Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mini book review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Welcome to another mini book reviews edition of my blog. For this section of my blog, I usually feature reviews of books that don’t really require them – books bought, books I’ve borrowed from friends and books I’ve taken out at the library.

Because they’re not must-review books, my format of these mini reviews differ in that I don’t work the summary into my review in my own words; instead, I feature the Goodreads summary, followed by a few thoughts on my reading experience.

In today’s mini reviews feature, I share my thoughts on The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

About The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic UK)

Every year, the Scorpio Races are run on the beaches of Skarmouth. Every year, the sea washes blood from the sand. To race the savage water horses can mean death, but the danger is irresistible.

When Puck enters the races to save her family, she is drawn to the mysterious Sean, the only person on the island capable of taming the beasts.

Even if they stay together, can they stay alive?

A breathtaking ride that will make your heart race

My thoughts:

Blood, beauty, old magic and the wild call of the sea... if that's not enough to tempt you into reading this, then I don't know what is.

Maggie Stiefvater has always had a reputation for writing beautiful and lyrical prose, and The Scorpio Races definitely lives up to that and so much more.

Admittedly, if you're not a fan of books that are descriptively languid with a slow build up to a climax, then you might want to give this a skip.


I hope you won't though, because Maggie's writing, world-building and character development combined, is something that every reader should at least experience once.

Based on a combination of Scottish and Irish mythology, Maggie brings to life a world that's deadly, untamed and indescribably beautiful.


Take deadly flesh-eating, blood-hungry water horses, add a horse whisperer who is as part of the horses as he is part of the sea and include a feisty, snappishly abrasive but incredibly brave heroine who dares to defy convention.

Mix it with
life on a misty, rugged and rocky island, age-old rituals and traditions, and the result is an exquisitely crafted and drawn out tale that both lulls you with its beauty and unsettles you with each turn of the page.

The Scorpio Races is a book that will make you long to heed the siren call of the ocean to ride untamed horses across an equally untamed sea.

You'll find yourself marvelling at the magic of Sean, whose legendary horse whispering magic has ensured that he's always won the deadly races run every year.

Not only that, but you'll also be rooting strongly for Puck, the only girl who defies tradition by not only opting to run a race on a horse that stands no chance against the riders who make use of the capaill uisce, but chooses to use her pony while standing strong against the sexist attitudes of the older men who think her presence during the races will only bring bad luck.


The romance, while not the focus of the novel, is sweet, subtle and incredibly intense for its subtlety.

The lengths Puck and Sean go to in order to help each other will make you long for the kind of connection they've built-up, while the races they run with their horses will make you long to take some lessons of your own.

And if that's still not enough to convince you to read it, then read it for the beautifully characterised relationship between Puck and her younger brother Finn, who suddenly have to grow up even more after their older brother's announced that he's moving away from the island.

All in all, The Scorpio Races is a book that is so much more than what it is at face value... and one that will leave you with a book hangover for days to come.

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