Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Flesh-eating water horses. That is all. (The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11210739-the-scorpio-races 5/5 Stars

Note: This was originally a four star review. I've put it up to five because, despite my tiny issues with it, I can't stop comparing YA lit to it. Whenever I'm reading, it's like the story has to be judged against this. This has become my benchmark.

I originally got this out of the library in an attempt to tide myself over until I could get my hands on The Dream Thieves so I thought it would be fitting to post this during the wait for The Raven King. This is the book that convinced me I needed to spend 2015 tracking down and reading ALL of Maggie Stiefvater's books. If anyone can think of a bookshop that stocks Lament and Ballad, please drop it in the comments.

The Scorpio Races is a story pulled from Folklore (which I love) and follows Puck/Kate Connolly and Sean Kendrick, two teenagers (I think, but their ages are never actually specified) who enter the races as strangers.

From the beginning, I found Puck's chapters more interesting. This could be for many reasons, but I think it's because what she was fighting for was laid bare for us within the first four chapters. She wants to keep her family together, something that I think most people can understand. This seems like a good place to mention that I absolutely adored Finn. He was adorable, sarcastic, clever, and reminded me a lot of Noah from The Raven Boys. Finn was definitely my favourite character. Just because I found Puck's chapters more interesting early on doesn't mean that Sean's didn't grip me later on. Sean's relationship with Corr was one of the best written relationships in the book, even better then Puck and her brothers. The ending was perfect, and I do mean perfect. Okay, so it was a tiny bit abrupt, but it showed the relationship between Sean and Corr perfectly.

I loved Thisby as a setting, although I was constantly banging my head against the wall as I tried to work out where and when Thisby was. I'm thinking off the coast of Ireland, some time in the mid to late 1900s? The only other thing that annoyed me was that Puck announced to her brother that she would be in the races as though it was the go-to line for all rebellious teenage girls who lived on Thisby. Neither of her brothers seemed too surprised about it and, for the next two hundred pages, people only made small jabs at her gender. It wasn't until the parade, over two hundred pages later, that I found out what a massive deal it was for a girl to get up there and say that she wanted to race. I struggled with this because I felt like it should've been mentioned sooner.

Overall though, I thought The Scorpio Races was brilliant. From determined, rebellious Puck to quiet, loner Sean, the characters felt real. The setting was wonderful. It was an animal story (and I usually hate animal stories) but you didn't have to be animal-mad to understand it. Also, it involved flesh-eating water horses, just in case you needed another reason to read it.

Have you read any other Maggie Stiefvater books? What did you think to The Scorpio Races? And are you ready for The Raven King?