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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races

by Maggie Stiefvater

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1,6641814,321 (4.21)144

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It's no surprise to me that this book has garnered a number of honors, including a Printz Honor Award and being part of the YALSA contingent. It's solidly written fantasy with just the right amount of real life thrown in to be appealing to those who may be thrown off by the idea of horses from the sea that ride up onto the beach and eat you.

That's a terrible description. At heart, this is probably a love story. Between a boy and a girl, but much more importantly, between horses and people. Including those horses that want to eat you. It's about loyalty as much as it is about love. It's about caring for something other than yourself, and in that, it's also about the place you live and the neighbors you have and the family that you have around you.

What I loved the most about this book was its ability to place me inside of a young girl's head, showing me what she felt about a variety of different things. This made it possible for me to learn/know/assume what she'd be thinking about any particular thing, thus avoiding the need for this kind of description and allowing the story to progress. It's really quite a perfect example of story progression. ( )
  khage | Sep 29, 2015 |
@scorpio_races +book_club ( )
  Lorem | Sep 24, 2015 |
Originally seen on Emily Reads Everything

On the island of Thisby, the water horses come every November. Only the bravest or the most foolhardy attempt to capture the Capaill Usice. Its dangerous work and its all for nothing if they can't enter the races. On Thisby, people live for November and the Scorpio Races or they die trying.

Puck Connolly never wanted to ride in the races. All she has ever wanted is to live on Thisby and for everything to stay the same. Them her brother Gabe shocks her by saying he's leaving for the mainland. Everything is changing so quickly. She never wanted to race but now she has no other choice.

Sean Kendrick has won the Scorpio Races four times. While other people race for the money or for the prestige, he has reasons of his own. Sean might race every year and win but he wishes that he didn't have to. There's one thing on Earth that Sean longs for and its the one thing he can't have.


Everyone loves this book and can't say enough good things about it. Since I started blogging, I've heard it recommended more often than any other book. Since I hadn't read it yet, I was very excited when I found it at the library. People are scrambling to collect Maggie Stiefvater's ARCs on #booktrade like they are made of gold. As much as everyone loves her novels, they just may be. So I started reading this book with huge expectations.

I don't want to say that I didn't like this book, because that would be a huge lie. I enjoyed it immensely. I even recommended it to a friend when I was done reading it. However, I also don't want to go out and tell the world how much I loved it. I don't think that I loved it with the intense devotion that other readers have. I thought it was fine but when fine is up against the high praise this book has received, it falls a little short. That's the problem with reading a book that everyone loves, it never quite lives up to the hype.

My favorite thing about this book was the Capaill Uisce, or water horses. First of all, how can you not love that word. I looked it up so I would be pronouncing it right in my head and found several ways. The way most agree on is copPLE ISHka. Every little girl loves horses or at least I did. So I found the idea that these water horses are deadly killers very compelling. I also loved the subtle mythology surrounding the Capaill Uisce. The author never explicitly explains but the water horses are affected by iron, circles, and possibly turning counter clockwise. Only Sean Kendrick knows for sure.

One thing I will say about this book is that it has really stuck with me. Since reading it I have done a lot of research online about the Capaill Uisce. I've read all sorts of mythology and legends and I've learned a lot that I didn't know before. So even if the story didn't resonate with me as much as it did with so many other readers, the underlying mythology really did.

This book is entertaining and original. Its very enjoyable. I recommend it. Judge how much you love it for yourself.
  emren | Sep 21, 2015 |
If you like fantasy, this is a great book. If you like realistic horse stories, this is also a great book for you--but you'll have to get used to the idea that most of the horses in this book are carnivorous, mean, killing machines! The "Capall uisce" (pronounced capple ishka) are water horses, magical creatures that rise out of the ocean on the beaches of Thisby once every year and can be captured and ridden by men in the Scorpio Races. It takes a strong will and courage, however, to do so--for these horses want to fight, and eat, each other, or humans, or any creature that gets in their way. Nineteen year old Sean Kendrick has been riding and training regular horses and capall uisce for ten years, even though one of them killed his father, and he thinks he has a great prospect for this year's race, the red stallion Corr. But Corr belongs to another man, and only if he wins the race will Sean be able to keep the horse he loves. Seventeen year old Kate "Puck" Connolly is equally at home on horseback, but has no experience with the crazy unpredictable capall uisce. Nevertheless, she decides to enter the Scorpio Races with her normal mare Dove, because she desperately needs the prize money to help keep herself and her younger brother Finn from being kicked out of their only home. She and Sean are competitors, but also training partners, and gradually grow closer, as the day of the race draws near. This is a wonderfully romantic, exciting, thrilling book, full of racing excitement and magic, danger and romance, and through it all runs the love of horses and of the wild tough island of Thisby, a character in itself. ( )
  GoldieBug | Sep 19, 2015 |
I'll be honest, the start of this book worried me. Stiefvater's Raven Boys series was horrible, but I pushed on since the Mercy Wolves Trilogy holds a special place in my heart as does Sinner.
The prologue was confusing, dropping you into a brand new world and naming the horses from the sea without explaining what they were. I was left wondering why they were killing people and what their importance was; if Stiefvater omitted the prologue it would have been better.
But now onto the rest of the novel. I was caught by the characters and their desperate struggles. Seeing the world through Puck and Sean's eyes was a great balance and the energy between the two of them was just the right amount. Stiefvater never lost sight of the overall importance of the horses and the race to build up character relationships. She also piled on the tension, forcing me to continue reading. Its been a while since I couldn't put a book down!
When I reached the end of this novel I was surprised, left wanting more of a conclusion. Not to say that she doesn't wrap things up, but I would have preferred to know the final fates of our characters and what their new goals on life were going to be. All in all this was a great read and makes me less wary to try Stiefvater's future writing. ( )
  Letora | Sep 12, 2015 |
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To Marian, who sees horses in her dreams
First words
It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die. (Prologue: Nine Years Earlier: Sean)
People say my brothers would be lost without me, but really, I'd be lost without them. (Chapter One: Puck)
You only have to be the fastest of those who are left.
It's easy to convince men to love you, Puck. All you have to do is be a mountain they have to climb or a poem they don't understand. Something that makes them feel strong or clever. It's why they love the ocean.
My mother always said that I was born out of a bottle of vinegar instead of born from a womb and that she and my father bathed me in sugar for three days to wash it off. I try to behave, but I always go back to the vinegar.
The evening sun loves her throat and her cheekbones. (p. 359)
I feel the island underneath me and Sean's mouth on my lips, and I wonder if luck will be on our side today. (p. 373)
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Haiku summary
Capaill uisce are
Race horses with a difference:
Fast and furious.

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 054522490X, Hardcover)

Product Description
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Shiver and Linger comes a brand new, heart-stopping novel.

With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world, where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff--with more than just their lives at stake should they lose.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

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