Book Review: The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races

Published by Scholastic Press

Release Date: Oct. 18, 2011
Genre: Young Adult
401 pages
Buy it on Indie BoundAmazon or Barnes and Noble
Source: I own it

My thoughts:
As I told a friend, this book tore my heart out in the sweetest way. In the lyrical style we've all come to expect from Maggie Stiefvater, The Scorpio Races features the juxtaposition of a hard, cold life on an unforgiving island with the delicate beauty of horses and the people who admire them. Harsh scenes of blood and anger are beautifully interspersed with scenes describing the loveliness of the relationship between horse and rider, or the budding romance between two characters who are just as wild and and stubborn as their surroundings. 

Those who have read my reviews know that I love well-written characters, and Maggie Stiefvater writes characters as well as any author I know. I could point out people I know in real life and claim that Maggie wrote her book based on these real people, only changing the names to protect the not-so-innocent. 

The plotline is not about nonstop action, so if that's what you're looking for, this book is not for you. This plot is about facing fears, self-discovery, and taking chances. It's about recognizing that having things and being happy are really unrelated things, and that may people experience one without the other. 

The setting, the island of Thisby, is perfectly magical for the mythological element of the novel: the water horses. If you don't know anything about water horse mythology, don't feel like you need to go out and educate yourself before reading this book. The author spins the mythology in a completely original way anyway; no previous experience required. 

Count on this one being in my list of favorites from 2011. I'm sure it will be on a lot of favorites lists, though. 

Summary from 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.


  1. I have a love hate relationship with this book, it was so beautiful, yet i did expect SO much more from it.

  2. @KThomas5- sorry to hear that. I hadn't heard much about it before I read, other than there were horses in it- so I had a pretty clean slate to read from. I usually am disappointed when I have too many expectations ahead of time.

  3. Thanks for the review. I am getting excited to read this book!

  4. I love this book hard. I started an audio re-read in November (hello, November cakes!) but sadly, I didn't like the narrators and felt like it would taint my fond memories. But Maggie stiefvater is the bomb so I'll eventually do another old-school read of it, just not audio.

  5. I love most of Stiefvater's books, but this one especially since it was a standalone. The concept was so unique, and I loved Puck and her relationships with her brothers and Sean.

  6. I teach 6th grade language arts and am always looking for a book my students would enjoy. They like action, intriguing characters, and complex story lines. I think The Scorpio Races would be a big hit!


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