Friday, August 3, 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I checked this book out from my school library because I didn't own it.  And once again, I have to admit, I was surprised by how much I loved this book.  I don't know why, I love Maggie Stiefvater's wolf series.  But the synopsis of this story just didn't grab me.  But, when I saw my school had it, I went ahead and checked it out, thinking I'd have plenty of time to read it this summer.  And I picked it up this past week, and I'm so glad I did!  I was just once again sucked into the characters, Stiefvater does such a great job of creating characters that you really want to find out more about them and what will happen.  And this story is no different.  We get to hear the story from two characters' viewpoints.
First is Sean Kendrick.  We begin the story with the death of his father in the Scorpio Races 9 years before the main story.  What they ride in these races are water horses.  These are "horses" that come out of the water.  And they are not like normal horses, they are much faster and bigger, and dangerous.  Even during the rest of the year, going into the ocean can be deadly, as they will pull people under and eat them.  For the Scorpio Races, people around the island, and tourists, capture them when they come out of the water, and try to train them to race.  During the race, there will always be people killed.  Sean is now working for the biggest horse breeder on the island, Malvern Yard.  While the father is mostly fair, he won't sell Sean the red water horse, Corr, that Sean always rides in the races, and has won on 4 of the last 6 years.  But Mutt Malvern, the son of the big man, doesn't like Sean.  In fact, it is probably a lot that he is jealous of Sean, because as we see later in the book, it is easy to tell that the father respects Sean more.  But it is easy to see why as we learn more about Mutt.  All Sean really wants is to be able to own Corr and live his own life.  But he is an expert with both the horses and water horses, and so is invaluable to Mr. Mavern.
Our other main character is Puck, or Kate Connolly.  Puck and her two brothers are orphans, their parents were killed by water horses.  Her older brother Gabe breaks the news that he is going to leave the island, and doesn't plan to take Puck or Finn, their younger brother, with him.  They're barely making it, and so Puck has decided to ride in the Scorpio races, something that women are not able or at least have never done.  She doesn't have money to get a water horse, or a way to capture one on her own.  And while twice she almost has the opportunity to get one, it doesn't work out either time, and so she is choosing to ride her own normal horse Dove.  She soon learns that Mr. Malvern plans to take their house as they haven't made a payment on the mortgage since when her parents passed away.  She makes a deal with him, to wait until after the Scorpio Race, because if she wins, she might have the money to save it.  She also convinces Gabe to wait to leave until after as well.
On the beach with the training and registering and bartering of the horses, Puck and Sean do notice each other.  First when Dove causes one of the water horses to attack, as they see the normal horse as food.  Sean tells her not to bring that horse back to the beach.  So Puck must find another way to train, but must be within a certain distance of the ocean to train.  She and Sean are somewhat drawn together, finding ways that they can help each other.  Puck must deal with people not wanting her to race because she is a girl, and Sean must deal with Mutt's tricks that cause him many problems.
Maggie Stiefvater and I at BEA
The story is filled with heartache, and realistic feeling love.  The characters in town, and those who are tourists even fill the story quite well.  Once again Stiefvater has really pulled me in.  I may have to try her Books of Faerie series, even though I've never really been interested in faerie stories, because I'm sure she's written them in a way I can't help but be drawn in.  Great book!