisby, it’s less about wanting, and more about being.”

“None of them made me who I am.”

“But mostly I think about the way he looks at me – with respect – and I think that’s probably worth more than anything.”

“I’m quite happy for the smile, because Dad told me once you should be grateful for the gifts that are the rarest.”

“‘I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.’
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, ‘It’s late for that, Puck.'”

Who else is bursting with love for this book? Who would be brave enough to go near one of the cappaill uisce

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14 thoughts on “Book Review: The Scorpio Races

  1. *raises hand* This is the first Maggie Stiefvater book I read, and I fell in love. I read tons of horse books when I was young, so it was great to see one for older readers. I also thought the romance was perfect, just as you said. It never felt rushed or forced, and neither character eclipsed the other. My shippy heart is happy. And of course Puck’s relationships with her brothers were so well done, even if they were hard to read at some points.

    As much as I love horses, I probably wouldn’t go near a cappaill uisce in real life. Maybe in a fantasy world, haha.

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    1. Have you read the ‘Shiver’ trilogy? I think that’s what it is called? I’ll admit I’m hesitant, mainly because Asti hates it, lol. I know, such a perfectly written romance – I miss these characters. What did you find difficult to read about Pucks’ relationship with her brothers, if you don’t mind me asking?

      I have to say, I think part of me would be drawn towards them; I’d be cautious but so curious 😀

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      1. Yes, that too! And that always seems to happen in unbalanced relationships. For obvious reasons, I guess. Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone?

        I’m glad you agree about The Raven Boys. No one is in love with a paranormal creature, which is the point of the paranormal romance genre.

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    2. I tried to listen to the first one on audio, but it was terrible. I didn’t make it far before DNF’ing. Okay, I shouldn’t say it was terrible. I don’t like paranormal romance, so it was never going to work out between us. I LOVE Asti’s post about it, though.

      I adored the relationship between Puck and Finn, but Gabe made me both mad and sad. I understand where he was coming from, but I did feel as if he were abandoning his younger siblings.

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      1. Ah, so maybe I should avoid that series… The What Would Asti Do? post? Yeah, that was hilarious! What is it you hate about paranormal relationships so much?

        Yeah, I found Gabe a little harsh at times, but I could also see where he was coming from – his need to escape.

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      2. Yep, that’s the one! It was great.

        When I say paranormal romance, I’m thinking Twilight or ACOTAR. A weak, mortal girl paired up with a waaaay older, powerful immortal man, who for some reason wants to date a teenage girl. I find these relationships both hard to believe and often inappropriate. I don’t like uneven power dynamics in a couple, because I don’t think it makes for a healthy relationship. I’m also just not interested in reading about vampires, werewolves, zombies, fae, angels, etc. There ARE some exceptions (Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of my favorite series, and some people consider The Raven Boys paranormal romance, although I prefer not to), but for the most part I try to avoid them.

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      3. Oh, okay. I get that. I don’t mind paranormal relationships as long as the human character is feisty and strong in their own way. I don’t like it when a character becomes obsessed with their love interest – this is what bothered me about the New Moon movie when Bella fell apart after Edward left, I mean he didn’t die, he just left Forks which was horrible but she had people who were hurting to see her in that perpetual miserable state.

        You wouldn’t want to know a werewolf, faery etc. then? I do not consider The Raven Boys a paranormal romance; yes, the series involves the paranormal and a romance but I can’t really combine the two. I don’t know… I don’t think it’s an apt description.

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  2. My first Stiefvater book was THE RAVEN BOYS earlier this year, and then I read THE DREAM THIEVES and BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE directly after, and those books became some of my absolute favourites.

    I just borrowed THE SCORPIO RACES from the library a few days ago, and it looks like I will ave to read it ASAP.

    I love how Stiefvater weaves magic and realistic elements into the same novel. I absolutely adore how she writes the relationships in The Raven Cycle, and it looks like that aspect is in this book, too (which makes me VERY KEEN).

    I think her books are so special and magical, and I cannot wait to read this one! Thanks for the lovely review ^.^

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    1. Oh, I love the ‘Raven Cycle’! Yes, read it Chiara! Have you started yet? Lol.

      Yes, her books are so magical and they just draw you in and I can’t wait for TRK! I miss the gang!

      Aww, thanks so much Chiara! 🙂

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  3. THIS BOOK IS MY EVERYTHING OMG. I NEED A MOMENT TO FLAIL IN REMEMBERANCE. I need to reread it too, because it’s been like 3 years since I read it and I’ve forgotten all of the glorious magicalness. It was my first Stiefvater book!! Although, I’m such a squid, but I didn’t realise it was multiple narrators (idek?! I don’t read the chapter headings?!) so I got SO confused for the first 2 chapters. HAHA. But then after that it was the most beautiful thing of my life. 😀

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