SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):
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.
REVIEW: I have been thinking about this review for well over a week now. I think that part of my problem is that after all the waiting and the secret hints and the grand cover reveal and the trailer…I was left feeling a bit underwhelmed with this book. I really, really wanted to love it. I was prepared to have another favorite to add to my list. I’m not sure if it was the hype, or if it was my current frame of mind, but I just wasn’t feeling it this time around. This is not to say that I do not love Maggie Stiefvater though, and will not continue to read her books. I really enjoyed her fae books, and of course I loved The Wolves of Mercy Falls Series; The Scorpio Races must just not have been my kind of book.
The book was filled with Stiefvater’s typical poetic imagery of course. There was so much about the island, and details about the horses and water horses, and daily life for Puck; I think I sort of just started to get lost. I started wondering – “where exactly are we?” Judging by Sean’s name – I’m assuming this is some kind of Irish setting…but I can’t really remember if it was said. (Audiobook – it’s a bit harder to go back and find information you might have missed.) Then I started wondering…why Puck? How did she get this nickname? I don’t think this was answered, which seemed unusual to me. Usually in a book, all of these things are eventually revealed. Perhaps I missed it? Then the next question was “Why are we racing? What is the purpose, especially if so many people die each year?” The answer to this last question I have deduced; they race for the sport of it. No real reason is laid out, and given all the crazy American sports (hello, rodeo bull riders) really there isn’t any other reason necessary. I just wanted one I guess.
The entire book was very melancholy, which is another of Stiefvater’s writing traits, but usually she offers a pretty good balance of the fun, bright and happy to go with it. I wasn’t feeling it this time around. Even if the sun was shining and the sky was beautiful, I had this image of an oppressed small town caught in a bubble of constant drizzle. Perhaps it’s all the tragedy that follow the characters around, and their own oppressed lives that encouraged this image in my head, and we are seeing the world through their eyes.
I will say that I felt very positive about Puck and Sean’s relationship. It was a very realisitic view of what falling into what might be love might actually look like. Both are timid in their admiration and their feelings. A friendship is formed, and with that comes…more. This I adored, and believe it or not, I did not long for anymore than what was given. Both Puck and Sean had so much going on in their lives, adding a bunch of passion and lovesickness to the mix would probably have been a bit over the top, yes?
I feel like I’m being unfair, but in the end I was just not crazy about this book at all. I have this crazy impulse to wait 6 months or a year and reread it – THAT is how much I wanted to enjoy this book, and how much I typically love Maggie Stiefvater’s writing.