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.
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.
For most young girls, horse stories were often on the top of their reading list. However, as they grew up horse stories were relegated to the back of the bookcase, as most of them are written more for middle grade than for Young Adult. Nevertheless, Maria Stiefvater didn’t let that stop her. The young girls who grew up loving horse stories will be thrilled to read The Scorpio Races, a Young Adult take on the treasured horse story, with a paranormal twist.
There is nothing predictable about The Scorpio Races. From page one it becomes clear that these are not normal horses, it’s not a normal horse race, and this isn’t a reiteration of Misty of Chincoteague. Stiefvater’s world is wrought with danger and passion. Told from alternating perspectives, a technique similar to Shiver, we are simultaneously rooting for both Sean Kendrick and Puck Connolly, an impossibility in a race where there can only be one winner.
The horses themselves are interesting as well. The island horses are based off of the water horses that fans of Faerie will be familiar with. Dangerous and beautiful, they would just as soon eat a man as allow him to ride on their back. Yet they are fast, and thus everyone races them. Everyone except Puck, who is determined to race and win on her own pony.
This may be Stiefvater’s greatest book yet, and I’m saying that as a devout fan of the Shiver trilogy. The writing is engaging, fast paced, and yet still possesses Stiefvater’s lyrical quality that has become her signature.The characterization is also, as usual, remarkable. Creating characters that feel like people is one of Stiefvater’s strong points and she doesn’t let us down here. Steifvater herself admits that this book may be her best and favorite, and it truly shows in the writing.
Stiefvater’s next book is titled The Raven Boys, and was published this September. Stiefvater has proven that she has many great ideas still to come, and that her writing is only improving with time.