The Scorpio Races

Unlike nearly every girl I grew up with in rural South Carolina, I never had a fondness for horses.  (I’ve always been more of an indoor kind of gal.  Horses are for those outdoorsy types.)  I should have known, then, that The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater might not be my cup of tea.  Honestly, I only picked up the book because I thoroughly enjoyed Stiefvater’s Shiver trilogy, and I thought this one would be just as wonderful.  In a way, it was. 

The action in the book, while horrifying at times, was still understated and even beautiful and natural in its own way.  The author didn’t hit readers over the head with the relationship brewing between the two main characters.  It was subtle and true to the characters’ personalities.  It did take me a while to get into this book, however, and I often found my interest waning.  The Scorpio Races is not a light-hearted romp of a novel, and the seriousness of the book kind of put me off a bit.  It didn’t help that the book made me even more wary of horses than I already was.

The Scorpio Races take over the island of Thisby every November. It is the island’s most exciting, money-making, and tourist-attracting event. It’s also a fight for survival. While struggling to tame the vicious water horses that are the focus of the brutal display, racers put their lives on the line for the chance to cross the finish line first and become legends.

Sean Kendrick is already a legend when it comes to the races.  At the age of nineteen, he’s already a four-time champion, and it’s looking like this year will be his fifth victory.  But Sean, a serious young man with a rather taciturn nature, is battling for more than just another mark in the win column.  He’s fighting for his own taste of freedom.  But there may be someone on the horizon that needs to win more than Sean ever has…

Puck Connolly is a young woman who is on the verge of losing everything she’s ever known.  Her older brother is determined to leave her and their younger brother behind on the island, so Puck does the only thing she can think of to get him to stay a little longer.  She enters the Scorpio Races.  The odds are stacked against her from the very beginning.  Puck is the first girl to ever enter the races, nearly everyone on the island tries to bully her or convince her to change her mind, and she’s not racing on one of the fierce water horses.  No, she’s racing on her own dependable land mare, Dove.  No one thinks Puck has a shot of winning–including Puck–but everyone will soon find out that there’s more to Puck Connolly than anyone ever suspected…

Sean is intrigued by this girl who has entered the races despite the odds.  Puck is fascinated by the boy who seems to always have one leg on land and the other in the sea, the boy who has a special bond with the beasts that claimed her parents’ lives.  The two young people are inexorably drawn together by the very races that could tear them apart.

Sean and Puck both need to win the races that are sure to claim lives before all is said and done.  Both of them need to win to preserve everything that they hold dear.  Who will win?  Who will lose?  Will Puck and Sean be strong enough to handle the races that are sure to change their lives forever?  Will the races draw them together or destroy them forever?  Find out when you read The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

I don’t know what else to say about this book.  It was good, but I’m ready to move on to somewhat lighter fare.  If you think you might enjoy The Scorpio Races, I strongly urge you to read the author’s note at the back of the book first.  I stumbled over the name of the water horses–capall uisce–and the author’s note has a handy pronunciation (CAPple ISHka) as well as some of the myths surrounding the mysterious water horses.

If you’d like to learn more about The Scorpio Races or other books by Maggie Steifvater, visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @msteifvater.

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