Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (fantasy)

October 2011, Scholastic
404 pages, Paperback
Review copy

Literary fantasy
Some brutal, horrible deaths

Summary from Scholastic:

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.

Amy's Thoughts:

This is not a book to squee over; this is a book to quietly die for. I really, really don't know how to do this book justice in a review, so bear with me while I try.

The Scorpio Races is set on a small island in the UK, and the ocean permeates the story. More. This story IS the ocean. The ocean is vast and deep and dangerous and compelling, moody and tempestuous and utterly, utterly charming while at the same time pervaded by a dangerous undercurrent. Ocean, water, blue-brown-grey, gull crying in loneliness from the craggy cliffs and the wind whipping in your face - this is Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races.

It's quiet, and compelling, and oh, so utterly, utterly true. No, it's not a factual story, but what it says about people and life and grief and love - it's real. It's true.

I've never in my life hated an author before, not even when J.K. killed off beloved characters in her Harry Potter series. I cried, sure, just like I bawled my eyes out for the last three chapters of Marley and Me; but I've never hated an author for something they made happen in a book.

I hated Ms Stiefvater. At a certain point in the last quarter of The Scorpio Races, I wanted to throw it against a wall and scream in outrage and horror at the unfairness of it all. But I couldn't, because what she'd written was right; it was true. And I couldn't bring myself to not read the end, not see how it finished. And I'm so, so, so glad I did finish it, because the ending was worth waiting for, and is so bittersweetly beautiful that I'm literally crying again now remembering it.

I love this book. If you love human-animal connections, real romantic relationships that are more about mutual respect and understanding than mushiness, difficult decisions, wild places, bittersweet endings and of course, killer water horses, please: love this book too.

Final Conclusion:
This is the most heart-wrenching book I can ever remember reading. I want to carry it around with me forever to remind me of all that is beautiful and important in life - and what exactly love is.

Find Maggie Stiefvater on her website, and view the trailer for The scorpio Races here.

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