The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Post by cheri on Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:30 pm

Maggie Stiefvater writes young adult books in a way that very few writers manage. She captures the angsty excesses of the teenage years in a way that makes you recall your own teenage years and thank the Lord they're over! And yet, her prose contains so much sheer poetry, it's impossible not to appreciate her gift for writing the gut-wrenchingly awful in a beautiful, tear-jerking way. Did that make sense? I hope not, because I'm not always sure why I like her writing as much as I do.
The Scorpio Races is definitely my favorite, maybe because it's the most visceral, the most visually poetical of her novels. It's as much about a culture and a place as it is about the people.
The main characters, Sean and Puck, live on an island with a unique problem: the water horses, beautiful, carnivorous creatures of magic that live in the sea off their coast. Once a year, they hold a race on the beach. Captured water horses are raced against each other, for money, for the thrill, and for bragging rights until the following year. But it isn't just a race. Men die, trampled and sometimes eaten by their never fully tamed mounts. And it isn't just about horses. It's a violent, addictive tradition that binds the island together and holds outsiders at bay.
For Sean and Puck, it becomes the defining moment of their lives, as they are drawn together by the race that neither can afford to lose.
I'd probably give this book 3.8 out of 5. Well, maybe 4. It starts slow, and doesn't necessarily grab you by the throat until about halfway through. But if you can make it that far, it's definitely worth it. The characters are likeable, the concept is unique, and the setting is fantastically visualized. There is some blood, some shocking scenes of death, but I don't remember any other explicit or possibly objectionable material. It's been long enough that I can't remember whether there's much profanity.


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