Thomas's Reviews > The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
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's review
Nov 22, 11

really liked it
bookshelves: own-physical, own-electronic, young-adult, fantasy
Read from November 13 to 19, 2011

"It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.

Even under the brightest sun, the frigid autumn sea is all the colors of the night: dark blue and black and brown. I watch the ever-changing patterns in the sand as it's pummeled by countless horses.

They run the horses on the beach, a pale road between the black water and the chalk cliffs. It is never safe, but it's never so dangerous as today, race day."

Reviewing The Scorpio Races, for me, is like reviewing my best friend. Maggie Stiefvater has already cemented her standing as one of my favorite authors with the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy - Shiver, Linger, and Forever changed me as a reader and as a writer - and she does not disappoint with her newest stand-alone novel. This book touched me, though in a different way than her previous works.

The most spectacular talent Stiefvater shows in The Scorpio Races is her power to pull readers into the setting of her story. Puck and Sean, our protagonists, live on the island of Thisby - the only place where the dangerous, man-eating capaill uisce (water-horses) are found. Through Stiefvater's rich, beautiful descriptions, Thisby comes alive as an individual character; I was so wonderfully entrenched in the atmosphere of the island and its inhabitants that by closing the book I felt like I was leaving behind a second home.

Stiefvater's characters shine in The Scorpio Races. Puck's resilience and fierceness as the first female to ride in the races impressed me, and Sean's cool, calculated, and somewhat callous demeanor grew on me too. There is a lot of character development in this novel - let me emphasize again, a lot - and I could definitely trace Puck and Sean's growth as the book progressed.

Unfortunately, the pacing of this book proved to be a problem. As a diehard fan of Stiefvater's writing, I did not mind at all reading pages and pages of pretty prose. She tackled numerous themes, including family, freedom, and coming-of-age, which I thought were all nicely fleshed out. Yet despite the book's splendid setting, atmosphere, characters, etc., there was a bit too much development, and not enough action.

Don't get me wrong, the actual races had my heart pounding just like any other thrilling climax. Only it occurred at the very end of the book and lasted for a mere twelve pages. I understand that Stiefvater's priority in writing this book may not have been to focus on the race itself, but the book jacket led me to believe otherwise, and I'm sure other readers too.

Overall I did not feel as involved in The Scorpio Races as I did with the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, but I enjoyed this book and am eagerly awaiting Stiefvater's next work. Be warned that your heart probably will not race until the last fifty pages of the book, though if you are a fan of beautiful writing or Stiefvater's other books, you'll most likely enjoy the other 357 pages as well.

*cross-posted from my blog, the quiet voice.
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Reading Progress

11/15/2011 page 226
56.0% 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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Wesley Should I fast-track it to the top of the list?

Brittany (UnderTheRadarBooks) Just got this one, glad to see you liked it!

Thomas Wes, if you already have a copy, I'd go ahead and read it.

And Brittany, I hope you like it too!

Wesley Done and done.

Wesley I plan to start this over the holidays, it's on the kindle idling as we speak.

Thomas That's a good plan, I'll most likely be starting The Death Cure. Tell me how you feel about The Scorpio Races once you've finished it. (:

Wesley YOU'VE got to read the The Death Cure, you SHUCKFACE!

Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Amazing review, Thomas. So happy you liked it. :)

Thomas I'm reading it now Wes!

And thanks Maja, it means a lot from someone who writes as well as you do.

Wendy Darling Pacing was an issue for me too, but I'm glad you ended up enjoying it anyway, Thomas. :)

Thomas Thanks Wendy. I'm sorry that you've been having a bad streak with Stiefvater's books, hopefully you'll like the next one better. :)

Wesley Pacing! I knew it was something but I haven't been able to pinpoint it. Like a mystery issue, we'll it was one. I like it so far but I've noticed the pacing thing.

Thomas Yeah... maybe it won't bother you so much and you'll like it as much as, or more than I did. (:

Wesley I think it's pretty good so far. I think I will always find a vibe of "Mercy Falls" in all of her books.

Thomas Same. Her writing is always gorgeous.

Wesley Absolutely. I have no idea why but it's as if what's written doesn't matter. She could be instructing on how to build a barn and still connect straight to the emotional source that the entire operation runs on.

Wesley We'll that was an emotional blow to THE FACE. You without a doubt earn your ending in a Stiefvater book. You will have something taken away in order to get that ending the way you want it. Good stuff though, I liked it.

Thomas I know, her endings are always so amazingly adrenaline-inducing! You're right, there always is a sacrifice...

Kamryn Wow, great review for The Scorpio Races!!! I love the way you write reviews for Steifvater books!!! :) So awesome.

Thomas Thank you Kamryn! She's one of my favorite writers so I try to do my best.

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