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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 dieAt 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 themPuck 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

10 thoughts on “The Scorpio Races

  1. says:

    “It is the first day of November and so today someone will die”With these haunting words laid out like a feast of uncertainty and doom Maggie Stiefvater launches a new telling of an old tale inspired by elements of Celtic mythology legends of the water horses and her own imaginationAnd nothing had ever been beautiful or fearsome or bizarre So what's this book about? Each October dread settles over the island of Thisby as The Scorpio sea throws capaill uisce—commonly known as water horses—onto its shore and a hint of fear mingles with the ocean breeze as the dreamlike unreality of such delectable creatures warries with the gruesome truth of their deadly nature Every first of November—a date bound to loom large in the landscape of the islanders’ mind—the Scorpio Races are held and young men compete in a beachfront race to the death astride the capaill uisce with such longing in them all bound up in hesitancy as though they yearned for connection but the mounts didn’t reciprocate their desiresSean Kendrick has carved his life out of the land of sea and sand and fatal beautiful horses Four years running champion of The Scorpio Races he is locally reputed as the best capaill uisce trainer but he remains bound to the wealthy Malverns for whom he works as a stable hand Of all the things Sean Kendrick has conjured in years of yearning for an independent life buying the right to his water horse stallion Corr was a thing he only folded inside his heart until he was assailed anew by the brew of feelings that had churned in him at the terrible clear eyed certainty that it was now or neverKatherine “Puck” Donnelly becomes the first woman to ever compete in the Scorpio Races rolling the dice on her own survival for her family’s sake which had seemed—after her eldest brother decided to move to the mainland and abandon her alongside her younger brother—to be drifting away from each other like untethered boats in the mercy of the tides Signing up with her simple land mare Puck knows that her chances are slim but she was so far down this path that to turn around would be to face a howling dark tunnel with nothing at its end And with that realization Puck feels it take root within her this purpose as though speaking it gave it the light it needed to growPuck is a counterpoint to Sean both of them forged the horrific day they’ve been orphaned by the capaill uisce both of them saddled with the determination to win the race both of them creatures riddled with empty spaces that swelled and hurt with the same species of hope fragile and sullied by fear and uncertainty But there could be only one winner So is it  possible that all their jagged edges might fit together like puzzle pieces or would they look to each other for the faith they kept between them and begin to find only doom instead? “I say 'I will not be your weakness Sean Kendrick'Now he looks at me He says very softly 'It’s late for that Puck'” While the world that Stiefvater builds here is thinly sketched formed only roughly with a few shadows here and there like wisps of smoke it's tantalizing rather than incomplete and it’s than enough to leave the vibrant suggestion of magic The Scorpio Races ultimately is a set of brilliant moments woven together with a sure hand and structured around a simple plot that illuminates with rich prose and richer structure a set of very real very damaged very hopeful characters learning the courage it takes to reveal their authentic selves to each other and to the worldThis is the kind of story that circles around you two three times before drawing you in to an oddly poetic tale of magic and passion desire and longing It’s so easy to let your mind relax into the fantasy of it and let the familiarity of Stiefvater's storytelling and characterization wear away all the sharp startling edges of a novel world and an even unfamiliar myth I loved every minute of itI also love Sean and Puck so much I wish I could put them in a giant envelope and mail them away from all the bad guysFrom the beginning they feel like characters you’ve known for years It’s not that they’re tropes—far from it—but Stiefvater is just so deft at crafting characters that feel fully fleshed out and real than reflections in a mirror There was so much in them a lifetime’s worth of feeling and yearning—many lifetimes’ worth—concentrated into a single moment at the end and it made reading this book feel like being locked out of a room while someone you love is trapped inside with unknowable terrors I love how Puck fought with impressive assertiveness everyone who belittled her for imagining she could possibly have had the bad taste to compete in a sport “designated for men” and how Sean fought for his right to claim Corr with every scrap of will and had none left over for meeknessBut as much as I love them individually collectively they justset ablaze the entire story There is so much else going on in their lives—hellish heavenly and in between—but together they have a way of being untouchable of being above peering down at the rest of the islanders from some lofty place they made from their ragged hearts and every moment of peace they stole from the jaws of chaos I love how they were both rooting out darkness in each other desire and faith they’d never imagined themselves capable of and how the stone foundation of their romance was a deep love found in companionship and mutual respect It wasn’t something they eagerly sought it just came to them naturally when it was time and it was just so clutches chest so beautifulI don't how else to say “I love this book so much” and make you eager to read it but I'll say this if I could just steal a moment from this story—the breeze scented with the last dying gasp of winter and tracing across closed eyelids the ground soft and sandy the ocean rocking against the shore the freedom and these moments of being “so so alive” on a horse’s back ripping through the wind—and exist in it forever I would be so content☆ ko fi ★ blog ☆ twitter ★ tumblr ☆

