Alyssa Udall's Reviews > The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
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's review
May 15, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: paranormal, historical-fiction, magical, teen-fiction, wow-loved-it, male-protagonist
Read from September 30 to October 09, 2011

Originally Posted at Redhead Heroines!

For fans of Maggie Stiefvater's paranormal trilogy, The Wolves of Mercy Falls, The Scorpio Races offers a new gorgeous setting, enigmatic and unforgettable characters, higher stakes, and a perilous paranormal element.

For those that are not fans of her previous work, or that are simply unfamiliar with her, be prepared for a suspenseful, fantastic, lyrical and romantic thrill ride in The Scorpio Races!

I am a big fan of YA novels that go outside the realm of predictable, cliché, and "regular," especially when those authors tell their stories with lyricism. This is why I am a huge Maggie Stiefvater fan.

The Scorpio Races drew me in immediately with it's dual-narrative, told intermittently by Puck (Kate) and Sean (I almost said Sam--HA). Although I don't think that comparing this stand-alone historical/fantasy venture with Stiefvater's bestselling paranormal series is the best way to review this novel, it seems that most readers who come across this book will be familiar with her other work and will therefore be wondering how this novel compares.

In all honesty, a direct comparison is unfair, because each work is very different in terms of scope, theme, and extraneous elements, such as paranormal shape-shifting vs. fantasy fairy-lore.

However, the modes of operation present in Stiefvater's Shiver trilogy that make the series so wonderful in my eyes are also present in The Scorpio Races. For instance, Stiefvater's lyrical writing is still the delivery system for her ideas and still resonates with readers that are bored with straight-forward prose. Stiefvater's characters are also very well constructed, in that they are not shells of people or caricatures of characters (nice, huh?)

Rather, I can still picture the main characters, and several well-sketched minor characters, clearly in my mind even after reading several novels in between The Scorpio Races and now. With a normal novel, this added fictional database would wipe away less carefully crafted characters, but this is thankfully not the case with Stiefvater's work!

Another main difference between The Scorpio Races and Shiver, Linger, and Forever is that the romance element is not as overtly present. This is not to say that there is not romance, because there is. But, I feel that Stiefvater did a great job of using this plot line to complicate and progress the more important plot: that of the Scorpio Races themselves.

This dissection of the novel may not be the best way to review it, so I will give a few thoughts about the general experience of reading The Scorpio Races as well.

Firstly, this novel is a fantasy, first and foremost, that takes place on an island called Thisby that is plagued by a race of magical creatures called the capaille uisce (copple ishka - or ooshka). These creatures, in short, are incredibly powerful and dangerous flesh-eating water horses that live in the sea. When not surrounded by ocean, these horses are the most powerful and fast of their kind, far surpassing the abilities of regular "ponies" like Puck's mare Dove.

Puck is the nickname of smart and hot-tempered redhead Kate Connelly, who enters the Scorpio Races against all odds in order to overcome a desperate situation. Sean Kendrick is the four-time winner of the Scorpio Races and the only person that is able to somehow speak with, control, and connect with the capaille uisce, like Corr, the blood-red stallion that has helped him win.

At the center of The Scorpio Races is the danger of the races themselves, as the contestants ride these flesh-eating monsters at the base of Thisby's cliffs. The horses at once longing to pull their rider's down into the ocean with them and to rip into the flesh of the humans on their backs, spectators that get too close, other capaille uisce that ride alongside them.

Other plot devices and elements in The Scorpio Races include Puck's struggle in an all-male society, financial and economical hardship, differences in societal classes, connection to animals and animal cruelty, and the duties associated with protecting those you love.

An absolutely wonderful read!
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Reading Progress

10/07/2011 page 24
10/08/2011 page 201
48.0% "love, love, love."

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