Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Tags: YA, fantasy


Once a year on the island of Thisby, tourists from all over the world come to watch the Scorpio Races, where locals participate in a race on capaill uisce, mysterious and dangerous horses from the sea that will hardly hesitate to attack and kill human beings. The reigning champion, 19-year-old Sean Kendrick, has been racing for years, but this year there’s more on the line for him: his freedom, and access to his beloved capaill uisce. On the other hand, Puck Connelly is about to be both the first female participant in the race, and the first to race on a regular horse, for the sake of her family and house. Lots are on the line, but as everyone knows, Thisby and the Scorpio Races don’t make things come easily.


This book is everything that people have said it is and more. There is not a single part of this book that’s weak; everything is crushingly beautiful and rarely matched.

Maggie Stiefvater was never a shabby writer, but in THE SCORPIO RACES, her way with language combined with a lingering emotional resonance that I hadn’t quite fully experienced in her books until now. THE SCORPIO RACES is deliberately set neither here nor there, now nor then, with the result that it carries a timeless and universal feel. Broken into multiple small parts, it would be hard to pinpoint exactly what makes this book work so well—so I won’t. All I know is that somehow, Puck’s near-desperate spirit; Sean’s otherworldly skills with the capaill uisce and his unenviable conflicts; and the magical, addicting, dangerous, and mysterious island of Thisby all combine together for a book that’s to be loved and indulged in like a bar of the highest quality chocolate: slowly, lovingly, and satisfactorily with each bite.

THE SCORPIO RACES proves to us all that great books don’t have to come in series or trilogies. Oh, how I can’t wait to read this one again.

Similar Authors
Melina Marchetta (Jellicoe Road)
Franny Billingsley (Chime)

Cover discussion: Probably one of my favorite covers of 2011, effortlessly combining streamlined simplicity with rich texture.

Scholastic Press / Oct. 18, 2011 / Hardcover / 416pp. / $17.99

Personal copy.


  1. Steph, I'm so glad you loved this one. I hold a special place in my heart now for Thisby, and, like you, can't wait to read the book again.

    I thought you captured the book perfectly (and lovingly) with this phrase: "everything is crushingly beautiful and rarely matched."

  2. I agree with you- it's hard to explain why I love this book so much, but everything works so well. I loved the writing. especially. Great review!

  3. I loved this book. I listened to the audio version and was completely moved by the story and characters. Loved it! And yes, not every successful and fantastic book needs to be a trilogy! Stand-alones are what I miss nowadays.

  4. This book was absolutely gorgeous. <3 Glad you loved it!

  5. I haven't read this yet because of the hype, but now I might have to. It sounds good. I didn't love Shiver, but this sounds interesting.

  6. Maggie Stiefvater gets better with every book.

  7. I'm glad you enjoyed this. I always forget in between books just how good a writer Stiefvater is - she really brings her settings to life (and always seems to leave me craving some sort of delicious food she's described!) This one blew me away.

  8. Wow. A new book from one of my favorite author. I'm a fan of The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and now I'm excited to read this new book from her.

  9. YES to all of it, but definitely to the timeless feel. I completely fell in love with this book and it became a favorite of mine for all time.

  10. I definitely appreciated that this book was a standalone-there don't seem to be very many when it comes to non-realistic fiction. That the story of Puck and Sean came to a close in this one book made me happy.

  11. I'm pushing through. I'm listening to the audio right now and can honestly say that this is generally not a book I would lean toward. BUT because everyone, and I mean EVERYONE raves about it, I will persevere. (I'm on chapter 8 right now).

  12. YES. I agree with everything you just said. This book is my favorite of Maggie's (though I'm reading The Raven Boys soon, so that may change) because it's just so beautifully written.

  13. I too loved this book! :) Maggie is probably one of my most favorite authors ever. :)


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