'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Review: 'The Scorpio Races' - Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater

The Scorpio Races


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.

My Review: 4/5*

OK, I will admit it took me awhile to get into this book. It’s my first experience of Maggie Stiefvater’s writing and I had been looking forward to reading it for quite a while, but once I’d cracked the cover and began to explore this new world it seemed so disappointing. I felt really disappointed by it and just could not come round to the idea of the ‘capaill uisce’. As my rating displays, the book clearly redeemed itself! Once the tale got going, I was fully immersed into life on the island of Thisby. I found myself understanding of Puck’s situation, wanting to look after Finn and to give Gale the big smack that he deserves! (Admittedly, towards the end of the novel I backtracked just a little on the Gale situation – I disagree with what he does but can see how Ms. Stiefvater turns him into a slightly more sympathetic character).

The figure of Puck was excellent. Even in the first few pages where I was unsure of where my opinion stood with regards to the book, I took an instant liking to her. Her fighting, can-do attitude is great to read (as you all know by now, I loveeeee powerful female figures, there’s nothing worse than a chick who will not do anything for herself. No damsels in distress please!) With it being a young adult novel, I believe her to be a fantastic role model to the younger generation. Forget Bella and focus on becoming more like Puck, the girl who will not back down from the Scorpio Races due to her gender and the dangers no matter what any of the citizens of Thisby says to her. Her protection of Finn is something extra which adds to her character as we see (I assumed her to be the youngest sibling, I have no idea if the book itself says this) the female figure protecting the male figure in a turn around on the traditional feminine roles.  The only truly strong male figure within the book, in my opinion, is Seth. So now, onto him.

Seth, Seth, Seth. He is another character which I instantly liked. The development of the relationship between Puck and Seth? Hmm, I found it a little unnecessary. A bit of fluff to lighten up the otherwise dark world of Thisby. Now I know that the relationship isn’t rainbows and butterflies but I felt that the novel could have left the pair as very close friends and gone no further. I enjoyed their romance don’t get me wrong, but I don’t feel as if it added anything to the novel. The event of the Scorpio Races was going to be tragic and heart wrenching regardless of the intimacy between the two protagonists. Despite this, I loved the mystery surrounding the figure of Seth. Why could he control and be so near the capaill uisce and not get hurt? How did he develop such a close bond with Corr? The novel slowly unravels his past and his bond forged between himself and Corr. The Scorpio Races to him are a way of trying to finally have Corr for himself and not have to worry about not being able to ride him in the next year’s races. It is a truly heartfelt relationship between the boy and the, what has been portrayed as completely savage water horses. Stiefvater wonderfully portrays this relationship and displays that, despite their savage nature, these horses are still capable of compassion and love for those that look after and love them. This is what helped me through this book. He is constantly described as having ‘one foot in the sea’ and I think this is what makes him so likeable. Puck’s slow transformation and understanding of the capaill uisce – thanks to her relationship with Seth – is one of the most moving sections of the book.

The book definitely captivated me and I very much look forward to reading more works of Ms Stiefvater :).



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    Rainy Day Reads

  2. This book was recommended to me as a good alternate to my usual reading choices. I loved it. A well paced love story in a very unusual setting. Will definitely reread it again and again.
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