Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Release Date: November 3rd 2011
Genres: Action & Adventure, Coming of Age, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Love & Romance, Young Adult
The ebook of the stunning new novel from the bestselling author of SHIVER, LINGER AND FOREVER. Stay alive, stay astride, stay out of the water... Every November, the Scorpio Races are run beneath the chalk cliffs of Skarmouth. Thousands gather to watch the horses and the sea that washes the blood from the sand. The mounts are capaill uisce: savage water horses. There are no horses more beautiful, more fearless, more deadly. To race them can be suicide but the danger is irresistible. Sean Kendrick knows the dangers of the capaill uisce. With one foot in the ocean and one on land, he is the only man on the island capable of taming the beasts. He races to prove something both to himself and to the horses. Puck Connolly enters the races to save her family. But the horse she rides is an ordinary little mare, just as Puck is an ordinary girl. When Sean sees Puck on the beach he doesn't think she belongs. He doesn't realize his fate will become entwined in hers. They both enter the Races hoping to change their lives. But first they'll have to survive.
“It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.”
The novel focuses on capaill uisce, water horses, and I throughly enjoyed this version of the myth. I naively pictured horses with front hooves and a back fish-like tail but was sorely mistaken. The reality is much worse, the water horses are just like an average horse-except faster, stronger, and bloodthirsty. The sea calls to them like a siren, the pull strongest at the start of November-race day.
Puck Connolly is our heroine, and she is the first woman to participate in The Scorpio Races. Somewhat HUNGER GAMES-esque, Puck feels like the Races are her only option, she enters them to stop her brother from leaving Thisby, the island they all grew up on.Sean Kendrick, our hero, is a champion of the Races but winning is not the thing he wants most. These two are great characters, and I love their dynamic. You won’t find any insta-love here, it’s a long journey between two lonely souls and you should enjoy every minute of it.
THE SCORPIO RACES is kind of like LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld, it has somewhat of a daunting size and it may not hook you right away. You have to have patience with it, really have time to savor the writing and the characters. It is such a great, enjoyable story but if you have a bunch of books in your toread pile hanging over your shoulder, avoid this one. One of my favorite (albeit lengthy) quotes:
“As the sun shines low and red across the water, I wade into the ocean. The water is still high and brown and murky with the memory of the storm, so if there’s something below it, I won’t know it. But that’s part of this, the not knowing. The surrender to the possibilities beneath the surface. It wasn’t the ocean that killed my father, in the end. The water is so cold that my feet go numb almost at once. I stretch my arms out to either side of me and close my eyes. I listen to the sound of water hitting water. The raucous cries of the terns and the guillemots in the rocks of the shore, the piercing, hoarse questions of the gulls above me. I smell seaweed and fish and the dusky scent of the nesting birds onshore. Salt coats my lips, crusts my eyelashes. I feel the cold press against my body. The sand shifts and sucks out from under my feet in the tide. I’m perfectly still. The sun is red behind my eyelids. The ocean will not shift me and the cold will not take me.”
The ending is also something I greatly appreciated. It is open ended-but not so much that there is no resolution. It may make your eyes water though, especially if you connected with the characters as much as I did.