Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier
On the island Sean and Puck are living on a horse race is taking place each November. However, this is no normal race; the horses that take part are unpredictable and dangerous creatures out of the sea, the capaill uisce, and if you don’t pay attention, you won’t even survive the training.
Sean has done this race many times before and he is the winner of four of them. His water horse Corr is a faithful companion and together with him everything could be alright ... except that it isn’t. Corr is not his horse, just as Sean doesn’t even really belong to himself. That has been okay so far, but now even Skarmouth and its inhabitants can’t refuse the change that is going on everywhere.
They don’t have an easy time to adjust. Puck has to experience exactly that, as she’s forced to take part in the race to somehow help her family. It’s her last chance, but not everybody thinks she should have it. She is going to be the first woman in the race and many don’t think she should be.
However, those are comparatively small obstacles she has to face. The race is a harsh thing, but Puck doesn’t even get along with the capaill uisce. It has been a water horse that killed her parents.
It would be very unlikely for those two, Sean and Puck, to team up, but we all know: opposites attract.
There are some things you can expect from Maggie Stiefvater. A nice writing style for instance. Or a rather slow plot.
That can be said about “The Scorpio Races” as well, and if it’s a book for you is totally dependent on whether you can like slow progressing or not. Before anything happens at all, we get to know the characters, their backgrounds, their current situation, their problems, and just like that we grow familiar with the island, the race and the horses. At first, I expected the race to be the highlight of the story and I was right about that, but I didn’t think that it would also be at the end of the book.
Fortunately, I have been “warned” by other reviews, and so are you now.
I prefer a quick pace over any other, but I’m always willing to be convinced otherwise. It worked with “Shiver”, for example, which convinced me with its intensity of emotions.
“The Scorpio Races” lacks this intensity, but it was by no means boring, just slowly. I liked the characters very much, the only “problem” was that they didn’t know each other yet. So we have to get to know them and they have to get to know each other first, which clearly influences the reading experience. If you don’t care about that, feel free to read the book. And if you do, it might be worth a look nonetheless.
I instantly liked Puck, even though she sometimes showed the little brat she used to be. She is a determined young woman who is ready to do what is needed and to fight for her family and friends. If that means she has to take part in a deadly race, then that’s what she’ll do. If some men think she mustn’t do this, she’ll defy them and she’ll go her way, her head held up high, bearing the mockery. If you ask me, any character should be like Puck: not a perfect being, but a good person and therefore admirable.
You can say just as much about Sean. He’s not like anybody else, in more than one way. As an orphan he had to take care of himself for some time now and his way with horses has been very helpful ever since. Some might look at him suspiciously for it, because it’s the dangerous water horses he is good with. What with all the love he has for the island, it is no wonder that one day he notices the wild Puck.
Those two carry the story, strongly supported by their horses Dove and Corr, which are lovely in their own way, and of course by Finn, Puck’s younger brother, and other people playing a major role in their lives.
Unfortunately, this is only for a certain amount of time enough. Especially the beginning, when we have to get to know them as well, dragged on a little bit. The last hundred pages atone for it, though, since the race came nearer and nearer. Ah well! It was a thrilling race that caused that kind of heartbeating I’d like to have in every book I read. The outcome surprised me a little – I’ve expected something slightly different. That I was wrong is good, though; forseeability rarely is a good quality. In the end, I did shed some tears and not only because of the ending, which again wasn’t what I expected, but which I liked nonetheless; Mrs Stiefvater, your mission was successful!
I already mentioned her beautiful writing style and if you know her other books, you already know what I’m talking about. If not, change that! What I loved the most were the little comments that were made. They were just short comments, observations of characters, which were casually funny and entertained me quite often.
I just hoped for more explanations. They’re not exactly needed; the lack of them gives the story something mythical, which is not surprising. The capaill uisce are mythical themselves, after all. Nonetheless, I couldn’t quite ignore this tiny voice, asking for more information.
“The Scorpio Race” is another beautifully written book by Maggie Stiefvater, which offers likable characters who have to carry most of the story. The pace is rather slow, even though it gets better in the end. I liked the ending as well: it’s neither too open nor too closed. If you have no problem with any of that at all und preferably like horses, then go ahead – read it! If not, you should consider reading it anyway; except if you hate horses, that is. The capaill uisce might not be the best companions then.