Published by Scholastic Press on Oct 18, 2011
Genres: Paranormal, YA
Find the book: Amazon, 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.
I.LOVED. This. Book.
There were a lot of things I really enjoyed about this one, but for the most part I just loved how weird it was.
Let me explain.
On the island of Thisby, killer horses come out of the water every October, and the islanders race them down the beach.
When I first started reading I wasn’t sure if that concept would be too weird for me, but the book manages to killer horses and make them seem real. Thisby has its own traditions, like delicious, gooey
November cakes, the rider’s parade, writing a wish backwards in ashes on a strip of paper and throwing it into the sea, finding a shell dropped by the horse goddess for luck. The world is so well developed you could imagine a thing like this happening.
People don’t do magic in the traditional sense in this book, there’s no spells or powers or anything, but there is magic in this world. I really liked the way it’s handled because it feels different from a lot of paranormal books I’ve read.
All that said, the book isn’t really about killer horses. It’s about two people struggling with very real issues. Namely, their careers and where they’re going to work and how they want to lead the rest of their lives. And as it turns out, they both need to win the race to get what they want out of life.
The two main characters, Puck and Sean, were instantly endearing to me. They both have their quirks, their own senses of humor, and their own reasons for entering the race. All around they’re very well
developed and I found myself really invested in what happened to them. It was also fun to watch them slowly fall for each other. There’s no love at first sight in this book, and since I’m a big fan slowly developing romances I really enjoyed it.
I read this book because I’d read The Raven Boys, which is also by Maggie Stiefvater, and I really liked her style of writing. Once again, I loved her style here. She’s very good at describing locations and characters in ways that really let you get a good idea of them so they come alive in your head. It’s poetic and creative, and I’d definitely read something by her again.
For me, I thought the plot was really well developed and the tension was high throughout. Criticism I’ve heard of this book is that it takes too long for the characters to meet and for the race to happen. I didn’t mind that, but if you like instant love connections this might not be the book for you.
I’d give this five stars. I loved it and I’m already listening to it again as an audio book.