Book Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Scorpio Races

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Page Count: 416

Publish Date: October 18, 2011

Publisher: Scholastic Press

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

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. As she did in her bestselling Shiver trilogy, author Maggie Stiefvater takes us to the breaking point, where both love and life meet their greatest obstacles, and only the strong of heart can survive. The Scorpio Races is an unforgettable reading experience.

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My Review:

The Scorpio Races is far from your average horse book. For those thinking that it may be something akin to reading Walter Farley or Marguerite Henry, they will be surprised to find out how different this book truly is. While it will appeal to those who love horse-related stories this book is also good for those who enjoy Young Adult novels or those types of books that are far from anything you’ve ever read.

Originally I started reading this book on my Kindle. While I found it to start off just a bit slow after the initial introduction of Sean and his past with the races and loss of his father I liked what it was building up to. A lot happened before the actual races and that’s where the first half or so of the books, slow as it was, really shines. It sets up this small island whose major source of income and activity comes from the Scorpio Races. This is where the reason behind Puck entering the races comes to be and shows both main characters in great detail as they not only prepare for the races but also continue their daily lives as best they can.

Around the halfway mark I switched the the audio book version. The reason being is that I’m not a fan of books written in the first person and this book is written from both Puck’s and Sean’s perspective, switching whose perspective it is every chapter or so but also within a chapter. This was really what slowed down my reading.

The audiobook was fantastic. I started it from the beginning wanting to refresh myself on what had happened so far and so that I could listen to the full narration. The two narrators, Steve West and Fiona Hardingham, did an amazing job of bringing this story to life. I thought that Fiona Hardingham was the perfect voice for Puck. When reading the book that is what I imagined her sounding like. One thing that slightly lacked in her portions of the book was a good distinction between character voices. When Fiona spoke you could really feel the emotions that Puck was feeling at that time and it truly added to the story.

As far as Steve West performing Sean’s parts of the book I thought his voice didn’t quite match what I had in mind for Sean, he sounded a bit too old, more like he was thirty instead of a nineteen-year-old. However, Steve did a fantastic job of giving all the other characters in the story their own distinct voices. One thing I loved about Sean’s character was how much he cared not only for Corr but the other water horses and the regular ones on Malvern’s farm.

My hands down favorite parts of the books were the race itself and the ending. I won’t go into details of these parts since I don’t want to spoil them for anyone who hasn’t read the book yet. But I will say for those who are going to read it in the future that even if you do find the beginning to be slow see this book to the end because it is truly worth it. Another advantage of the audiobook version is that I learned the proper pronunciation of capaill uisce and let me tell you I was way off from what I thought it would sound like when I had been reading this on my Kindle.

I do have one small complaint about the audiobook version. Right at the end, during the last two minutes of the book, there’s music that plays in the background. Now it’s purely instrumental and not overly loud but I found it did distract from the ending and was just loud enough to force me to listen to that portion twice in order to hear everything properly. I realize it was for dramatic effect but I certainly could have done without it, the ending was amazing enough to not need that music.

I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. You don’t need to be a horse lover to appreciate this book. The story, the characters, and the writing all blend together to create a fantastic read. I would love to see another book about the Scorpio Races in the future, the ending had me craving for more.

On a small side note, I would love to see this book turned into a movie even if it means a lot of CG for the capaill uisce parts. This is a book that would just translate well onto the big screen.

Have you read The Scorpio Races?

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