  2. says:

    You know I had to It IS my favorite of all my books after all

  3. says:

    read 4 | sept 2020I missed this book so much 😭 I actually teared up while listening to the audio again and I sit here in awe of the craft and skill that went into making a book feel so ancient and beautiful reckless and solid wild and aching It's phenomenal one of the best books I've ever read I just want to fold into the pages never leaveread 3 | november 2017So I purely reread this for the aesthetic of NOVEMBER 1st Go me I am shallow and great And also I love this book so bloody much it actually hurts my heart I am hopelessly and utterly in love with Sean and Corr and Thisby and every word choice is so PERFECT that it melts meNotable Thoughts• can Holly pls adopt Sean• Puck keeps trying to be less vinegar but she should be all the vinegar• 99% sure Finn has OCD and it is such a good rep• Gabe and Tommy Falks are my new ship don't me• SEAN FREAKING KENDRICK 3 3• also shout out to the fact that this is truly the best romance of life and Sean and Puck like barely have to hold hands or kiss to be the most beautiful relationship of the world• also why can't I have • sean tho• i need to go sit down i have emotionsread 2 | june 2016 This book means so very much to me You know those books that are just yours for some reason? This one mine It started me on YA I read it after The Hunger Games and there was noooo going back afterwards YA OBSESSION HERE WE COME Not to mention my deep eternally wildly fangirling permanent adoration of all things Stiefvater She is my most favourite author of the universe Why? THIS IS WHY Flawless books of utter writing perfection and characters that steal your heart omg I honestlyI'm just a mess of feelingsRe reading this was like coming home to old friends It's been 4 years since I read it I FORGOT SO MUCH I had like 9 anxieties reading it even though I'd already read it I fell hopelessly back in love with Sean Kendrick It's the uietness I LOVE UIETNESS Sean says 1 word where everyone says 6 Me toooooo Or else I say 0 words where everyone says 6 and wait until they're definitely listening to talk His non talking ness just resonated wtih me aGAIN And Puck's vinegar and sugar temperament I just love endlessly ALSO FINN; the precious He is probably one of the bestly written characters with OCD I've ever readespecially in a fantasy I think Maggie Stiefvater has OCD right? So you can tell this is just crafted so beautifully and thoughtfully I just wish I knew how old he was dangit I just KEEP WONDERING I'm going to say 13 maybe?The way Thisby always catches my heart so muchNeedless to say this is one of my all time favourite books of the universeNotethe audiobook is freaking fantastic by the way BEST choice for the re read The actors are impeccable and it has music by Maggie Stiefvater

  4. says:

