Publisher: Scholastic (2011)
Hardcover (404 pages)
Also by this author: Shiver, The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves
Reading Challenges: Read 2015
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.
So with the title and cover I was thinking this horse race was going to be like the Palio di Siena held in Siena, Italy every year. That doesn’t really have a thing to do with what this book is about.
The book is actually about a small island called Thisby. Every fall these water horses (capaill uisce) come up from the sea and wreak havoc on the islanders. They are brutal horses with a taste for blood and not at all picky where they get it. These water horses are creepy. They are so creepy you would want to run away screaming in terror. Only don’t run because then they will chase you down and kill you.
Every year in November there is a race with these water horses along the beach. I really don’t think that is the smartest location choice as the “magic” of the water horses can lull the rider enough that the horse can swim out to sea and drown the rider. The water horse will then likely eat the rider. Are you creeped out yet?
When Kate (Puck) Connolly announces that she is going to enter the race, she is at first just thinking of a way to get her older brother, Gabe, to stay on the island a few weeks longer. Puck also refuses to ride a water horse on principle because the water horses killed her parents leaving only Gabe, Puck, and their younger brother Finn. Puck instead decides to ride Dove, her trusty island horse.
Puck is trying to pick up the pieces of everything to somehow keep the house she grew up in. She tries so hard to stay strong for Finn as they are the only family each other will have left when Gabe leaves for the mainland.
Sean Kendrick at nineteen has won the Scorpio Races multiple times. He has a way with the water horses. At first, he is adamant that Puck and Dove have no place on the beach as Puck is not a boy and Dove is not a water horse. Then later he says that Puck has the right to try just like anyone else.
Sean Kendrick is an interesting fellow who keeps his secrets to himself. All he wants in the world seems to be Corr, his water horse that technically belongs to him employer Mr Malvern.
This book was so unlike anything I have ever read. The setting is so very real it seems entirely possible there could be an island called Thisby where, every fall, ravenous water horses emerge from the sea.
- You Read How Many Books? Reading Challenge