Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Review of The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


I finally got around to reading and reviewing Ms. Stiefvater’s book.  I’m pleased that I did because this book is a gem. 
“It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die. 
Even under the brightest sun, the frigid autumn sea is all the colors of the night: dark blue and black and brown.  I watch the ever-changing patterns in the sand as it’s pummeled by countless hooves.
They run the horses on the beach, a pale road between the black water and the chalk cliffs.  It is never safe, but it’s never so dangerous as today, race day.”
The first line reeled me in, the next two paragraphs spun me around, and I was caught in Stiefvater’s net.  You would think the story is about the races, horses running on the beach, but that is only an event.  I admit it’s a big event, but it’s only the backdrop to the real story.
The main story centers around the love of family, friends and budding young love, relationships that are beginning, or ending or long gone, and the passion of dreams.  But, pulling all of that together is the willingness to sacrifice all, for love, whether it be for man or beast.
Lordy, lordy, tears came when I didn’t expect it to and this book and it’s characters will stay with me for a long while. 
Worldbuilding:
Stiefvater created a world colored in grey, highlighted by the colors of gold, rust and brown.  The small island of Thisby where the horse races take place has a timeless and weathered feeling to it.  For me, it was a place to visit but I don’t think I would want to stay.
Characters:
Puck is Kate’s nickname and I wondered about that. When I think of Puck, I think of Midsummer’s Night Dream and the mischievous Puck in the play.  I didn’t see Kate as roguish, more on the lines as straightforward, courageous and outspoken.  I thought that the nickname could be a metaphor for the hard disk played in hockey and her racing in the dangerous Scorpio races with her small horse surrounded by the big, wild, blood lusting seahorses.
Sean the young man in the story, is not the usual heart throbs found in teen stories, nevertheless he stole my heart.  Here’s Puck’s description of him:
“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.  He is not looking at anyone or away from anyone; he’s just standing there looking at the ground, his mind obviously far, far away from the butcher’s.  Everyone else is being crowded and jostled, but no one crowds or jostles him, though they don’t seem to avoid him either.  It’s like he’s just not in the same place as the rest of us.”
I want to mention, Corr, the red-haired seahorse as a character.  He is driven by a natural passion to want to return to the sea but is pulled back because of his love for Sean.  This is a relationship built on trust, respect and a common love for the sea.  
Pros:
Overall excellent writing, plot and characters.
Con:
The pacing was a bit slow while Stiefvater builds your relationship with the characters.  I think that’s only a problem if you are use to very fast pacing.  I found it refreshing and enjoyed it.  I believe it shaped the phenomenal impact at the end. 
Conclusion:
I would recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t mind characters staying with them long after finishing the story. 
Till next time,
Elizabeth

14 comments:

Lexa Cain said...

Some of her prose sure is gorgeous, but I'd rather have a fast moving plot than characterization, to be honest.
Thanks for the in-depth and perceptive review. Great job! :-)

Kelly Hashway said...

I can't believe I still haven't read this one.

EW Gibson said...

Lexa,

I hear ya! Isn't it great that we have so much to choose from today.

EW Gibson said...

Kelly,

When you do, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Jessie Harrell said...

My friend recommended this one long ago and it's still waiting in line on my Kindle. Perhaps I shall read it next! Thanks for the review.

Sarah Negovetich said...

I have no idea why I haven't read this yet. I've yet to see a bad review or it. Too many good books and not enough time.

EW Gibson said...

Jessie,

I hope you enjoy it.

Elizabeth

EW Gibson said...

Sarah,

So true! I find I read books in my genre, but need to explore other as well. The pile keeps adding up. :)
Elizabeth

Julie Musil said...

You'll think I'm crazy, but I've never read one of her books! On my TBR pile :)

EW Gibson said...

Julie,

I hate to mention all the books I haven't got around to. Thanks for stopping by.

Katja Weinert said...

This has been sitting on my bookshelf since it was published! I've heard a lot of good things about it, but reading your review has me thinking it's time to finally dust off my copy.
Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth.

EW Gibson said...

Katja,

I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It's funny how so many of us have waited to read this book.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

It really does sound like a gem. When I think of puck, I think hockey. Haha. "Made of all corners." I like it! Thanks, Elizabeth!

EW Gibson said...

Joylene,

:) I think you'll love Sean, doesn't say a whole lot but his actions say it all. hahaha

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