    ”Somewhere close by a man is moaning; he’s been trampled or thrown or bitten He sounds resentful or surprised Did no one tell him that pain lives in this sand dug in and watered with our blood?”I really don’t know where I should start with this review because just like any of Maggie’s other books this one wasn’t only magical but also so damn atmospheric that it’s than just hard to put my feelings into proper words There is something in the way she writes that always captures the emotions and the essence of a certain season or time In “Shiver” it was winter in TRC it’s that foggy otherworldly atmosphere of Cabeswater and in “The Scorpio Races” it was autumn and the daily life on an island I swear I could feel the cold autumn wind on my skin and I could smell the leaves and the sea with my nose while I read this book It was done so perfectly that I immerged into a totally different world and just like Puck and Sean and Craig ; P I couldn’t help but fall in love with the capaill uisce Those water horses were so awesome I can’t even 333 ”The capaill uisce plunged down the sand skirmishing and bucking shaking the sea foam out of their manes and the Atlantic from their hooves They screamed back to the others still in the water high wails that raised the hair on my arms They were swift and deadly savage and beautiful The horses were giants at once the ocean and the island and that was when I loved them” I love how Maggie described them and I also love that she researched the myths and folklore of water horses They are indeed very fascinating and if you want to delve a little deeper you just have to look them up under “cabyll ushtey” Anyway back to the actual water horses of this book They were amazing and I loved their beautiful violent and graceful nature It’s kind of obvious Maggie has some experience with horses because I think otherwise she would have never been able to write about them so convincingly There’s a deep respect in her words and you can feel it whenever you read Sean’s or Pucks POV And tell you what? I loved that aspect of the book It made it so good and realistic that I was almost convinced those horses actually exist lol And this ultimately brings me right to the two main characters of “The Scorpio Races” Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick 333 ”And then I see him A dark haired boy who is made of all corners He is standing next in line by the counter silent and still in his blue black jacket his arms folded across his chest He looks out of place and wild in here expression sharp collar turned up against the back of his neck hair still windblown from the beach” ”My mother always said that I was born out of a bottle of vinegar instead of born from a womb and that she and my father bathed me in sugar for three days to wash it off I try to behave but I always go back to the vinegar” I adored them both XD Sean Kendrick was a mystery to everyone but himself and Puck Connolly was an open book that had its own secrets They were two really intriguing characters and before I even knew it I was already pulling for them lol Even though they both had a rather rough life they still decided to fight for their dreams and they truly did everything possible in order to achieve their goals They really dealt with every blow that came their way and they did it with fierce determination 3 ”The truth is this for eleven months of the year I make myself valuable to Malvern and then for one month I make myself invaluable Would he be willing to give up that one month to keep the other eleven? Am I willing to risk it?” ”Why is it that going away is the standard? Does anyone ask you why you stay Sean Kendrick?”“They do”“And why do you?”“The sky and the sand and the sea and Corr”This is such a perfect uote because Sean and Puck ARE the embodiment of the island They are deeply rooted in its sand and unlike so many of the islands other inhabitants they can’t even imagine to leave it one day It’s their heart their home and the place they belong to and I think Maggie conveyed that feeling than just well Still the island is its own entity and there are people that make it hard to enjoy the wilderness of this land First and foremost Benjamin Malvern and his demon of a son called Mutt ”And I told you before I’ll sell you any of the thoroughbreds”“I didn’t make any of those thoroughbreds I didn’t make them what they are”Malvern says “You made all of them what they are”I don’t look at him “None of them made me who I am” ”Mr Kendrick was born on a horse and he’ll die on one and maybe that’s not something you can breed for He’s one of those rare men who can make a horse work for him but never asks for than they have”It was so obvious that Benjamin Malvern had a deep respect for Sean yet at the same time he refused to let him go Ever the business man he tied him to his stable making him just another one of his precious horses I hated Benjamin Malvern so much for that and I despised him even for being aware of Sean’s talent and keeping him under his thumb And I don’t even want to speak about Mutt Malvern that – excuse my crude language – sadistic douche bag Gosh there were moments I wanted to slap some sense into him and I am a pacifist and actually never slapped anyone My only weapons are words lol ARGH Just to think about Mutt makes my blood boil such a despicable a ”At the sound of them the red stallion flinches as if the bells are physically painful and I find myself unexpectedly blinking away tears Sean Kendrick turns his face awayThere’s something so wretched in that that I can’t just leave him there by himself”I swear Sean and Puck had to put up with so many things before the races and I loved them so much for never giving up Plus I also liked that Puck was the first woman to ever take part in the races Thank you Maggie for inventing a strong female character people are able to look up to We still need of those 3 And last but not least another thing I’m very thankful for A slow realistic burn and a relationship that was built on mutual respect and the love for their horses and home THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT 333 I say “I will not be your weakness Sean Kendrick”Now he looks at me He says very softly “It’s late for that Puck”All told I really loved this book “The Scorpio Races” was an awesome “ride” and the ending was as bittersweet as dark chocolate with a pinch of salt in it TTHighly recommended and definitely once again an amazing Maggie Stiefvater book ; Since this was another buddy read with my amazing Sugar Bun I want to use the chance to thank him for this cool and funny BR I think our next one is already pending Do you still have a copy of “Linger”? lol I have the feeling that you’ll need a yucky romance soon Haha ; P

