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The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (thoughts)

February 9, 2012

From the author’s website:
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.

Disclaimer: I did not love this book. Everyone else seems to love it, so perhaps I just wasn’t in the right head space for it. Or perhaps I’m becoming too cynical, or have read too much YA lately. Or perhaps it just wasn’t the book for me.

Right off the bat, the story just seemed oh so melodramatic. First you’ve got a misty, miserable island and hey, here’s an orphan, stuck working for someone he hates. Now, here are 3 more orphans of a once prominent family who now have to work menial jobs to scrape up just enough food to keep them from starving. It would only be worse if they were also homeless. Oh hey! Now here’s awful employer of orphan #1 come to repossess their house.

As the first half of the book continued, I just could not get into the story and could not get myself to care about the characters. It’s a frustrating feeling, not getting a book that people left and right are praising.  The first couple hundred pages were rough going, and I would have given up if it had not been for book club.

However, as I got closer to the end and got to the days leading up to the big race, I began to warm up to the story and characters. I even felt one or two tingles over Puck & Sean’s budding romance. Even the island of Thisby grew on me (could be something like the Shetland islands? But with carnivorous water horses rather than Shetland Ponies.) But by then it was too little too late, and overall The Scorpio Races ended up just being an okay read for me.

If you decide to read The Scorpio Races (which you probably should seeing as I’m in the minority for not loving it), I very highly recommend listening to Family Tree: The Roots by Radical Face while you read. The album is about the first two generations of a fictional family called the Northcotes, and it’s full of the same heartache, mystery, and loyalty found in The Scorpio Races.

My rating: 7.5/10
Soundtrack Saturday (featuring, of course, Radical Face)

EDIT: Some of the girls in my book club enjoyed the second half much more than the first half, so at least I wasn’t alone in that respect.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2012 10:18 am

    I’m glad it eventually sorta won you over. Or at least made it worth your time.
    Great honest review doll :)

  2. February 9, 2012 11:25 am

    I cracked up at your second paragraph — hilarious. I enjoyed Stiefvater’s first wolf book — Shiver? — and some of her short fiction, but haven’t really gotten in to her other novels yet. I wonder if I’d feel the same way — an overabundance of melodrama can grate my nerves. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts — this will help me temper any expectations should I pick this book up!

  3. February 10, 2012 3:30 pm

    I know that frustrated, everyone-loves-this-but-I-don’t feeling all too well. I’ve been a little afraid of this book because I worry it’ll prompt the same response from me, but I’m sure I’ll give it a try eventually. From the library, of course.

  4. February 11, 2012 1:08 pm

    Yeah, I know the feeling of not liking a book that others have loved but that’s okay. Like you said it could be because of several reasons. Sometimes I like melodramatic and other times it can really really grate on my nerves.

  5. February 12, 2012 8:28 pm

    I get that when you read something everyone loves and you are wondering what the big deal is…. then you think its not the book… its you….LOL

    I have not read this one yet but admit the synopsis does not grab me, the only reason I consider it as I have enjoyed the author in the past.

  6. February 15, 2012 6:18 pm

    I’ve actually heard really mixed things on this book – I think it must be one of those “love it or hate it” kind of things. I haven’t read this one yet, I’m really wondering if I’ll like it or not!

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