Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: Hardcover, 409 pages
Release Date: October 18th 2011
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
This is one of the stories that made me wonder what was the point of it all? Although the blurb makes the premise sound promising, it just didn't work out for me. At all.
The story revolves around a special species of horses called capall uisce who are violent sea creatures that feed on anything from a cat to a human and the Scorpio race that they are made to run in every November in a town called Thisby. I'm afraid to say that I don't know what's the timeline for this story, cause travel from America to England/London(?) is possible through ship (maybe?) and cars are around but no phones. It's all really vague and as I mentioned earlier, quite pointless. Anyway, I'm just going to start with all the problems I had with the story.
To start off, I had a huge problem with the premise. I feel like the author had a novel idea but no sense of direction when it came to executing it. I don't understand the concept of the race. Why would you wanna tame beasts and then race them when you're terrified for your life and for everyone else's in the village? From what I understand, those horses were like tigers or say, bears. Do we see anyone being stupid enough to ride a bear and then on top of that race it against other bears that could attack you anytime? Besides, why were those capall uisce only on Thisby? Why weren't they found anywhere else? I wasn't at all satisfied by the flimsy answer that Sean gave Holly.
If I try to move past the big gaping hole in the plot, I don't see any other redeeming qualities in the book either. The book is terribly slow paced and you only see characters trudging from one scene to another being sorry about the problems they have to face in their lives; and problems that we were introduced to at the very beginning of the book. I was hoping to get some background on how the races came into being, how the tradition started, why it was important to carry it on or you know, some action in between before the final race. Alas, I was left disappointed and sorely weary by the time I reached the end of the book.
If you're wondering about the characters and their impact on the story, I'm sorry to say that they were nothing but a complete letdown. Only if they could have made me care about the story line, the book would have a rounded 3 stars rating. *sigh*
I'll start with Puck. She is one of the three orphan Connolly's whose parents died in a boat accident at the sea cause of those horses, I believe. Her remaining family is in tatters and short on money as one would expect. She's making days go by until one day she finds out that her elder brother, the sole caretaker of her and her younger brother Finn, is deciding to leave the town to go the mainland without them. I know it's mighty selfish of Gabe, her older brother, but I can see why he would choose to do that and don't really blame him for his choice. But this doesn't sit well with Puck for the obvious reasons, and on a whim, she decides to participate in the Scorpio races hoping it would make her brother stay. It has the effect, albeit temporary, but it opens up another bag of problems for her. She has to bear the entire town's scorn for being the first woman to participate in the races and on top of that, she has the fear of racing against the giant, powerful and awfully fast horses on her regular, not as powerful, and definitely slower mare, Dove. I don't mind her much as a character and I think she did a good job after all, but that's it. I don't feel too strongly for or against her and that's the main problem.
Same goes for Sean's character. He's been an orphan since his father died in one of the Scorpio races when he was 10. He got his father's job and has been caring for horses for 9 years now. He has a special relationship with his father's horse, Corr. Even though he doesn't trust the beast, he loves him and considers him family. All he wants in life is to be able to be with Corr and have his freedom. The thing is, Sean is just too drab for me. He is too flat a character to be likable IMO.
When it comes to the relationship that Puck and Sean share, I really couldn't care less. I can see why they would bond and I am okay with the direction the author took their relationship to, but I truly don't care.
To sum it all up, I would say that there wasn't anything in this book that could keep me entertained or bothered at all. Thus the 2.5 rating.