Book: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Review: 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. -Goodreads
'The Scorpoi Races' takes place in the early 1900s on a small island off the coast of England. Most of the residents live in abject poverty while the Malvern's appear to be the only family with wealth. Sean Kendrick has worked for Malvern for nine years and at age 19 is the head horse trainer. I thought of him as the 'horse whisperer' throughout the book. He was quiet and mature beyond his 19 years. His greatest wish in life is to buy Corr, a water horse he has trained since birth. Malvern agrees to sell him the horse if the wins the race. Kate Connelly (nicknamed Puck) was orphaned a year ago when both of her parents were killed. She enters the race to keep her older brother on the island a few weeks longer and to secure money so she and her younger brother can keep their house.
This book is depressing and very slow. It takes us through the training for the race, the race itself and then a short chapter afterward. I did not care for Puck, who was extremely immature for age 16. Additionally, her reasons for competing in the race, although explained, never jived with me. I really liked Sean, who was wise beyond his years, but the attraction the developed between them didn't ring true. I was in an odd position where I was routing for Sean to win the race but realized Puck had to win somehow (as he had actual skills to ensure survival on the island, she didn't have too many skills). The race events did not unfold as I thought and I actually cried during the last chapter, so they in itself bumped my final grade from 'it was okay' to 'I liked it.'
There was a supernatural element to the water horses, but I would still classify this is as fiction. As a side note, this island was small didn't seem to have a school. Even though the Connelly family stayed to themselves, I found it very odd that Puck didn't know Sean growing up. Equally odd was that Puck appeared to be the only teenage girl in the town.
Overall, okay read with a strong ending that elicits emotion.