Friday, November 4, 2011

Review: The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater

#8 and a little bashful.

Hey! I know it has been entirely too long since my last blog post. Just want to throw out there that successfully completing grad school has been a top priority of mine recently.

But I wanted to stop by to give a quick review to The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater. Now ya'll (yes, I just said that.)--this is my finals week. I'm taking exams for yet another quarter (I know it was finals week last time I posted, but school is hard!) and I still find myself idiotically wasting time by treating my Nook like it is my only possession.

I'm not sorry that I did it though.

The Scorpio Races:
-pages: 416
-rating: 4.5/5

This book is dark. It is about courage, loyalty, and how much you are willing to do for what you love.
Stiefvater has created an altogether terrifying new type of paranormal monster: the capall uisce. They are essentially Kelpies, but the folklore surrounding those creatures don't quite match. For example, the capall uisce don't lie in wait of passersby to lure into being drowned. These horse-creatures are of the sea, yet manifest on the island of Thisby only during certain situations. They might go to land when they're hungry (a predator no one wants to meet), or during a storm--but the first week of November, the time of The Scorpio Races, is when they're more commonly found. Islanders of Thisby capture these creatures in the (usually vain) hopes of taming them enough to win the tradition-laden race. While I would never want to meet one on a bad day, the capall uisce are fascinating.

Besides the wonderful paranormal aspects, the characters in this book, their situations, radiate overwhelming sense of loss and hopelessness--yet all I did while reading was hope for them. That they would all get what they wanted--what they needed.
While in dire situations, however, the characters themselves aren't depressing. The book alternates points-of-view between 19-year-old Sean Kendrick and the younger (17? maybe? can't remember) Puck [Kate] Connolly. Both characters have a strong voice and are extremely likable. They remain steadfast and true no matter what island life and ill-fortune throws at them.
The review I'm posting is what I wrote in those first moments after finishing this book.
"Amazing. Absolutely wonderful. It's like Misty of Chincoteague met Hidalgo and the two came up with at YA fantasy/paranormal hybrid between them.
While reading The Scorpio Races, I was hit with at nostalgic pang of wonder, the likes of which the Misty books brought out in me as a child. Yet the dark mystery of the horses--the capall uisce--and the tale of Sean Kendrick and the Connolly clan had me flipping through the pages for entirely different reasons."

Some of those reasons being this:
1) The book isn't predictable. You think you know what might happen, but you want so many different things to happen all at once that you don't see how any of it could be possible. I was utterly resigned to being heartbroken in one way or another and I won't say whether or not I am because I don't want to give anything away to you should you decide to read it.
2) The romance. Yes, in typical YA fashion, there is a touch of romance--but the romance doesn't consume the story. It's heartwarming, understandable. I loved it.
3) This novel is stand-alone. STAND-ALONE! You get a resolution. [This excites me because I find it oh-so-devastating when sequels ruin a good thing]

I'm done listing reasons why I devoured this book, but that doesn't mean that there aren't more. I need to get back to studying for my next exam. Have a great day everyone!

What is the last book you just absolutely couldn't put down?