The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Review

Posted March 28, 2012 by Emily in book review, Uncategorized / 20 Comments

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: ReviewThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic on April 1, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, General, Love & Romance, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 435
Format: Advanced Review Copy
Source: Scholastic

I received this book for free from Scholastic in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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four-half-stars

A spellbinding novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater
Some race to win. Others race to survive.
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 choice. So she enters the competition -- the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
As she did in her bestselling Shiver trilogy, author Maggie Stiefvater takes us to the breaking point, where both love and life meet their greatest obstacles, and only the strong of heart can survive. The Scorpio Races is an unforgettable reading experience.
*BONUS material in the paperback edition:

A new short story and an essay on water horse mythology
Maggie's Printz Honor acceptance speech

Even after striking out on Maggie’s Wolves of Mercy Falls novel, I decided to give this one a try, since it seemed so very different from her previous series. That, and the fact that it was selected as my March title for Tell Me What to Read sealed the deal.

Told from alternating perspectives, the story begins in a time that was unclear to me. There are cars and other mentions of technology, but nothing else that could firmly cement it in one time or another.

Readers who really enjoy a fast plot with exciting twists and turns will find that The Scorpio Races does not fit the bill. But, as one who loves characters that jump (or in this case gallop) right off the page, I didn’t mind the slow pace of the plot. I enjoyed taking my time to get to know Puck and Sean and their motivations behind entering the very dangerous Scorpio Races.

As I mentioned before, the writing in the Wolves of Mercy Falls really didn’t speak to me. But, the writing in this one just hit the spot. From the very first page I felt the danger of the races. But, I also felt the atmosphere. The salt in the air and the sand that gets everywhere. The fever pitch of the excitement of the festival. Puck’s desperation and need to keep her brother close. Her pull to the island. All of it was beautifully crafted and created a sense of magic through the entire book.

So, chalk one up for the man-eating horses. Because I loved this book.

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20 responses to “The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Review

  1. Hmm, I've only heard a review of this as disappointing. Nice to see another view point. I haven't loved any of Stiefvater's books (gave up on Forever), but she keeps writing things I think sound awesome, so I keep adding them to my tbr pile.

    • I made it through Shiver, but didn't really like the characters (particularly Sam). But, I really loved this one. I'm excited for The Raven Boys to come out this Fall.

    • I think people who loved her previous series were a little more inclined to not like this one as much. But, it definitely worked for me.

  2. I haven't heard of this author. I love great characters that I can connect with and feel for. I might be able to enjoy the slower pace if the characters are as good as you say.

  3. Glad this one worked out for you! I'm listening to the audiobook now, and enjoying it too. You're right that the setting and the atmosphere come through the page (or the listening device!) It's a bit slow as you say but it's interesting, and I'm curious to see where it goes.
    Great review.

  4. Jac

    It's funny, I've heard the fans of Mercy Falls say they didn't really care for this. But everyone who couldn't get into Mercy Falls, loved this one. I thnk I'll have to give it a try though πŸ™‚

    (I think I'll grab the audio version though – I think it sounds like a good one to listen too.)

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  5. I'm glad you enjoyed the book so much, Emily. I had more mixed reactions to this myself, but I appreciated reading your perspective. Maggie's definitely still one of my favorite authors of all time…and I can't wait for the raven book!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  6. I actually had a really hard time with this one. I appreciate Maggie's style and talent, but I the artistic style of this one was just one I couldn't get into. I like knowing time and place, lol.

    I will say that my fave scene was the one where Puck and her brother were eating dinner in the barn on a rainy night and that black water horse finds them. That scene was beautifully written and had me biting my nails a bit.

    I'm glad you enjoyed it (even if this one wasn't the one for me).
    β™₯Isalys / Book Soulmates

  7. I'm happy you liked it! I wasn't a big fan of the Shiver books, either. They were just ok for me. But I was really impressed with how she was able to write something that felt completely different. It's been one of my favorite reads this year.

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