Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


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.


Published October 18th 2011 by Scholastic Press

The Elliott Review:

This book is a book of substance. There is love, excitement, danger, and all the things that make books amazing, but I don't feel that the book is just about any one of those things. It's a life book, depicting the two main characters in crucial times in their lives. Are they falling for each other? Yes. Is the book only about that? No. It's definitely about a whole lot more.

The characterization and gradual release of the plot does a lot to make this book feel so realistic, like the characters are actually living and breathing entities you might actually meet could you  go to their island. Even the mythology of the water horses is so deftly and simply drawn that I had to Google cappail uisce to make sure that I hadn't missed some strange breed of horse that actually does exist (to save you the time - it really is mythological. I don't feel stupid or anything...).

I love the way the characters are revealed gradually. How we come to know what really matters to Sean Kendrick, how we see Puck gathering her courage to do what she has to for the family. The way the two lives begin to intersect because of the Scorpio races is just beautiful. It's very subtle, the way they start to feel for each other, and in that way it's very real.

When Sean can only buy Corr, the horse he loves like a family member, from his boss if he wins the races and Puck can only keep her house from being foreclosed on if she wins the races, the stakes in the book are raised so high. Throughout the whole ending I was preparing to be heartbroken in one way or another. I won't give that away. But I will say that, to me, the ending was just perfect. It's the sort of ending that's my favorite!

Young Adult Notes:

Mild violence

Source: Thanks to Scholastic for providing a copy of this book at ALA.


  1. I love Maggie Stiefvater and can't wait to read this one. I was going to read it just because she wrote it, but the story sounds great and I'm sure the writing is flawless.

  2. Oh, I'm almost finished reading this now! And loving it. It's been taking me a while because, as you say, it's about life, with all its complications. So I'm finding it's not a fast read, but one I'm enjoying lingering over.

  3. LOVE this book! Seriously, I haven't read anything by Maggie that I haven't fully enjoyed. And in parts of this one, I think I forgot to breathe at certain scenes!