I was super excited to score an advanced copy of this book from BEA. Out of the 90+ books that we picked up during that week, SCORPIO RACES was one of the first 5 that I read. I saved it until I went on vacation in June to Martha's Vineyard. Why save it, you ask? Because if you've ever been to Martha's Vineyard in June, it's still kind of cold, and a little tempestuous, and there are these awesome clay cliffs. After reading all of Maggie's cliff-climbing adventures on her blog and how they related to this book, I figured this was the perfect place to start reading.
Here's the Goodreads summary:
"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 chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen."
This book is way different from the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. And while I loved Sam & Grace, Cole & Isabel (especially Cole!), I loooooooooved Sean and Puck.
Especially Puck. This girl is tough as nails. And not in that, tough-but-cute way, but more in that be-careful-it-bites way. She's tempestuous, and witty, and stubborn, and pretty much everything I love in a main character. I didn't always like her or agree with her choices, which for me is the sign of a fully fleshed out character. If I can read and go, "Oh girl, no you didn't!" but still love her in the end, then I know she's a character that's become a true friend. Also, her name is Puck. Which is awesome.
Then there's Sean. Sean made me nervous for awhile. As fiery and fierce as Puck was, Sean was cold and closed off. He brooded. He stared. He angsted. I wanted to hug him so badly, but I feared he would just brush me off and give me the kind of death glare I felt sure he had patented. In short, it took me some time to warm up to him. It's so difficult to write a closed-off character, because what on earth is the reader supposed to relate to if the character isn't willing to let them in? And yet somehow Maggie managed to do it. The more Sean pulls away on the page, the more quickly I found myself reading, wanting to know if I ever got to peak through a crack in his tough exterior. And we did! Finally! And it was marvelous and oh-so-satisfying.
So those are the main characters. Sort of. Because the thing is, the more you read, the more the town and the island become a character too. Thisby lived and breathed. It had a strong Irish flair, but it wasn't Ireland--it was a world that sits somewhere between the real and the magical. That's my kind of world!
And oh yeah, there's this other thing. Massive killer water horses that people race for fun and profit. No, for serious. And I'll be the first to say that I'm not a horse story person. I love inspirational sports movies, unless they're about horse racing. And I love animals...but I'm severely allergic to horses. (No, for serious!) But I LOVED the water horses. They were creepy and feral and I may have had a nightmare or two about them while on the Vineyard that caused me to demand that my husband share a twin-size bed with me so I wouldn't get eaten by them in my sleep. BUT, in true Maggie Stiefvater fashion, they were also beautiful and bizarre and interesting, and I kind of wished I could pet one (just real quick, before it bit my hand off.) Again, like with Thisby, they were fantastic, and yet somehow so real. When I finished the book, it seemed strange to think that killer horses DIDN'T come out of the autumn waves.
(BTW, there's kissing in this book too. And adventures. And a cat.)
So have I gushed enough about THE SCORPIO RACES? Are you all dying to read it? You should be!
Lucky for you, it's out today, and you can go to your local bookseller and pick up a copy!
Or, you could be even awesomer and be one of FIVE people to win a SIGNED ARC of the book! Right here! Right now!
And, because autumn is the time for ALL the books, we're throwing in a little extra Halloween treat. A second ARC. Of what, you ask? Ah ha, good question! Here's the answer: it's a secret. But five--count'em, FIVE--lucky winners will get a signed copy of Maggie's wonderful new book, PLUS a secret ARC of our choosing!
What do you have to do to win, you ask?
Why, just fill out this form!