The Scorpio Races- Maggie Stiefvater
“Tell me what it’s like. The race.”
What it’s like is a battle. A mess of horses and men and blood. The fastest and strongest of what is left from two weeks of preparation on the sand. It’s the surf in your face, the deadly magic of November on your skin, the Scorpio drums in the place of your heartbeat. It’s speed, if you’re lucky. It’s life and it’s death or it’s both and there’s nothing like it. Once upon a time, this moment-this last light of evening the day before the race-was the best moment of the year for me. The anticipation of the game to come. But that was when all I had to lose was my life.
Every November the Scorpio Races start on the island. The danger is imminent as men prepare their horses for the violence of the race. This race is not on your average horse but on the mythical water horse(not to be confused with the Loch Ness monster). These water horses are vicious predators that arise from the sea and go on killing rampages around town. The shredded remains of farm animals and people are left in bloody heaps to be stumbled upon by islanders and tourists alike. Many people on the island have lost parents and children to these magnificently deadly beasts but this does not stop hordes of people from partaking in the Scorpio races. Typically a game for men, when Kate (Puck) Connolly gets it in her head to ride in the races, the men are outraged and will stop at nothing to prevent her from riding. When they find out that she plans on racing her normal horse Dove, the animosity only increases. Sean Kendrick, famous horse whisperer and four time winner of the Scorpio Races, takes a liking to Puck and begins training her. As quickly as things start looking up, Mr.Malvern, owner of most of the island and nearly all of the horses, threatens to evict Puck and her brothers from their home and as an employer of Sean, denies him his freedom and the ability to purchase Corr, his red water horse. Malvern’s son is extremely jealous and malicious, and he is unafraid to butcher innocents to get his way. Puck and Sean have many obstacles in their way but as their mutual attraction blossoms, their fate intermingles. Both need more than ever to win the race but will more sinister forces triumph? Find out as Puck and Sean make their way to the races and hopefully survive to see the end.
- Sean and Puck. Their love for one another is as easy as it is natural. They’re made for one another and complement each other perfectly. The simple way they touch and comfort in their collective silence is wonderfully written. There’s no need for a whirlwind of passion and dramatic declarations, like the island it just is the way it is. Pure, a little dangerous, and full of surprises.
- These water horses are terrifying. They lurk in the water, pouncing and stalking their prey, wickedly sharp teeth and powerful hooves breaking bones and severing limbs. They’re nothing like the water horse of Loch Ness, they’re more like a Kelpie. If you’ve read The Iron Feythen you already are well versed in the horrifying image of these creatures. If not, they’re magical fey creatures who are horse like and live in the water, they drags people to their deaths by drowning or worse, my torturing them for fun. Stiefvater’s water horses are a merge of Kelpie and the real thing.
- The preparation for the races and the rituals leading up to it are fascinating. A little Druidy, it created the illusion of a higher entity controlling the fate of the islanders. The way they make blood sacrifices, dress in masks, and make wishes for harm by writing them in ash and casting them into the sea is something so foreign and strange that there is an air of fantasy mixed with reality.
- There were several unnecessary characters and plot points. The whole story was flooded by these fleeting, bland characters. The book could have been much shorter and could have used some editing.
- Because of those aforementioned characters there were many lags in the story that made the plot seem overly slow and boring despite the content. On Goodreads I saw that a couple people didn’t finish. It’s probably because of this, that some couldn’t get into a story as interesting as murderous water horses.
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