Book Review – The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio RacesThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Only nineteen years old, taciturn Sean Kendrick is the reigning champion of the Scorpio Races, where the capaill uisce (carnivorous water horses) can be more vicious than the humans riding them, and a usual race incurs multiple fatalities. Sean is riding as an employee of the stable though, trying to get enough money from winnings to purchase the capaill uisce he alone rides and understands, the same one who killed is father in the races many years ago.

Puck Conolly lives out of town with her brothers, having lost both her parents to accidents. Her older brother has been protecting her, so it comes as a surprise when she finds out he’s leaving, and that their house is to be repossessed, as the payments haven’t been made on it. Feeling she has no other choices, Puck nominates to enter the Scorpio Race, as the winnings, if she survives, will stop her losing her family home. However there’s never been a female contender before, and the town isn’t the most welcoming towards equality, so Puck faces an uphill battle to compete, never mind obtain a water horse to actually race.

Competitors for the same prize pool, each with a driving need to win, Puck and Sean find themselves drawn to each other, but the race day is rapidly approaching.

I picked this book up after a recommendation from the Writer and the Critic podcast, and wasn’t disappointed that I’d done so. The book is a little more character driven than plot driven, but there was enough plot to keep me interested and reading.

I very much enjoyed the concept of a race based on attempting to ride these barely tame, vicious, carnivorous horses and also the various tensions that existed between Sean and his employer, Sean and Puck and Puck and the villagers wanting to stop her from racing.

The tension and suspense was well built up, and maintained throughout the the story, leading to a very satisfying climax of the race itself.

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