Release: October 18, 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.
As a child, I was enchanted by horses. Whether I was watching them from afar or riding on one’s back, I was utterly mystified by them. Of all the things I loved about horses, my favorite was their fierce bonds with their owners. At the barn where I rode off and on throughout my adolescence, there were a handful of long-term riders who were completely devoted to their mounts and vice versa. When I watched these people ride, I felt as though I was witnessing something incredibly rare and entirely magical.
Maggie Steifvater captured this relationship perfectly in The Scorpio Races, capturing my heart as a result.
Of course, the relationship I’m talking about is not technically between a horse and a rider. The creatures at the heart of this magical story are not gentle ponies or powerful thoroughbreds. Rather, they are the cappail uisce, a mythological breed of carnivorous horses that emerge from the sea every November. Equal parts terrifying and captivating, these ferocious beasts gave the novel a feel unlike anything I have encountered before.
Much to my surprise, the Scorpio Races were not the main focus of the novel. Rather, Stiefvater focused on developing the island of Thisby and its inhabitants. The island very well may be as magical as the creatures that emerge from the seas around it. Every character, every custom, every delectable pastry was described and developed beautifully. I quickly found myself lost in Thisby, as excited to simply be there as to be following the course of the novel.
It is truly difficult to put my feelings into words. The Scorpio Races was, quite simply, a masterful creation on all levels.