Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Romance, Mythology
Source: My shelves
Every year, the Scorpio Races are run on the beaches of Skarmouth. Every year, the sea washes blood from the sand. To race the savage water horses can mean death, but the danger is irresistible.
When Puck enters the races to save her family, she is drawn to the mysterious Sean, the only person on the island capable of taming the beasts.
Even if they stay together, can they stay alive?
A breathtaking ride that will make your heart race.
I’m going to admit… I did not want to read this. I bought it several years ago at Half-Priced Books because it was gorgeous and a Stiefvater, but I was terrified to read it. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Maggie Stiefvater. I love the Raven Boys, have yet to read Call Down the Hawk (I know I know I know I know I know!! I’m a failure. Next month!), and even can appreciate Shiver, even if it’s not how I like my urban fantasy served.
But the OWLs Magical Readathon knocked, and I answered the call. Since I decided to pass all the exams offered, I had to read a book set on the sea/at the coast, and The Scorpio Races was the only one I owned matching that requirement. *sigh* I knew I was going to have to read it and probably be disappointed. I went into with as low expectations as possible. After all … no one talks about this book, and people talk about Stiefvater often. I was terrified it wouldn’t measure up.
I read The Scorpio Races in one sitting. It was absolutely stunning. It wasn’t action-packed, but I was glued to my seat because of the underlying level of suspense that was killing me!! The writing style was pure Stiefvater – and I’d forgotten about the punch she packed in her writing – simple, practical, fearless, yet restrained, and utterly lyrical. She writes like she daring me to continue, and I’m helpless but to follow. The writing is so atmospheric, and impossible to describe, quite frankly. She wove a story of this small sea-side town that gets overrun by monsters every November, and I was enchanted.
I say, “I will not be your weakness.”
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, “It’s late for that, Puck.”
The story follows Kate “Puck” Connolly, as she enters in the Scorpio Races to win money for her to keep her parent’s home. They’d died a year before, leaving her and her two brothers alone, in a house they no longer can pay for. Every year, the savage water horses, capaill uisce (pronounced copple ooshka) come from the sea and run amok in the town. They’re not truly horses except in shape and are dangerous, frightening monsters, a threat the townspeople regularly lose people to each year. However, when the time comes for the horses to rise from the sea, the Scorpio Races start. Any man willing to bet his life and capture a water horse can ride it in The Race. There’s a cash prize for first, second, and third place, but many lose their lives in the meantime. (I’m heavily simplifying here.)
Only one person can tame the horses, and his name is Sean. The description called him a “mysterious Sean” and I immediately scoffed and thought to myself “aren’t they always.” Well, dammit, the blurb was more correct than I was and I now regret my knee-jerk reaction. Normally the “Mysterious Boy” is nothing more than a lying boy, but that wasn’t the case here. The plot doesn’t sell itself when recommending it, but you have to trust me here, this is worth a gamble.
The romance between Sean and Puck was so, so sweet and so, so soft. It was refreshing, actually. Kind of a friends-to-lovers, their respective crushes had me on my knees, begging for the romance to speed up. But, gotta remember, this is Maggie Stiefvater, and she knows how to do a slow burn romance justice. It simmered in the background, even as it wasn’t the focus and drove me rabid with the need for those two to end the “unrequited” part of their romance it was absolutely perfect. Puck was an amazing heroine, fierce, stubborn, fiery, and passionate (I loved her relationship with her brother Finn!!!!) and willing to be The Woman to Take On the Scorpio Races. Sean, too, was absolute amazingness: gentle, steadfast, shy, but decisive and so sweet. With characters as vivid as they were, and just such amazing storytelling, will be one of my favorite reads of the year.