I’ve been waiting for awhile to read this book by Maggie Stiefvater, author of one of my favorite new YA series, The Raven Cycle (here are my reviews for book one and book two). I was not all that impressed with Shiver, the first novel in her other YA series, so I didn’t know what to expect for The Scorpio Races. However, I try to make it a point to read all of my favorite authors’ work (or as much as I can manage!).
The Scorpio Races hit me like a tsunami tide of briny seawater. Although the island setting, Thisby, might be fictional, the story was so grounded upon its shores that I felt for sure while reading the novel that it was real. This is a story about killer horses that emerge from the sea, about the dangers of falling in love with something wild, about the struggle to hold on to hope in impossible circumstances. I loved every minute I spent in Sean and Puck’s world. As a little girl I did go through the obligatory horse obsession and this book definitely indulged all of my childhood fantasies of being one with the wind on my dearest horse-friend’s back. It also indulged my darker fantasies about Celtic mythology and the cruelty and beauty of nature. It is beautifully written. Although the characters in the novel are older teenagers, this is clearly defined as a YA novel, as the romance between the two main characters stays in the very beginning, “training,” stage. Perhaps Stiefvater could have made the romance more mature, but as I felt this really wasn’t a novel about a relationship (rather a novel with the beginnings of a relationship), I didn’t really have a problem with this. Also, I want to point out that while this is a novel about mythical killer horses set on a fictional island (most likely one of the Outer Hebrides, or perhaps off the coast of Ireland) it doesn’t necessarily read as fantasy. It reads more like historical fiction (set in the 1920’s-50’s perhaps?).
While Stiefvater chose not to write about the other side of this particular myth–about handsome red-headed men luring maidens into the sea–I hope to read a novel about them someday.