Release Date: October 18th 2011
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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 chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
The Scorpio Races take place every November. It's Thisby's most busiest season, tourists come from all over to watch the world's most dangerous and captivating water horses known as capaill uisce, as they are pitted against each other in a terrifying race. The capaill uisce cannot be compared to your common horse, their true home is the water, their beauty electrifying and their taste for human flesh is understandably unsettling. Especially since the men that sit atop these majestic creatures are very much in the tasty human variety.
Gabe, Puck and Finn are orphan siblings after their parents were killed by capaill uisce last fall. They've been surviving off the bare essentials ever since, but there are strong family ties between these three, particularly Puck and Finn and I so loved exploring their relationship. In a desperate bid to keep her family together, Kate Connolly (better known as Puck) announces she's partaking in the races this year. But the idea of riding a capall uisce, particularly in light of her parents death, doesn't sit well with her. So she signs up to the races with her common mare, Dove, presenting two reasons for uproar: one, Dove is a mare in a race for capaill uisce, and two: Puck is a girl in a race for men. But Puck is not the kind of girl who backs down easily, she is an absolutely delightful protagonist and probably one of my favourite of Maggie's so far. She's this rough little gem of a girl, so fierce in spirit and had me laughing out loud too many times to count.
Four time winner of The Scorpio Races, Sean Kendrick, is somewhat of a legend on the island of Thisby. Anytime there's a problem involving the capaill uisce, it's his name on the lips of terrified men as they try not to lose a limb. Sean has a deep understanding of the capaill uisce. His touch, his words, his strong, capable presence can soothe even the deadliest.... well, as much as you can soothe a killer water horse. The bond he shares with his own capall uisce, Corr, is a beautiful thing. It's dangerous, it's magical, it's full of respect and by the end, if their relationship hasn't knotted itself within your heart, I'd check to see if you still actually have one. Sean is a strong, quiet, enigmatic character and even though you're reading from his POV, you still want to know more about him. He never speaks for the sake of speaking, his words hold meaning and you cling to what he says. He has a way of completely holding your attention. The slow-building relationship formed between him and Puck is just a perfect touch to this story and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Maggie writes her characters so unbelievably well. Every one of them feels so real, so thoughtfully sculptured in all their flaws and mannerisms, thoughts and desires. That's something that she's excelled at throughout all of her books. Her characters are layered and unique and demand you form an emotional attachment. I adored all the secondary characters in this book (with the exception of one particular asshole, coughMUTTcough), especially Finn! He's this sweet, odd, adorable boy who I just want to envelope in a hug anytime he shows up in a scene. They breed those Connolly kids well.
The Scorpio Races is a breathtaking novel that will lure you into its magical tale of loyalty, family, love and danger. It's deadly and beautiful and entrancing and you can literally taste the air of Thisby, feel the rush of adrenaline as you ride the back of a capall uisce or bite into a delicious November cake. From the moment you open the cover, you've no hope of walking away without the smell of sea water embedded in your skin and a heart weighed down with adoration for this gorgeous tale. Maggie Stiefvater is such an incredibly talented woman. She makes you become part of her world and it's hard to pull yourself out of it. You don't want to pull yourself out. Whether you're a fan of her previous work or not, I strongly urge you to give this a read!
5/5 Golden Apples