Friday, 26 July 2013

The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater [Review]

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Series: Stand-alone
Release Date: October 18th 2011
Pages: 404
Rating: ★★★☆ 


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.


I was really excited to read this book because of all the positive reviews I read about it. Unfortunately I was pretty disappointed, it's just that nothing happens in this book.

The book is about the yearly Scorpio Races, held on the island Thisby. Inhabitants ride the waterhorses, who will kill you in an instant if they get the chance. Puck and Sean both compete in the Races, Puck for her family and Sean to be able to buy his own horse, and slowly grow attached to each other during the preparations.


Most reviews I read did say it was a character-driven story, not a fast-paced adventure.
Thus I was prepared for a slow-paced read, but in the end I found the book to be completely empty of action. And no, I'm not only used to fast-paced YA reads. I also read classics, so I can handle reading something without an exciting twist every page.

The problem was that the book would be about the Scorpio Races and with that I mean the real races, not the preparation for it. I was waiting for the races to begin from the start of the book And they began in one of the last chapters, and only lasted for a chapter. There is such a thing as too much buildup... This just really irritated me and kind of ruined the book for me. The slow pacing would not have been bad if something exciting had happened once in a while. Now when I got to the end I had the feeling the book still had to start, because nothing had happened at all.

The slow pacing and the lack of action were the only things I did not like about this book.

The world building was really good. The reader came to know everything about the island, the Races and of course the creepy waterhorses. Because it was such a slow book all details were explained very carefully and every piece of scenery was described, I liked that. 
The concept of the races and the waterhorses I found very original, I've never seen anything like it in books. It gave a sort of paranormal/mythological twist to the story.


The book had a dual POV. This was pretty well-done. At first I thought Puck was a boy, because of her voice as well as her name. Puck and Sean's POVs both add to the story, but sometimes were not distinguishable. 

Puck was a very strong heroine. She stood her ground among all the men participating in the Races and she was willing the sacrifice her life for her family. Overall she was very likable, although I still don't understand why she would risk riding a normal mare in a deadly waterhorse race..

Sean was an intriguing character. He seemed kind of inhuman at first, but him becoming acquainted with Puck made him a different person, much more likable. He was calm and down-to-earth, I really liked that in him. A great change from the typical YA bad boy.

I loved their romance. It had a great build-up and it wasn't overshadowing the rest of the story. They were very supportive of each other in the races, but I wasn't like they acted like they could not live without each other. So no instalove, bad boys, love triangle.. love it!


Apart from the slow-pacing and action-lack, I liked the book. The characters and world building were great, but cutting 100 pages or so wouldn't have hurt the book.

Stars: 3 out of 5


  1. Don't know if I want to read this one, as I have never read anything by this author because of all the mixed reviews on her books. Maybe I will try out a book by her in the future though.


  2. I enjoyed this book, but I didn't love it. I wanted a bit more something from the characters. But beautiful writing and story.

  3. Great review! I have this book, but haven't gotten to reading it yet. =)

  4. I know, I've also read Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and that one ended up disappointing me too. Guess her books are just not for me.

  5. I wanted to read your review of this after the trouble I had with MS works. Everyone kept telling me to read this or The Raven Boys since I was so disappointed, and I guess between the two I might have to go with The Raven Boys! Sorry the pacing was so slow for you, but worked out otherwise. Great review!

  6. I haven't read The Raven Boys, but I haven't heard so many great things about that book either..

  7. Oh i'm sorry you found the book devoid of action but YAY FOR AWESOME WORLD BUILDING AND ROMANCES! i've not read this book yet but i think i will definitely give it a a try now. :)
    New follower here. :) Drop by my blog sometime?..although it's not as pretty as yours!

  8. Oh I adored this book though! I did think it was really slow paced, although for some reason that only added to the excitement. I'm not bothered by too much world building, or any lack of it, so that didn't stand out much to me either. I absolutely adored Puck (yeaaahh her name is a boy's, it's deceiving haha!) and I thought the romance was pretty awesome, coupled with the dual POV. Overall, I think this book made a better impression on me than it did you, but of course I get your points. After all, this was a great review! Thanks for sharing Eveline :D

  9. I would love to visit your blog, but I can't find a link to your blog page in your profile :(

  10. I loved this book especially the mythological aspect. Those water horses were creepy. I do agree it is slow paced though but I was such a fan of the setting and the spellbinding prose that I didn't care.

  11. Ooh, it sounds great! I should pick it up soon, I've been eyeing it at the library for a few months.

  12. I'm glad you liked the book! The mythology was probably my favourite part, those horses were pretty scary indeed:)

  13. Thanks:) I'm glad you did like the book! I can totally see why you did, you write with so much enthusiasm I'm almost loving it myself :)

  14. I plan to read this one pretty soon, and I've heard a lot about the lack of action, so I'm really trying to prepare for it and really hoping I can accept it. Glad that you at least liked it enough for three stars though.

  15. I hope that now that you know not much is going to happen, you'll like it more than I did :)

  16. This really sounds good but I really didn't like Maggie's writing style in Shiver and now you say this book wasn't THAT good so now I'm really conflicted omg Btw. you really have a lovely blog :)

  17. The only way to find out if you like it is to read it:) Thanks!


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