If you’ve read my previous posts about the books I’ve read, then you’ll know I don’t really write reviews. The way I see it, there are enough people who are far better reviewers than I am, writing far better reviews than I would so I don’t. What I do write are personal responses to the books I’ve loved.
Like Lynne Kelly’s Chained
And The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Maybe Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
My friend Kathryn Magendie’s Sweetie
Admittedly though, this one’s more of a review that my others were – I just couldn’t help myself. So without further ado, preamble or hoopla . . . here goes.
I read The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater who I saw at the Teen Book Con.
I’d never read anything by Stiefvater before and to be honest, if I hadn’t seen her at Teen Book Con and her book hadn’t been recommended by my friend Vicki, then I probably would not have read it now. And boy, would I have been missing out! I usually pick up another book as soon as I close the final page of one. But, having just finished it a few days ago, I felt as if other books might just suffer in comparison. Like reading another book right away would have paid Scorpio Races a disservice. And it’s way too good for that. In fact, my Facebook status announced how I was “ruined for other books” after reading it. So I’ve let Scorpio Races linger, simmering alone in the back of my memory like a visit from an old friend.
I’m a fairly discriminating reader, spoiled rotten by excellent writing. It’s why I can’t bring myself to read some of the recently wild successes. I’ve heard that the stories are great. But story alone doesn’t do it for me. The writing has to be good too. I suppose I’m a bit of a snob in that regard. But I sure didn’t have to worry about that with Scorpio Races! The writing itself is incredible with beautiful, rich descriptions of the setting, the people, the animals. Written in a dual first person point of view the story alternates between the voices of Puck and Sean, each remaining so distinct that it is impossible to confuse them. The way Stiefvater introduces their personalities a little at a time, the way she has each of them develop and evolve during the course of the story, the way she is light on physical description but heavy on their inner workings is just plain genius writing. Her supporting characters are all round and full and quirky or serious. Exactly what you’d expect to find in a small community.
The community is on an island, the island of Thisby, famous for the races that are held every year on the first of November. Up until now–up until Puck–the races have never been run by a female, nor by a hay-burning horse. Rather, it’s the men of the island, ones who’ve managed to capture and train a water horse, also known as capaill uisce (pronounced Copple ooshka). Unlike land horses, the uisce are flesh eaters. And the people of the island are some of their favorite fare. Getting one to carry you along a beach at breathtaking speeds while the jaws of a dozen more uisce snap at you from both sides . . . well, that can be a tad challenging. Meanwhile, your mount wants nothing more than to return to the ocean and dragging you along with it would be an acceptable trade off. Not everyone makes it to the finish line. Not everyone makes it . . . period.
So Puck loves her land horse, Dove and Sean loves his uisce, Core. But together they build a third relationship, a touching romance that moves slowly and surprises them both. It’s such an incredibly good book I really don’t want to say any more about it or I’ll say everything about it. You just have to read it yourself. Pick yourself up a copy at B&N before they go away! If you don’t want your own copy to keep, check one out of the library. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.