Review: The Scorpio Races – What Are You Racing For?

Posted March 18, 2015 in Reading, Review / 4 Comments

Review: The Scorpio Races – What Are You Racing For?The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic (2011)
Hardcover (404 pages)
Via: Library
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.

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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.

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4 responses to “Review: The Scorpio Races – What Are You Racing For?

  1. The Scorpio Races was my first Maggie Stiefvater novel, and I loved it. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t this! I’m not sure if you ever listen to audiobooks, but I highly recommend this one. Both narrators are amazing!

    • I know what you mean about not expecting this novel. It is quite original! 🙂
      My library has the audiobook which is what I have been considering for a reread. I usually listen to quite a few audiobooks due to the time it takes to go to any sort of store in Montana. This weekend, for example, I had a five hour drive to the city one way yesterday and will be driving home tomorrow after visiting my sister. Audiobooks make life so much easier out here.
      Thanks for visiting!

      • Audiobooks are perfect for re-reading and for car trips. I can’t imagine having to drive so long to go shopping, though. Even for groceries?!

        • The grocery store is about 5-10 minutes away but there isn’t always a very great selection… or fresh fruit/veggies. Much as I love Montana, there are some things that aren’t quite so great. 🙂