  5. says:

    Also posted on STRANGEMORECOMThis is basically the paranormal version of Misty of Chincatigue with gasp romanceLike Hidalgo on the beach instead of the desert with gasp kissing Between two riders NOT between the horse and it's rider though Well sometimes between the horse and it's rider Just a littleWhen this book started it felt like a breath of fresh sea air not rife with the smell of YA cliche That was mainly because I thought this book was told from the alternating perspective of two boys Sean and Puck which would have been a nice change for Steifvater Maybe I was in the mood for a buddy story or a brother story instead of the usual stereotypical romance But it wasn't meant to be you see because Puck is a SHE and not a he Sorry my inner Dr Suess came out for a secondNot that this is a spoiler or anything as it it mentioned fairly uickly It was just something my mind was set against I wanted Puck to be a boy I'm tired of the here's a girl who does this and here's a boy who does that hmmmm I wonder when and how they'll meet and gee wouldn't it be weird if they fell in love because oh boy we've never seen THAT happen before The Rundown I understand now why the blurb is so impossibly vague This is a difficult book to sum upTwo individuals Sean and Puck are preparing separately for the annual Scorpio Races where the dangerous water horses of Thisby face off against each other with their riders and generally lots of bloodshed until their lives eventually collide into each other Sean is the typical Thisby teen boy who just so happens to compete every year in the races Puck is a young girl having some family issues in particular with her brother's desire to leave the family home and the island that they live on and she thinks that competing in the Races will force her brother to stick around But Puck decides to race her regular horse against the blood thirsty water horses which cause uite a stir and tons of problems And that's just the beginning The Writing and World Building If there was one word to describe this book it would definitely be atmospheric The descriptions were gorgeous but the location for the book is than a little mind boggling It seems to be a created fantasy island located in Ireland? I think The term they use for the water horses is a Gaelic term but it takes place on a fictional island I guess? The specifics are never really laid out about where or what or when this Thisby isMany reviewers raised concerns about the lack of world building in the Maggie's Wolves of Mercy Falls series That being said I feel like she almost went in the opposite direction with way too much world building including tiny details about minor characters and it honestly wasn't very interesting to me The characters all had their own uirks and backgrounds but we were told too much and too often about them More than was necessaryHowever the world that she built around The Scorpio Races was much better than the world of Mercy Falls The prose isn't uite as purple and the romance isn't nearly as cheddar I'd say it's like a magenta colby jack It was just a very bland and tasteless magenta colby jack The Pacing Pacing was my biggest problem with The Scorpio Races It takes at least 100 pages or so before anything remotely interesting happens Usually by then I would have put a book down not knowing whether or not I would pick it back up but because this is an upcoming release I felt like I needed to keep going In addition because of the way the environments are described and the action builds slowly a certain intrigue simmers in your mind and drives you forward regardless of the slow start But I'm not entirely sure that the pay off was worth the anticipationAround page 380 the seemingly fabled races begin Now that would have been a great place to start the book Because up until that point almost NOTHING had happened It was all setup I'm sorry but I do not need three hundred and eighty pages of setup Even if it has pretty words and HORSESBecause by the time that part finally came around and I thought Now this could be interesting it was much too late I was looooong past mentally checked out and had become disinvested and disinterestedThis might come off rude but this is the best way I know how too explain what it seems like has happenedYou know when a little girl first discovers the way her skirt twirls when she spins? It's cute right? You're like Oh isn't that precious She's twirling But then it's two weeks later and she's STILL twirling like the world won't be able to turn itself if she stops you're like Okay we get it You can twirl But you can't say that because then you're just being an asshole for ruining a little girl's twirl timeWell Maggie Steifvater can twirl and whirl and swirl and canter and whinny It just seems like the author discovered for the first time Wow I can write pretty prose Let's