Book Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater has always wanted to write about water horses. Known by many names, these beasts eat flesh and are the best horses on the planet unless they get back into the saltwater. According to some tales, the horses can change into handsome men and lure girls to their deaths. She only took a hint of this myth and turned it into a heartwarming story about horse racing and family.

Kate Connolly, better known as Puck is a young women living with her two brothers on the island of Thisby. Orphaned at a young age, she is used to tough times.

Thisby island is a foreboding place. The soil isn’t the greatest for making a living and there is another problem- the island is surrounded by saltwater that is home to flesh-eating water horses. Every year, citizens capture the horses and race them on the first of November. Many people have been killed. This is how Puck’s parents died.

Then, one night her older brother Gabe tells Puck and Finn he’s leaving. She tells him she’s riding in the races. Later, Puck finds out that they are about to lose their house. Now winning the race is the only thing that will save them from foreclosure.

Only thing is, Puck is the first female rider and she decides to ride an ordinary horse, Dove, instead of a flesh-eating capaill uisce. She is not wanted in the race and is told so. However, a young four-time winner of the race, Sean Kendrick, speaks up for her. Gratitude to friendship and then they fall in love. Typical happy ending there.

However, the race is still on. There can only be one winner. They both need the money and Sean needs another victory to buy his water horse, Corr. They agree to make their move at the same time. Sean and Corr fight another rider and capaill uisce while Dove rides on to victory. Sean, although he loses gets his horse because it’s leg is broken and it is no longer of use in races. “He is slow, and the sea sings to us both, but he returns to me.” Dark on and off throughout the book, but the ending is amazing and makes up for it.

This book is an easier read and teaches a little bit about the myth of water horses. Remember though Stiefvater changed the myth for her own purposes. This book has strong themes about honesty and sticking together as a family even in the midst of struggle. Gabe puts off his plans for the mainland when Puck announces she’s racing. It also conveys a message of optimism. Plans might not work out for the best, but you can get what need for a happy life.

The only extremely noticeable fault this book has is that it starts slow. It is a little bit confusing at first, but eventually Stiefvater gets her characters established and the story becomes addicting. It is unbelievably readable. Very few books can achieve this goal and do so almost seamlessly.

Overall, this is one of the best books I have ever read. If you want a heartwarming story about flesh-eating horses racing and poor barn cats with missing tail, this is the book to read.