Monday, July 30, 2012
Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
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.
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