Before I read The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, I'd only read (and loved) one of other her books (Shiver!). But even having so little experience, I knew right from the start that The Scorpio Races had a very different feel to any of Maggie's other books. And while I can see that some might find the changes in style and tone to be too big to navigate, I found The Scorpio Races to be hugely atmospheric and character-drawn and emotional. I love the descriptive way in which Maggie writes and how she has infused this book with so emotion and passion for what's writing about. I really loved The Scorpio Races and I hope others do as well!
What I think I loved the most about The Scorpio Races is the atmosphere of this magical little island, Thisby. It has a very isolated and rugged feel to it, a wildness that seems to also live inside the two main characters, Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick. It's an island where mythical horses come in from the sea once a year in order to feed. These horses are both feared and respected as are the brave riders who attempt to tame the horses long enough to ride them in the annual Scorpio Races.
Many dangers are faced when dealing with these horses - people die or are seriously hurt, people can be carried off back into the sea never to be seen again and both Puck's parents died in this way as did Sean's father. These horses really can't be tamed or trusted as they are both wild and dangerous. But if anyone were able to wield any kind of control over the water horses, it would be the Scorpio Races reigning champion, Sean Kendrick. Sean seems to understand the water-horses, seems to know how they think and feel and is able to use that knowledge in order to become a respected rider and water-horse handler. He rides in the Races for many reasons, but mostly in order to win the one thing he truly wants in life.
Puck Connolly on the other hand, though having lived on Thisby her entire life, has had little or no experience with the water-horses. Her reasons for entering the race are very different but no less important to her. She's the first female rider in the races and goes up against many challenges and difficulties. But she's brave and determined and I absolutely adored her.
There's so much to love about this book, especially this island filled with both beauty and death. But also these characters and their relationships with each other are an absolute joy to witness. Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick in particular. There's just something so wonderful about the two of them, the way in which they are with each other and the way they are able to understand the other so well despite how few words Sean actually speaks is great. The tension and attraction between them made my heart race but at the same time it ached as both Puck and Sean are competing for the same thing.
But beyond Puck and Sean, I also love the relationships that each has with their horses. Sean with the massive red water-horse Corr and Puck with her normal, loyal island horse, Dove. You can really tell how much Maggie Stiefvater must love horses and understands the bonds between horse and rider so well in order to write what she's written.
For me, The Scorpio Races was a brilliant read - it felt very different an unusual, with an atmospheric setting and wonderful characters who I began to really love. I really enjoyed coming across a very original and magical story such as this one and I really recommend it. Thank you to Luisa from Chicklish for kindly sending me this book for review!