ARC giveaway and full review at http://fireandicephoto.blogspot.com
Having grown up with the Chesapeake Bay in my back yard and a view of an island in the bay not far from the banks and sandy beach we played on, I was familiar with the story of Misty of Chincoteague Island as well as the legends of "Chessie" our own monster that came from the sea. Maggie Stiefvater's Scorpio Races brought me back to my childhood with its lyrical, magical tone. Set on the island Thisby with dramatic stone cliffs, The Scorpio Races follows the weeks leading up to the deadly races which happen each November. Men try to capture the capaille uisce from the sea, wild flesh eating water horses then race them down by the shore in a deadly tradition that melds magic and brute strength. Sean Kendrick is the favorite as four time winning jockey and horse trainer of Corr. But this year the stakes are even higher as the race gets personal. Both Sean and the alternate protagonist Puck (Kate) have their hopes and dreams on the line. Puck may lose everything as an orphan who's parents died at the hands of the capaille uisce. She and her younger brother Finn are left to fend for themselves when their older brother announces he is set to leave for the main land. If Kate can race she can assure he sticks around a while longer and maybe even save their fledgling family.
Maggie's lyrical style spins a character driven fantasy that explores loyalty, class and gender division. While the pacing felt a bit off and it took me about 160 pages to get into the flow, by the end I was breathless. Dang can she write! The Scorpio Races is raw and gritty with nothing held back while at the same time beautiful in its conclusion. Each character is fully fleshed out with their own idiosyncrasies, Finn with OCD, Puck with downright stubbornness and Sean with a silent but acute wisdom. As well the side characters and setting are unforgettable. I would recommend The Scorpio Races if you're looking for a slow paced fantasy with a subtle tease of romance. There are a few minor swear words and moderate violence, so it is probably best for readers over 14 year old. Before or after picking up the book you'll want to check out Maggie Stiefvater's website for a playlist, slide show of photos and the unforgettable hand drawn trailer. Maggie has done it again!