throw some of that in thereDon't get me wrong It is pretty But holy well of words do we need SO much of it?The Scorpio Races don't actually happen until the last 20 or 30 pages of the book and even then the actual Races only last about 12 pages the rest is aftermath For a book that's 410 pages long that is not a good chunk of the content Only about 3 percent of it in fact Maybe it should have been titled The 380 pages leading up to the Scorpio racesI mean sure Hunger Games had some setup as well But it would have been an entirely different book had the Games only lasted 12 pages Who Should or Should Not Read It I wouldn't read this book again And I wouldn't recommend it for a lot of people But I think a lot of people will read it anywayHere's why1 It is written by Maggie Stiefvater2 It is a paranormal written by Maggie Stiefvater3 It is a paranormal written by Maggie Stiefvater about HORSES HORSES HORSES HORSES HORSES HORSES254 It is a standalone FinallyIf you hated Shiver then you'll probably hate this one as well If you loved Shiver then you might love this oneRight around the time that the Black Beauty movie with Chris O'Donnell came out I went through horse phase like many young girls probably do But I got over it and I think I'm still over it which might be why I didn't love this book I also went through a dog phase Old Yeller Rin Tin Tin Turner and Hooch except that I never grew out of it and never willI think Horse People will love this book Keep in mind that there is a big difference between liking horses and being a Horse Person I like horses They are pretty and I like to imagine them with horns or wings or gills but my thoughts don't revolve around them I am a Dog PersonI've heard people say that horses are like really big dogs but I think that those people are just Horse People trying to convince you to be a Horse Person When really it's like comparing Chihuahuas to Labradors Some people say that small dogs and big dogs are the same They aren't Not even close Usually those who say that are Small Dog People trying to convince you to be a Small Dog Person This isn't to say that any of them are better or worse than the other they are just different I am a Big Dog person not a Horse Person not a Small Dog PersonIf this had been about magical sea faring German Shepherds I would have LOVED it probably Other Thoughts The one thing I really like about what Maggie did with this book though the same may not be said for Shiver is that she didn't follow the pack with The Scorpio Races After the vampire werewolf craze hit and SMeyer announced on her website that she was writing a mermaid book strangely we saw a surge in the number of mermaid based books on the market many of a uestionable uality due to the fact that they were most likely rushed onto the shelves Maggie didn't go with the surge but she didn't go against it either She went along side it by creating her own mythology similar to many ocean based tales It wouldn't be surprising if we see a rise in ocean based mythology books after The Scorpio RacesAlthough the pacing is slower and the story not uite as involving as Shiver this book still seems to be a step in a better direction albeit almost too far a step for Maggie The world building is much fully realized and detailed than that of Shiver and the storyline isn't purely romance based which leads me to think that maybe just maybe authors do pay attention to reviewers complaints Maybe she just decided to put time into her world building on her own or maybe hopefully we are having some minuscule effect on how the book world evolves And that makes me very VERY happy The Verdict The Wolves of Mercy Falls was just a little too soft for me and the Scorpio Races was just a little too hard so maybe by the time the next book comes around from Ms Stiefavter that one will be juuuuust right for this little goldilocksI'm giving it two stars because it was written well just badly paced and plotted in my opinion The pretty words weren't enough to make up for the boredom And unfortunately I never connected to the characters or the romance between themThe thing that frustrates me the most about books is when feel like I didn't learn anything I don't really mind not being entertained if I take something away from it that I had never thought about before But I at least want one or the otherIf you aren't going to entertain me then teach me something If you aren't going to teach me something then by George Washington at least ENTERTAIN me I'm very sorry to say that this book did neither But that isn't to say that you will feel the samePersonally I didn't love it I don't think I even liked it but it wasn't terribly written; it wasn't too terribly involving eitherMeh That's my word for this book Or rather like MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHYeah I just whinnied Whatcha gonna do about it huh?

