I have mixed thoughts about this book - I really liked some parts and felt let down at other parts. Most of the first half of the book, I was confused about what was actually going on (of course, I was probably supposed to be). It reads like a contemporary, which I like in a mythological retelling, and is a straight-forward, easy-to-read writing style; however, it uses flashbacks to help the reader get all of the background. It starts in the present and is told in Pierce's voice and references events that we don't know anything about. Then it will flashback to what happened before so we get more of the story, but never the whole entire thing it seemed. In the last part of the book there is a big reveal conversation where everything is explained. I don't know if it's because there's been a lot of the Hades/Persephone stories I've read lately or I just picked up on lots of clues, but it wasn't very shocking to me - I kind of had it all figured out. But, there are unique pieces to it that are a twist on the classic story that intrigued me and felt fresh.
I was definitely into the book the entire time and I read it in one day because of a combination of it being written in a quick to read way and the building of the suspense and me wanting to know what was going to happen. I liked Pierce and her attitude toward things and her way of trying to get back from the depths she had been to. Her attitude was great as she stood up for herself and what she wanted. A few examples of Pierce's attitude/outlook that exemplify why I liked her (from the ARC): "It's only in fairy tales that princesses can afford to wait for the handsome prince to save them. In real life, they have to bust out of their own coffins and do the saving themselves." and "Of course he'd seen right through me. My sarcasm was just a defense mechanism to hide how truly unnerved I was at my...reaction..." See, my kind of sarcastic, do what you need girl character. I really like the character of John too - to me he's the most intriguing character in the book because he's hard to figure out, but we see glimpses of deeper turmoil from him. I also felt that some of the secondary characters were there, but not really developed very much, and I wanted to know more about them. I know there has to be a sequel, I just wish I had gotten a little bit more explanation in this one. Overall, it's an enjoyable read albeit a little predictable, and I'll definitely read the sequel, UNDERWORLD, but I was left a little bit wanting in this one. So, if it's in your to-be-read pile, wait until the sequel and then you'll be able to read them one right after the other and maybe not feel quite as cut off in the middle like I did....more
I have to be honest - I'm a little bit torn about this book. I LOVE Maggie Stiefvater's writinReview originally posted on Heise Reads & Recommends
I have to be honest - I'm a little bit torn about this book. I LOVE Maggie Stiefvater's writing and all of her other books, but THE SCORPIO RACES was a little harder for me to get sucked in to. I had so many teacher friends whose opinions I really trust tell me this was a fantastic book, but I couldn't quite get into the can't-put-this-book-down type of feeling.....until I got about halfway through the book (and it's a pretty long 404 pages), and then I got so hooked into it and didn't want to stop reading until I got to the exciting conclusion of this standalone story. But it did take me a couple of starts & stops to get there. So, if you feel the same way at the start, give it time and a chance. Maggie continues her beautifully lyrical writing in this book, but it seems to be in an even more sophisticated mood-provoking and descriptive way. This is a quiet book, but Maggie's research into the various water horses mythology stories and English cliff settings is apparent throughout in the emotion and feeling her words evoke.
The way the setting is used to create the mood in this book is done with such a deft and subtle hand that it instantly draws the reader into the story from the start. The setting is a character of it's own right in this book, as it needs to be. And the water horses are one of the most interesting mythological/fantasy/paranormal elements I've read about in awhile. It's a heart-wrenching story of friendship and family and what love means and what really, truly matters for people. It's about courage and dedication and loyalty and figuring out who people are and where they're meant to be that really matters. It's about having the courage and strength to go after those things that one wants and the bravery and dedication to see it through to the end no matter how difficult. It's about finding your place in the world and doing everything to keep it yours.
It's a book with a sweet romance and dedicated families and intriguing mythology and people discovering who they want to be and what makes them who they are - and then living that life. The romance is quiet and subtle and innocent and meaningful and heart-warming. The loyalty of not only people, but horses also, pulls the tears out at the end, but in such a way that it's sad and hopeful at the same time because everyone wants someone who understands them completely and would be dedicated to staying with them no matter what. THE SCORPIO RACES is different from everything else I've read out there in the mood that is created by the setting and writing, and it's an achingly beautiful read (even if it takes a little while to get into it)....more
I'm a little torn on this book, so this review will be a little different. I'm not sure if thiReview originally posted on Heise Reads & Recommends
I'm a little torn on this book, so this review will be a little different. I'm not sure if this was a situation of high expectations not being met, but I didn't love it - I liked it though. This book definitely reads like a contemporary at the start, and then leads into some paranormal elements and adds in mythology from different cultures which makes it interesting and fresh. I felt like it read a little long because some parts seemed to have inconsequential details that didn't need to be there in my mind, but in other parts I wanted more details. I definitely read it quickly because I kept turning pages wanting to know where it was going.
My Positives: - The beginning really hooked me. The scene develops in a way that I wasn't expecting and I really wanted to keep reading. - There is a unique mythology element taken from various cultures. - Ashline is a sarcastic, whip-tongued main character who is doing all she can to protect herself. - Good pacing of the reader getting information as needed to keep tension building. - Each chapter was really long, but it represented one day in the week of these events occurring. Then there were a few interludes that captured my attention and led to a surprising reveal toward the end. - The villain was created in such a way that I really did hate her, as I should have. - I liked the group of friends (the other gods/goddesses) so much and how they all watched out for each other. - I also liked the headmistress character and wanted to cheer for her a little bit. - Unexpected ending, not exactly a cliffhanger, but more of a didn't see that coming at all, now holy cow where are we going next.
My Negatives: - I didn't totally connect with Ashline as much as I wanted to. - Parts were left unexplained and left open for the sequel, but where is it going? - For some reason I was aware throughout the book that it was a guy author writing a teen girl character, so it didn't feel totally authentic to me. - Some parts I noticed the 3rd person point-of-view (which is a pet peeve of mine). - There was an element of weird creepy-crawly creatures which always bugs me when it comes out of nowhere. I'm sure there's more of a reason, but I didn't totally get it. - Some of the emotions seemed to develop too fast for me. I liked the romantic subplots, but I didn't get the depth of the feelings developing. - When I'm pulled out of the world of the story and notice the writing (instances of coarse language), that, to me, is not quite true to life. It's there to be there, not because it feels totally natural I guess.
So, basically, I'll read the next book in the series because I'm intrigued by the overall premise and want the explanations for the shocker ending and want to know what happens to Ashline next and hope I'll connect with her more. But, I didn't love the execution, so I'm hoping that will improve with the second book in the series, EMBERS & ECHOES coming in 2012, and the third book, AFTERGLOW coming in 2013...more