The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater
The Skinny: At the start of every November, on the tiny island of Thisby, a deadly event occurs: the Scorpio Races. Men capture the beautiful and dangerous capaill uisce, sea horses, and prepare to ride them. But in November, the call of the sea beckons the horses home, making them crazed for their home.
Katie, or Puck as she prefers, Connolly is the first girl to ever enter the race, but she’s not doing it to be a ground-breaker – she’s doing it to save her family. Sean Kendrick is a returning champion representing his dastardly boss and riding the capaill uisce he longs to own. But in a race that often leaves men dead, taken by the sea and the deadly horses, it’s anyone’s game. And everyone’s riding for something.
BFF?: I kind of liked Puck… like a lot. I mean, she was the obvious – brave, smart, headstrong, etc. I liked those traits, but what I really liked about her, like SO MUCH, was that she entered this race that only men entered and, despite no one wanting her there, she still kept at it. Not because she wanted to be the first female to enter the race or wanted to break from traditions or was particularly feminist… but because she wanted to save her family. Now, I’m all for girl power and standing up for women’s rights, but sometimes I think the initial reasons for feminism can get lost. Puck reminded me, without even really trying, that feminism is about doing what’s right, about what’s best. She wasn’t trying to prove she was as good as men, or better; she was trying to succeed to help her family, to help her future. I’d love to be BFFs with Puck and stand up for what’s right and good!
And then Sean… meh. We wouldn’t have been very good BFFs; the boy don’t talk!
Readability: I’m sometimes a little iffy on alternating voices in books. Sometimes it’s nice to get dual looks at situations, to hear another person’s thoughts and wants… sometimes it gets confusing… and then sometimes both voices seem to be the exact same. I’m still not sure where the Scorpio Races fits, but I really did enjoy getting to know both Puck and Sean. I actually found myself wanting to read more from Sean’s point of view than Puck’s; I felt his voice was more relaxed and flowing than Puck’s active voice. Overall, it wasn’t too difficult to read and was easy to get in and out of each character’s voice.
Crush Level: 5
As I mentioned above, Sean is a man of little words. To me, he seemed more like the mysterious guy who sits in the back of the classroom, doodling on his notebook, but never causing any trouble or cause for suspicion. Which I guess can be sort of hot… in a My So-Called Life kind of way. I guess because I got to know him pretty well all of the mysteriousness of Sean went away and what I was left with was just a somewhat cute guy who was strong and had a thing for horses. But I’d totally make out with him if we happened to be at the same party.
Even if you’re petrified of horses, who doesn’t like horses? They represent so much – freedom, strength, mystery. And what’s even better? THE HORSES IN THIS BOOK ARE MONSTER HORSES! Okay… now that’s awesome.
I’m a huge sucker for mythology and a huge sucker for Ireland. Why these two loves have never come together for me, I don’t know. I’ve never heard of these horses, the capaill uisce, before, but it sounds like a wicked cool legend that I really want to read more about.
Now okay… I love mom advice, but really as a teen it was the worst thing to get. But Puck really listened to her mom and little bits of her mom’s wisdom is scattered through the book. Love it!
Puck is the middle child of two brothers. I only have one brother, but am always fascinated by families that have more than one brother. The dynamics between Puck’s older brother and younger brother are so interesting to me.
“And now I definitely need to go to confession because I’ve not only thought dark things about my brother, I’ve thought them while in Mass. It is slightly uncomfortable to know that if I die in the next few hours, I’ll go to hell…”
I’m not 100% sure if the island’s main religion is supposed to be Catholic or something made up to be similar, but you can definitely tell Puck is “suffering” from some Catholic guilt, mostly in the form of the town’s priest who gets driven around in a bright red car. (Note: it’s not a comment on Catholicism…)
Commencement Speech: I love this book. Can that be my entire commencement speech? No? Blah…
The Scorpio Races was such a breathtaking look at this beautiful world Steifvater created; it made me long for cozy woolen sweaters, the sea, green… The book started out slowly, building this world that’s familiar yet slightly unfamiliar, easing us into the world in which these deadly horses exist. The excitement builds and builds and then we’re in the middle of this race that leaves your heart pounding. The last 1/3 of the book I really could NOT put down! I love how I went back and forth, trying to figure out who should win, who has better stakes, who would lose more… although the answer seemed simple, it most definitely was not easy to get to!
Overall this was an excellent read. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more kissy times, but think if there had been I probably wouldn’t have loved it quite as much. It was a good, slow build that kept me intrigued and entertained, ending with being on the edge of my seat for a fantastic finish.
Yearbook Quote: “What about you Kate Connolly? Puck Connolly?”
The way he says it, I feel certain he misremembered intentionally, because he liked the weight of the words when he said my name twice, and that makes me warm and nervous and agreeable.
Superlatives – Most Likely buy a big hat and go off to the races
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