  6. says:

    this book was not what i was expecting not in the least i went into this thinking it would simply be an action packed tale of a daring race; but what i got was so so much i found myself comforted by a story that showed in a very special way that sometimes life is not about what you want but what you need with lush and poetic prose which is so on brand for stiefvater this story weaves together a foundation of desire love and strength in a way that tugs at your heartstrings wow what a special story 3↠ 45 stars

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  8. says:

    GET IT HERE FOR 199 9222017 This Skarmouth is raw and hungry striving and unknowable Everything the race makes me feel on the inside is bleeding up through the seams in the street tonight Sean Kendrick I wonder how long it will take for me to feel as adult on the inside as I look on the outside Puck Connollydeep breathSometimes you read a book and it becomes your whole world while you are reading it For me The Scorpio Races is one of those books I am just forever in debt to Maggie Stiefvater because this book has truly affected me It's very difficult for me to put into wordsBut I suppose the best way I can say it is this The Scorpio Races is the kind of story I would hope to write if I had the talentIt's incredibly uniue Stiefvater's writing is totally immersive So much detail and yet all of it felt relevant I savored every word every page every single bit of this book that I could I have heard some say that it was too slow and I understand that critcism It just wasn't true for me and my personal reading experience Yes it was slow but I feel that it absolutely needed to be This is a story that blooms in its own time a breathtaking experience if given the proper patienceWhile I read this I was on the island of Thisby I could feel the cold November breeze threading through my hair I could smell the tinges of brine and blood on the waves that soaked the shoreline I could hear my heart beating in my ears as the events unfolded And I read the last thirty pages of this story with tears streaming down my faceI'm just so damn emotional and sitting here in a heap of my feelingsI know this review isn't very specific but it suffices to say that I loved everything From the characterization to the world building to the plot to the writing style it's the whole package I couldn't recommend this book enough especially for fans of Stiefvater's other worksNow please excuse me while I go recover in a dark corner somewhere This and other reviews of mine can be found on Book Nest

  9. says:

    355 starsI really liked The Scorpio Races and I'm glad I listened to it on audiobook Since there were two voice actors it was very easy to separate Puck and Sean which was lucky since I've heard that some readers found it very difficult to distinguish between them when reading the book The narrators also had very different ways of speaking as the characters which made it impossible to mix the two up while listeningThe writing was beautiful There is such a rich atmosphere and the descriptions left vivid images of the setting in my mind I felt like I was there on Thisby experiencing the world alongside Puck and Sean Whilst the setting was strong on Thisby I didn't get a strong sense of where Thisby was located on the map I'm assuming it's a fictional island but there was a reference to the States so there is some blend with our present worldMy main concern was the slower pace though I think my expectations hindered my full enjoyment of the story I went into this expecting a lot of action but instead found my thoughts wandering a lot but when my attention returned I didn't feel like I missed much I was also hoping for a little explanation about the history of the Scorpio Races and how the tradition came to be With a slower pace there is plenty of room to explore the origins of Thisby's traditions

  10. says:

    It's easy to convince men to love you All you have to do is be a mountain they have to climb or a poem they don't understandPuck has a horse two brothers and soon no house to call a home Sean's heart beats for something that he doesn't own Both have no choice and only one chance to get what they desperately need It's either win or dieWhy did I not pick this up sooner?This totally deserves the 5 star rating My heart goes out to every single tiny detail of this book But most of all for the oh so precious characters I'm a little in love with all of them but very much so with FinnI'm at loss with words and it's too late to form a clear thought especially now that The Raven King is waiting for me to be read A for world building plot characters writing unpredictability and magic Perfect from start to finishFind of my books on Instagram