Mythology, Young Adult

“The sky and the sand and the sea and Corr”

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.

Bonus Points:
Horses

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.

Irish Legend/Mythology

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.

Epona

The soul of Thisby is named Epona – which (and I’m pulling out the big nerd guns) is the same name as the horse in Zelda! Epiphany!

Mom Advice

“My mother always told me that you should wear your best clothing when you are angry, because it would scare people.”

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!

Brothers

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.

Catholic Guilt

“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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10 thoughts on ““The sky and the sand and the sea and Corr””

  1. I’ve been a little hesitant to read this one because horse racing sounded kind of blah, but you certainly made it sound more appealing… strong female character, beautiful world, can’t put it down. I may have to try it out.

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    1. Same… I wasn’t so sure about the horse racing, but really like 85% of it focuses on the build up to the race. I was thinking it was going to be mostly featuring the race… which luckily it was not! 🙂

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  2. Awesome review, Candice. I haven’t known what to make of this book, but I finally started listening to the audiobook this week. The two narrators have great voices and accents, and even though not much has happened yet they are making it interesting. Good to know that there will be some excitement building towards the end of the book. I’m worried that these two characters are competing, it reminds me of Katniss and Peeta. (Or I just have The Hunger Games on the brain)

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  3. Sigh. I LOVED The Scorpio Races A LOT. It had all the atmosphere, you know? And I loved the mythology and the horses and that whole angle as well.
    I agree, too, with what you say about Puck and feminism. It’s almost like she was doing it unintentionally because being the only/first girl wasn’t her motivation. I loved her strength even when she doubted herself a little bit. You know what else I loved about her? She didn’t make any bones about not wanting to leave Thisby. That living in that small, quiet place was what she wanted. I feel like so many young people in YA are always itching to leave; it was nice to read about one who wanted to stay.
    Sean was great, I thought. I appreciated his quietness and I thought he was a great match for Puck. I liked that we got to know them individually first before they started hanging out more.

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  4. OMG Candice, I totally loved this book too! And it wasn’t one I really expected to enjoy. At all. But Puck and Sean (because things that are hot in a My So Called Life way are what I’d call “insanely awesome”) were so great. I didn’t necessarily crush on Sean as much as I would have liked to, but I totally crushed on THEM. Does that make any sense at all? They were such a force together. You make me want to read it all over again.

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  5. The Scorpio Races is SO GOOD! It was funny to keep reading “Sean;” for whatever reason I can only ever think of him as “Sean Kendrick.” And I love the quote you chose at the end! The whole thing really was just so quotable. Now I just want to go read it again 🙂

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    1. Haha, I know! I think because they kept referring to him as “Sean Kendrick” throughout the book. I kept thinking “dur, we know who he is!”

      And yeah.. I had a HARD time not including every single quote I highlighted! There were so many great and funny ones!

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