Published by Scholastic Press on October 18th 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
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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 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.
Water horses? What the heck are those? That was the first thought going through my head when I first heard of this book years ago. I honestly had no desire or intentions of reading this, in fact. It just didn’t seem like something I would read and enjoy. Reviews started to trickle in and it seemed to be a mix of “meh” and “LOVE”. I was pretty sure I’d be on the “meh” side of things. I enjoyed the author’s series, The Wolves of Mercy Falls, but I wasn’t blown away by it. But then The Raven Boys was released last year and I loved that book! So unique and beautifully written so once again I found that I was asking myself whether or not to give The Scorpio Races a chance, and that chance came up with our YA Book Club in September!
The Scorpio Races tells the story of an island notoriously known for the magic of the water horses. Each year these horses emerge from the sea onto the land and the island holds a race, one that ends with lives lost. But these are not your typical horses, nope. They are severely deadly and terrifying. I honestly still have a hard time wrapping my head around what these creatures look like. Not all that different from the horses we already know and love, but larger and faster and capable of horrible things. This is not at all what I was expecting of water horses. I admittedly didn’t even connect it with the mythology you may have heard of about these creatures before I started. But once I did, I was so very intrigued about these animals. There are moments of excitement and fear that completely left me on the edge of my seat. But within all of that was a wonderful story of a girl fighting for her home and her family, and of a boy fighting for his beloved water horse.
I admired so much about one of our main characters, Puck. She doesn’t let the people of her town hold her down with their thoughts of her racing as a girl. She stands up for herself and holds her own. She also sets her mind on the task and does not give up, despite the mounds of problems that were building up around her. And then there was Sean. He had such a quiet demure but so strong and determined. He had such a way with those beasts that no one else had. These two strike such a unique friendship and so much more. Even though both were determined to win the race, they were rooting for each other as well.
I wish I could express my love for this book in better terms, but honestly, I don’t know how. It’s always a wonderful experience to enjoy something as much as I loved this book, but even more so when it comes as a surprise. Even through a few lulls, I knew something was coming just around the corner and the ending was just perfection. It is remarkable as a standalone and something I hope more people will give a chance. I’m so glad I did.
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.”
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