Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Released: October 18th 2011
Summary: 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 chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen. - From Goodreads.
I've never really liked 'Horse' stories (or any kind of animal stories for that matter). Maybe it was left over resentment towards my parents who never bought me a pony even though for the first 7 years of my life it was all I dreamed of (it was going to be a lovely caramel coloured pony with a white silky-soft mane and would be called Buttercup). Maybe it had something to do with being forced to watch one too many episodes of The Saddle Club, or in my later years Mcleod's Daughters (for any non-Australian's reading McLeod's Daughters was an Australian TV drama series which contained a lot of horse riding). Or maybe it was because I never read a story where the horses where not only otherworldly, but deadly flesh eating killer sea horses.
Now I know that sentence sounds a tad bit strange. Flesh eating killer sea horses, you say? How preposterous. But really this story is so much more than just sea horses. Stiefvater brings to life the fictional island of Thisby with rich and beautifully intricate descriptions of this island town. Thisby really was a character unto itself and even now I can picture so vividly the house where Kate "Puck" Connoly and her two brothers live, and the beach were the deadly and mystical water horses emerge from.
I was not only pulled into this story by the atmospheric setting but by the cast of characters who were the heart and soul of this story. It was not only the strong main characters, Puck and Sean, but the secondary characters who are wonderfully illustrated by Stiefvater, such as George Holly - the American tourist, the three sisters who own the shop selling trinkets, Tommy Halk with the pretty lips, and Peg, the butcher's wife, who could cut your heart out neat.
The Scorpio Races is a compelling novel that is slightly dark, a tad gory in parts (the horses, they eat flesh mmmkay?), a smidge romantic in less parts, and a lot about the characters and their relationships with each other.
Recommended for horse lovers and horse haters.
Final Note: Maggie Stiefvater has posted the recipe for November Cakes (a delicious treat that is featured in the book). I will most definitely be trying out this recipe and will be sure to post my results. Yummo!
This book was read for The Eclectic Reader Challenge in the YA category.