Saturday, December 10, 2011
Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Blurb: 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.
My Thoughts: I'm glad Maggie wrote this book. She blogged about it quite a bit while she was writing it, and I follow her blog and so I know one thing: This is her favorite book. Going deeper into her author's note she says that she's been trying to write this book since she was a teenager and that until she had five other books under her belt, this one wasn't ready. As a writer I can completely understand the labor of love that went into this book and I can appreciate it for everything it is to her.
I can't out and out hate a book that the author themselves loves why? Because I believe that everyone should write for themselves and not for their audience.
This book is not my cup of tea. It's about horses for instance, water horses at that and it exists on an island that doesn't really exist. I understand the idea of towns that don't exist on a map, but an entire island? It was a lot to wrap my mind around. I found the plot slow, I found the characters under developed.
I found the writing beautiful.
I liked Sean but I didn't understand him half the time. I didn't understand Puck either. Which again was interesting because here I am inside Maggie's book and half inside her mind and trying to grasp at the straws/pebbles/cookie crumbs she's left for me to follow and I'm trying to follow, but I'm also thinking "when is the damned race going to begin?"
I misunderstood the race.
I have a client in France who's an olympic cyclist. He does a race every year called Tour De France which literally takes 10 days, and takes the cyclists from one end of France to the other. Right so somewhere in my head I thought, Scorpio Races would be like that.
And I was wrong.
The book is more about island life, training, arguments, small town folk, being poor, being a tourist island, and these vicious water horses that will be raced on the beach in November. The racetrack is the beach, the water is the danger.
It's more like traditional horse racing, think movies like the Secretariat. There are plenty of deals going on, bets, who will ride which horse, who will win.
And then there was something else in Maggie's blogging that gave me clues about the plot when I really needed them. She mentioned that she thought there would be kissing in this book and that she was worried there would be no kissing. Well, there was kissing, but it wasn't the stop your heart type. It was anti climactic.
I was disappointed in that.
The ending was too fast, too bittersweet, but romantic nonetheless. Almost everyone got what they needed.
I have no idea why this one didn't work for me.
Should you go read it? Yes. Why? Because she's Maggie and she's amazing and her writing is awesome and this book is fantastic fiction.
Will you like it? I don't know, but then, you might think it's fantastic and think I'm completely wrong about this book.
Did I like it? I liked it because Maggie liked it, because I won't go disliking her favorite book.