February 18, 2012

The Scorpio Races will leave readers wanting more!

I  originally won an ARC of this novel but did not have time to fit it into my schedule. That was a mistake - I should have read this the moment it hit my mailbox. After seeing the cover, I bought a finished copy because, I mean, the cover is gorgeous!

But be warned - this novel is not for the faint of heart. There is gore - there is action - there is more gore - there is awesomeness awaiting you.

I loved this novel so much that when I finished it, I told my husband he needed to make sure he read it so we could discuss it. I mean, he does have a bit of Irish in him, so I knew he would enjoy the kelpies in the novel.  You can read his reaction at the conclusion of this review. 

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

My Thoughts:

Wow! While that single word will not due for a review, it is the word that pops into my head when someone mentions this novel. Stiefvater really comes full circle as a writer with this novel. I’ve read her Wolves of Mercy Falls series, and this one trumps those, no contest.

Readers are told the story from two points of view: Puck and Sean. Puck is a first-time contestant, needing the prize money to help keep her family together. Sean is the contestant to beat, having won several years in a row. He has a way with the horses, a way that no one seems to understand, except Puck. She understands Sean on a level that even he does not understand himself.

While readers experience the events leading up to the races, and of course the races themselves, through Puck and Sean’s points of view, there are many characters that readers will connect with as well. Many of them seem to have minor roles in the novel, but by novel’s end, the full weight of their importance will become clear – even if just for a moment. Grouped with the “characters” are the horses themselves, especially Corr. The horses are what seals this story for me – even their murderous nature kept me turning the page, hungering for more.

In particular, readers will find themselves captivated by the relationship between Sean and Corr. This is what kept me turning the page – I was rooting for these two until the bitter end of the novel. Readers will find that it is difficult not to root for these two. But that is as far as I can go without ruining important plot points in the story.

I only have one true complaint about the novel – I never fully understood why the horses come ashore, hungry for flesh (human or otherwise). I know that the horses are kelpies, exploring a Celtic tradition in storytelling, but that is it. I possibly missed something between all the excitement of preparing for the races themselves and the gore that occurs during the races, but I really do not think that was covered. As an adult, I can live with that, but I’m not 100% sure teens will. Oh who am I kidding – who cares why they come ashore? It is still a great read.

Why should you read this novel? Because it is pure awesome on the page! If that is not convincing enough, I gave it to my husband and told him he must read this novel. He did it in just three hours, unable to tear himself from the page. When he finished, he said, “Wow! That was a great book. You were right.” Yes dear, I know. 

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