Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book Review: The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary (Courtesy of 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.

So, if any of you have actually been following this closely along, I reviewed Maggie Stiefvater's book The Raven Boys back in June. I'd heard a lot of good things about Stiefvater so I was pretty excited to read the book, but I must say I was largely disappointed in it. The Raven Boys just didn't impress me very much, and I was kind of ready to write Stiefvater off as not my thing. But then, the other week, when I was in need of a new audio book to listen to while mopping my floors (I just can't do housework unless I'm listening to a book), and this was the only half-way decent book in my library's online collection available for immediate download, I decided to give it a shot.

And now, I must take back all those dismissive things I said about Maggie Stiefvater, because even though I didn't like The Raven Boys, The Scorpio Races is a masterpiece. I mean, this was honestly one of the best YA novels I've read this year. I now see why all those people were heaping such praise on Stiefvater, because THIS book deserves all that praise. The characters were just unbelievably well crafted, the plot was tight and the story... well, it was one of the best written stories I've read in a long time. And this was actually the thing that bugged me the most about The Raven Boys. I felt like that book meandered and lost focus and the story just wasn't engaging for me, so it was amazing to see Stiefvater nail it so perfectly in this book. I loved the tight time frame (essentially two weeks leading up to the big race), the way tension built throughout the training period, the suspense of really not knowing who was going to win or which character you wanted to root for (I really was torn, I loved both Sean and Puck so much), the explosive climax of the race itself, and then the absolutely perfect resolution of everything (hallelujah for a good stand-alone novel!). Add to this recipe an incredible setting (fictional island of Thisby), some fantastic mythology come to life (killer water horses), a little romance, and just plain lovely writing, and you get a completely wonderful book.

Highly recommend this one to anybody who likes a good story.

1 comment:

  1. I've been hearing about this book for ages, but yours is the first review I've read that really makes me want to pick it up! I just put it on my to-read list . . .