Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bookanistas: The Scorpio Races

Some race to win. Others race to survive.

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 choice. So she enters the competition - the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.


I know I am so late to the party on this book. I KNOW. See, I got an ARC before it even came out and I tried to read it, I really did. But first of all, my expectations were all off. I thought it was just about horses. Like, normal horses. I didn't realize it was about magical killer horses from the sea. So I went in expecting normal horses and found magical killer horses from the sea and was all ACK THIS ISN'T WHAT I WAS EXPECTING. Then I started reading and the magical killer horses actually, well, you know...killed. And I don't like violence. Like, at all.

So I put it down.

But then I kept reading all of these rave reviews about it. And the thing is, I LOVE Maggie Stiefvater's writing. And then it won a Printz Honor. So, jeez, I just had to give it another try, didn't I? Luckily for me, it was a bargain book for the Kindle so I got it on the cheap and gave it another whirl.

Hoo boy, I am so glad I did.

I think there is something to be said for expectations. I generally like to know as little about a book as possible when I go in. Many times I don't even read the back cover blurb because I like to have as much as possible be a surprise. But I think there are some things you need to be prepared for. Like magical killer horses from the sea vs. regular horses you find in a barn. You need to be prepared for that in your head, otherwise you may have a tough time. I really liked the book so much more when I was prepared for this. And the violence, too. When I was prepared for it and I knew to expect it, it wasn't so bad.

And then there was so much to love about this story. The family relationship between Puck and her brothers. The bond between Sean and his magical killer horse from the sea, Corr. The mythology of the magical killer horses from the sea and their relationship with the island where the story takes place. I loved the dual narration and hearing from both Puck and Sean. And, of course, there is Maggie Stiefvater's gorgeous, gorgeous writing. It's impossible not to fall in love with her words.

I know pretty much everyone has read this by now, but if you were one of those holdouts like I was, please listen to the Printz committee and give this one a try. You'll find yourself on Team Magical Horses From The Sea in no time.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are up to today...


Christine Fonseca gives a shout out for REGRET
Carrie Harris swoons for STRUCK
Corrine Jackson cries heaps over STORY OF A GIRL
Stasia Ward Kehoe loves up THE LIBERATION OF MAX MCTRUE
Katy Upperman delights in GRACELING
Tracy Banghart shares some CLARITY and PERCEPTION
Jessica Love delights in THE SCORPIO RACES
Hilary Wagner hosts a Guest Post by Author Aaron Kato on YA Voice

18 comments:

  1. AHHH! I'm so glad you finally read this!! Swoon, right? Sean + Corr = <3

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    1. I just wanted every chapter to be about Sean and Corr! I loved them!

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  2. I really liked this book...after the first 100 pages or so. I thought the middle to end was brilliant. But I think my issue was expectations too. Because I expected this book to be about the race. But really, its every leading up to the race. The race is only like two pages at the end. So I found the first 100 pages to be quite boring.

    Though...there were MANY lines where I was like, gosh this girl can write. :)

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    1. Yeah, it's really not about the race at all. But OH Maggie's writing. I love it so much.

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  3. I read this one in February--late to the party as well. I loved it. Completely.

    Sometimes if a book has a lot of hype, I have a hard time reading it because expectations are too high. I tend to steer clear. But this one was awesome.

    Shelley

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    1. You're so right...sometimes hype can ruin a perfectly good book.

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  4. I haven't read this yet because I had the same issue with Shiver. I heard the raves about it, and I tried really hard to like Shiver--I even read it twice! But it just didn't click with me, so I haven't tried Scorpio Races yet. :)

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    1. This is a totally different book from Shiver, but it does have a slow start like Shiver does. Her writing is a lot more slow and quiet than most...but I do love it.

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  5. Ha, I remember you talking about the crazy killer horses last summer at SCBWI :) This book is at the top of my TBR pile, but lately it's been so hard to find time to read!

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    1. YES! That was right after I tried to read it the first time. Haha...so much better the second time around.

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  6. Great review, Jess! So glad you decided to give this one another chance. Of course, I adored it as much as you did! And yes, Maggie's writing is absolutely beautiful. In anyone else's hands, killer horses that emerge from the sea would seem completely ridiculous!

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    1. Yeah, that's really the one thing that convinced me to go back and try again...I really do trust her writing. And your rave reviews, too. ;-)

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  7. Yaaaaaay! I love this book in the kind-of-crazy way that makes me really excited when someone else likes it. See, I went in expecting dark and violent, which is not always my thing, but enough people had posted about it back in the fall that I asked for it for Christmas. So then to find that it was a horse story--set in what is pretty clearly Ireland--and containing a magically delicious food that I could ACTUALLY BAKE AT MY REAL HOME--I mean. Anyway, I called it as my book of the year when I finished it on New Year's Day and so far, so good. (Challengers so far, putting up a good fight: Cinder, Code Name Verity, Beauty Queens.) So yes, expectations are very important. Also, do try the November Rolls recipe on Maggie's blog. OMG, the caramel topping is the best thing I have ever made ever.

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    1. Yeah, I REALLY need to make those! They sound so delicious!

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  8. I love love love that book :D I could feel the waves and smell the salty air while turning the pages and Sean? strong and caring :D So few words but so many gestures!
    I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Oh man...Sean was such an awesome characters. I liked Puck, but I really wanted ALL THE CHAPTERS from Sean's POV!

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  9. I was and still am one of those people who was freaking out about how good this book is! I actually skipped it at first because I'd read Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER, and I liked it but didn't love it. So I was uninterested despite horses (magical, killer, or otherwise), and I love horse books! Erin Bowman sold me on it and it was my last read of 2011 (and therefore all over my Superlatives posts, haha).

    But speaking of expectations, you make a really great point! I made my friend read it and I warned her it was about magical killer horses, so she was prepared for that. However, she had the expectation that 1) it was set in like a pre-modern tech era, 2) it was set in the desert, and 3) it was a days/weeks long endurance race. So she kept saying things like OMG, THEY HAVE CARS! I THINK THIS IS IRELAND OR SOMETHING.

    But once she got her head away from her expectations, she ended up really liking it!

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    1. It's so interesting how our expectations shape our enjoyment of a story like that! It really makes such a difference.

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