The Scorpio Races Book Review

The Scorpio Races Book Review

The Scorpio Races tells the chilling story of the rocky and barren island of Thisby, its surrounding cliffs and dangerous autumn ocean. Every fall, blood-thirsty water horses climb out from frothing waves, and the islanders harness them with the intent of competing in annual The Scorpio Races. Some riders die. One rider wins. The story, the writing, the images—they’re haunting in a quietly eerie way. Stiefvater writes magical realism at its finest: man-eating water horses that are strangely believable on a small English island, seemingly paused in time a few decades before our own.

The novel is narrated in alternating, third-person points of view between Puck Connely and Sean Kendricks. Puck Connely is a beautifully feisty, orphaned, and eager redhead. She’s the perfect blend of uncertainty and confidence, chock-full of personality in everything she does and says. I aspire to write characters half this good. I loved her voice, and I loved her two brothers. Gabe, six years older, longs for an escape to the main land. Finn, a couple years younger than seventeen-year-old Puck, is trying at once to figure out himself and the people around him.
Sean Kendricks is a completely absorbing character to read about: stoic, quiet, powerful, raw, and a four-time winner of The Scorpio Races. Moving past the main characters, the secondary were just as fleshed-out and interesting. Holly, the rich, American, self-proclaimed horse enthusiast and Peg, the local pub owner were solidly good people, and even the characters that were solidly bad people, fascinated me.
One of the things Maggie Stiefvater does best is atmosphere, so let’s dedicate some time to that. This book is shades of gray storm clouds, ocean blue, and dark, wet, autumn red. It smells like fog and hay and fresh bread and wet horse. It’s ocean-salted air against pink cheeks and worn knit sweaters; it’s biking down pebble roads and daunting beaches.
Read this book as fall weather nears, curled up next to a window and listening to the wind against your house. I hope you enjoy!