Oh my gosh, Scorpio Races!!
It was fabulous.
So I'm going to review it. And the review will be peppered with my fanart because I read it and immediately obsessed and drew quite a bit.
Puck Connolly signs up -- the first woman to ever race.
Sean Kendrick is the returning champion, racing for more than just winning.
And it's November.
So the sea is calling to the horses.
Scorpio Races was one of those books I wasn't sure I wanted to read. I mean, my sister loved it, so I was pretty sure I would like it too. But it just sounded weird. Like a Hunger Games type thing. People racing demon water horses once a year. Lots of death. The race is an event. It was not really something I felt like I wanted to spend an evening reading, ya feel me?
But then Bella got it into her head to read it and sat about the house in various states of ecstasy, looking at me and wispering, "I ship it."
FYI, Bella ships everything.*
*lies. Bella only ships** almost everything. And only when there is an obvious possibility of a relationship.
**"SHIP." v e r b? Meaning to obsessively pair couples. For example, I ship Shawn and Jules from Psych. They are a couple, and they are adorable. Therefore I ship them. Hard.
ANYWAY. Bella wispering, "I ship it." got me into the "Oh dear. It's a romance. I don't want to." stage.
So I dug my feet in and refused, because I can be a real stubborn little turd when I want to be.
Long story short, Between Bella and Kat, and Amy, I finally sat down and..... read it in one sitting. (maybe two. But the first four chapters didn't really count, since I read the great majority of the book in one sitting.)
And my final impression of the book was one of, "Why did I put it off for so long? I am a fool."
Because OH MY GOSH, you guys.
I want to buy it. Or get it for Christmas. Or buy it. It was so good. It was so, so good.
It's been a while since I've squealed and hugged a book to my chest in delight.
Okay, so let's talk characters:
Puck surprised me by making me like her. In books especially, (and specifically YA novels) I tend to find the leading ladies a royal pain. People try to write strong female characters and fail miserably by either making them A.) SO OBNOXIOUS I can't even deal, (like trying to go for sassy and sarcastic and managing only to portray utter brattiness.) or, B.) So depressingly self-sacrificing (generally in a selfish way. *coughKatnisscough*) that I find them appallingly lacking in any character whatsoever.... And then there's C.) The generic, self-serving snit that makes me run in fear of all teenage girls ever created.
Puck wasn't. Puck Connolly was spunky in a good way. She was brave without realizing it, she was kind of sweet in a mean sort of way. She's a lot more vulnerable than she lets on. She has a lot going on in her life, and the races are her way of controlling her environment. She's clever and cute, and reminds me a lot of.... Ireland. Her whole personality just reminds me so much of Ireland.
"The sky, and the sand, and the sea, and Corr."
Sean.... Seanyface is fabulous. He's one of those characters that will always be a little bit mysterious. You know that he's an orphan, and that his father died in the Scorpio Races. You know that he loves aspects of the races, and that he and his horse have a special connection. But that... that's pretty much it. He's reserved and quiet, even when he's the one narrating. He loves horses. Even the water horses. He's a lonely sort of character who is taken by surprise by Puck. He's actually very gentle and thoughtful.
Sean has a cool relationship with Corr, the water horse. It's epic, the way the author describes how much he loves Corr. He loves everything about that horse, he loves riding that horse, he loves racing that horse, he loves training that horse. He and Corr are a team.
"My thighs sting from the friction of the saddle. My arms ache from holding up two thousand pounds of hourse. I have forgotten what it is like to be warm and what a full night's sleep feels like, and what my name sounds like spoken instead of shouted across yards of sand.
I am so, so alive."
He is seriously one of the coolest guys I've read about in a while.
LET'S TALK STORY.
"It's the first day of November, and so, today, someone will die."
That. Is. The. First. Line.
It's odd how well it worked out.
They don't really portray the Scorpio Races as a good thing, which I liked, because people shouldn't portray evil water horses and death as a good thing.... that would be very wrong.
"Tell me what it's like. The race."
"What it's like is a battle. A mess of horses and men and blood. The fastest and strongest of what is left from two week of preparation on the sand. It's the surf in your face, the deadly magic of November on your skin, the Scorpio drums in the place of your heartbeat. It's speed, if you're lucky. It's life and it's death, or it's both, and there's nothing like it."
Not a whole lot happens in the book, which is odd, considering it's genre, but it works so well, you don't even realize how little happens until you finish and try to do a review on it. It's written in such a way that it sucks you in and makes you care, whether you want to or not.
There is a little romance, but it isn't the focus of the book. It's more like a secondary thing. Neither character realizes that they like the other until someone else mentions it to them.
"She stands beside Corr, looking up at him.
I want her to love him."
They're drawn to each other, but the book isn't like, "And then Sean turned around, his dark hair glistening with ocean spray. I think I want to kiss him." It's more like, "Heeeey, he's interesting. I'm fascinated by his attachment to the horse that potentially eat his face." (Which is a vulgar way of putting things, and I'm sorry, Katrina. You probably hate me for that. :)
The writing style is.... I'm not even sure how to describe it. It isn't typical YA. It's... beautiful to read. And I don't usually go in for beautiful writing, but this is a special kind of beautiful. Maggie Stiefvater has a way of describing things so perfectly, it almost takes your breath away. Like, "WOW THAT WAS PERFECT, I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT SHE MEANS."
LETS TALK WATER HORSES
"The water horses are hungry and wicked, vicious and beautiful, hating us and loving us."
LET'S TALK SETTING
"Happiness isn't something this island yeilds easily; the ground is too rocky and the sun too sparse for it to flourish."
It's the first day of November.
someone will die.