Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Scorpio Races: A Fantastical, Lyrical Adventure

At the start of every November, the Scorpio Races are held. Riders fight to hold onto their water horses long enough to finish the race, and for some, the race proves fatal. Sean Kendrick is the three-time returning champion, desperate to win the race in order to finally have enough money to buy the horse he rides. Puck Kendrick, the first girl ever to enter the race, and with huge odds against her, also has reasons to win. The prize money would give her and her brother enough money to pay the debt on their house, and to live a more comfortable life. In a day where nothing is guaranteed, neither are prepared for what is going to happen.

The new book by Maggie Stiefvater  is completely different, but just as incredible as her recently completed Mercy Falls Trilogy. Based on the myth of the Water Horses- an ancient breed of cannibal horses born from the ocean, Maggie has taken this legend and made it completely her own. The writing is what we've come to expect from her. It's lyrical and spellbinding, and so beautiful to read. I found the story a bit slow to get started, but once the true preparation for the race began, the book was impossible to put down.

Sean and Puck were both likeable and emotionally engaging characters. There is no doubt of Sean's complete devotion to the horses he trains, and he can rival the Horse Whisperer in his ability to handle and calm them when no one else can. The race isn't about glory and fame. It isn't really even about the money- except as a means to finally getting his heart's desire.

Puck is fierce, strong and determined, and I loved her doggedness. There were so many obstacles against her, not the least of which was the fact that she had to ride her timid and gentle mare, and the real possibility that she and the horse could be killed in the race. Then there's the fact of her being a girl, and no girl has ever ridden in the Scorpio Races, nor should one (according to the islanders). for her also has nothing to do with glory, and everything to do with keeping her family together.

If there is anything to criticize about this book, and I'll concede that it could have just been me, it's that I didn't feel enough of a distinction between the voices. I frequently lost track of who was narrating, and I would have liked for that to have been a bit more obvious.

Other than that, I loved it, and the author actually succeeded making me bawl my eyes out at the end, and no matter how touching, it takes a lot for me to have that kind of response. I also really liked that the story didn't simply become a romance between the two characters. Yes, a relationship develops between Puck and Sean- that was inevitable, the romance is quite innocent and sweet, and the book is really about much more than that. It's about family bonds, courage, love and the loyalty and devotion that man and animal can have for one another.

The book doesn't release until October, but when it does, make sure to rush to your local book store or library and grab your copy. It's absolutely one you're going to want to read.