Book Review #7 – The Scorpio Races

I bet you thought I’d given up the book review half of the blog, didn’t you? Well, I didn’t. I was just having some issues finding anything worth reviewing. My reading supply has been somewhat limited of late, as most of my favorite authors are still in the writing half of the process and apparently the only novels out are the ones by the authors so bad they can actually manage twelve books a year. But I did manage to find a couple of new authors (and was exceptionally glad I did) so be prepared for an onslaught of book reviews.

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.

-Amazon Synopsis

This book was an interesting concept. Honestly, I’ve never read anything quite like it, and I’m not entirely sure how to classify it. The carnivorous creatures washing up onshore would indicate a fantasy, but the apparently British Isle of Thisby leans more toward sci-fi or realistic sci-fi. There’s also the element of romance to think about, but that’s a smaller piece of the story.

Anyways, whatever it was, I liked it.

Stiefvater is an exceptional writer. The setting and world-building was beautiful and the voice and tone were absolutely perfect for the story. She also did an excellent job of juggling the two parallel storylines (that eventually converged), which can sometimes be a major problem for authors who don’t know how to do it properly.

The characters were all fully-formed, well-developed, and quite well done. Both Puck and Sean were likeable and very relatable, as both had believable pasts and problems. Benjamin and Mutt Malvern were both good villains, if a bit stereotypical. Though the thing is, stereotypes can actually be viable characters on occasion. If it’s a well-drawn stereotype and it’s a semi-minor character, it works just fine. And it did here. Gabe Connolly was probably the only character that I really didn’t like. I do understand why he thought he had to leave Thisby. I really do. Losing your parents is hard, emotional trauma, yada-yada-yada. But still…Grow up, dude. If your younger siblings can take it, so can you, particularly since they depend on you! *sigh* Now that I’m done lecturing fictional characters on their moral failings, we can move on. Finn Connolly was my second-favorite character because he was so blissfully quirky, and therefore, adorable. And now for my favorite character…

The water horses. While not a single character, they were definitely my favorite part of the book. When I was little, I was a confirmed horse-nut and I still sort of favor them, so finding a good sci-fi/fantasy that incorporated them so wonderfully in a way other than “magical white stallion” was great. The capaill uisce were fantastic monsters. Probably some of the best fictional beasties I’ve ever read. Stiefvater used ancient mythology concerning water horses, which in turn utilizes the fabulous turn-something-ordinary-into-something-terrifying technique. And that makes for the perfect beastie. After reading the scene in which Corr slices a man’s throat with his teeth, I’m going to be very, very careful around my cousins’ horses.

Yet, at the same time, she makes them beautiful, majestic creatures of the sea. Most of the scenes from Sean’s POV describes their more positive side. Their speed. Their strength. The type of things you notice and admire about land horses. But she still never lets you forget just how deadly they can be. There are several random maulings of small animals, sheep, land horses, and non-essential characters just to remind you that, hey, these things are dangerous.

For some reason, the ending felt a little too short to me. There were things that didn’t get resolved the way they should have been and another couple of chapters to tie up the loose ends would have been nice. Also, there was some language that I didn’t agree with. If you’ve read my post on writing pet peeves, you’ll know how I feel about authors who use cuss words as an excuse not to write dialogue. Still, all in all, it was a great book. Definitely worth your time.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Book Review #7 – The Scorpio Races

  1. Awesome; the horses were my favorite part too!

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