If you’ve followed this blog for a substantial time you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater. Well, at least most of her books. I think Stiefvater’s words are like music. She paints a picture with her tone and voice and it flows from the pages to take residence inside you. Having broken my heart with FOREVER (read review)
THE SCORPIO RACES was a redeemer for me. The book was poetic in the interaction of characters and the way the story played out. I was captivated, horrified and enlightened from one moment to another. I don’t know many authors that can accomplish this. If you haven’t had the honor of reading a Stiefvater piece — go out and buy THE SCORPIO RACES, you will not be disappointed, because while it is just a story about a girl, a boy and two horses – the writing in-between makes it resonate.


On an island called Thisby water horses rise from the sea hungry and confused at the onset of winter. While their arrival is cause for terror as the horses feed on flesh, the islanders balance the fear of the horses with a race that they hold every year, called the Scorpio Race. The men of the island capture water horses and try to tame them, then they ride upon the shore in a bloody race that leaves a lot of people dead or seriously injured. This is the story of a girl named Kate and a boy named Sean. Both lost their parents to the horses and both are riding for very different reasons but in the end it breaks down to the same thing, they are chasing their dreams and trying to hold on to the unsteady life that is their island life.

Sean is the powerhouse, winner of four races, his horse Corr is a beast to be reckoned with. He is the races favorite, the horse whisperer that people call for him whenever the horses act up. Yet, even though he has won four races he is still indebted to his boss, who favors him, but not enough to give him the freedom he so desperately wants. To win this last race means freedom.

Kate Connelly is an orphan, her and her two brothers were left to fend for themselves on an unforgiving island. Her older brother has had enough and he is leaving her and her younger brother Finn. Without Gabe they will lose the house and be forced to work in the Mill or some other odd job that will mean overly hard work and bad living conditions. Kate signs up for the races to delay her brother’s departure and maybe save their house. She will be the first woman to ever enter the races and the other islanders are not taking kindly to her entry, especially when she decides to ride her own horse, an island pony, instead of a deadly water horse.

This is the story of a deadly race. People die, but in the midst of it all a boy and a girl find that they have more things to race for than just things like freedom and family. Just once they discover what they are truly racing for, will they survive?

Breathless, enchanting and horrific, Steifvater did not hold back anything. Stiefvater’s tales aren’t pretty little pieces; with candy and high schools and kisses… they are emotional and real. They sit in the pit of your stomach, sometimes hard to digest; yet the prose and lyrical writing makes it go down so easy. I would find myself fascinated with a description of a facial expression. I had never heard it described that way – but it made so much sense. Stiefvater sees the world in a different way and then expresses it in her writing, by the end of the story you’ll realize that you so desperately want to see the world how Maggie Stiefvater sees it…it would make life so much more interesting.

To be specific about this novel, the characters almost come to life. Kate (Puck) Connelly and Sean Kendrick are epic, they both have their little Idiosyncrasy which are so token Stiefvater. Their flaws and odd habits make them seem more real and relatable as opposed to some of the perfectly formed, über hotties with super powers that you see in other young adult novels. Then there is the setting of the novel…the cliffs of Thisby jump off the page with the wonderful descriptions, I could almost smell the sea as I turned the page. Then there was the story of the water horses, these great beasts that as the winter closed in on Thisby, would rise from the water and kill. They feasted on flesh, attacking humans, sheep and other domestic animals, even other horses. They are huge, menacing and fast, demons from the water that terrorized the island during a certain time each year. It seems so odd, but it was a wonderful story and definitely another PJV favorite. If you haven’t read any of Maggie Stiefvater’s writing you are really missing out. Why not start with THE SCORPIO RACES?


Recommended for mature teens, there is violence and a bit of language. Nothing inappropriate. If you enjoyed her Wolves of Mercy Fall you will like this one. But, note there is more focus on the plot then there is on romance.


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Young Adult Novel