Wonderfully Original, and Water Horses are So Cool!
I had never read anything Maggie Stiefvater before ‘The Scorpio Races,’ but now I feel like I’ve been missing out. Stiefvater’s way of writing pulled me straight into this novel; it is lyrical and rather haunted, in a way, and I loved it! This is a refreshing story with a unique plotline and subject matter; off the top of my head, I can’t think of another YA author who has tackled bloodthirsty, vicious water horses. Which is sad, because I want to read more about them!
Native islander Puck Connolly wants nothing to do with the Scorpio Races because of a tragedy in her past involving the capaill uisce, the sleek, brutal horses from the water that are caught and trained to run in the annual race along the beach. The island Puck lives on, Thisby, is small, and everyone who lives there basically knows everyone else and their business, even if they’re somewhat secretive, like the Connollys. Sean Kendrick is also a native islander, but he primarily lives for the race every year and the water horse that he loves, Corr.
Puck’s family situation becomes even more precarious when her older brother decides to abandon her and her younger for the mainland, and the Connolly home may be taken away by the richest man in town, who owns their house as well as Sean Kendrick’s Corr. In a last ditch attempt to keep her brother on the island, Puck enters the year’s Scorpio Race with her horse Dove, a shocker since girls and regular horses have never been in the races before. Puck and Sean begin a strange relationship as they end up training for the races together, both with much at stake and needing to win.
Sooo, I thought the characters in this book were awesome. Puck is feisty, independent, stubborn and fun; I loved how she has worries and troubles but she pushes through them. She doesn’t let convention stand in her way, even when it seems like everyone is against her. She’s just fantastic. And Sean! Seeeean! He’s just…dark and wonderful. He’s prickly and distant, aloof and cool, but not in an obnoxious way. He has his pride and his bravery, but he wants Corr as well, which is his driving force and motivation in this novel. His love for Corr is fathomless and genuine, and there’s such a connection between horse and boy. In his relationship with Pick, he doesn’t coddle her or even really show her much affection in the conventional way, but you can just feel the emotions under his skin.
The water horses were so scary and cool at the same time; I could see how riding one would be exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. You would be riding one of the fastest animals on earth, but, hey, it might toss you off and eat you or plunge into the ocean with you and give you a good drowning. They seem enticing yet horrible at the same time, but I have to say, if I was given a chance to ride Corr, I’d definitely be all for that.
The end was perfect; not exactly a happy ending but an extremely satisfying one that gave the readers and the characters hope. It fit with the tone of the book, which is dark and a little brooding but not truly angst-ridden.
Awesome book, very different from other faerie/magic type YA books! Go forth and read this book!