Saturday, 9 January 2016

'The Scorpio Races', by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Scorpio Races
Author(s): Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: 18th October 2011
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Source: Library

Every year, the Scorpio Races are run on the beaches of Skarmouth. Every year, the sea washes blood from the sand. To race the savage water horses can mean death, but the danger is irresistible.
When Puck enters the races to save her family, she is drawn to the mysterious Sean, the only person on the island capable of taming the beasts.
Even if they stay together, can they stay alive?
A breathtaking ride that will make your heart race.


I had such high hopes for this book.

Since I've read 'Shiver', which I loved, I was under the impression that I could read anything by Maggie and love it as well. And the synopsis for this one looked promising enough.

Oh, how I was wrong.

The word I would use to describe this story would be 'bland'. My main point of interest in this plot was to know more about the water horses, since they are pretty much the focal point of the book and a really interesting and original creature. But all I got was a bunch of questions left unanswered.

How do the horses live underwater? What is their story? What kind of magic are they made out of? Why are they afraid of iron? Why do bells and red ribbons keep them calm enough to race? Why, why, why...

All I know about them after 500 pages is that they are murderous beasts, they just want to get back to the ocean, and they have a name I gave up on trying to pronounce 10 pages in. I kept on reading and reading, hoping that somewhere along the way I'd get some answers, but nothing came.

Other than my disappointment for the lack of explaining of its mythology, the story itself didn't do much to keep me interested. Again, a lot of questions, no answers: Why do they capture the horses, if they know how dangerous they are? Why do they have that race every year? Do people in this book just have a death wish? Why do they have that festival in November, filled with strange rituals?

I only got to know why they are called the Scorpio Races, and that was of no use at all to understand the rest.

The characters weren't at all relatable. At some point I found myself thinking 'When the race comes, they could all die a vicious and bloody death and I wouldn't even care'. Puck is an annoying brat even if she tries to hide it, and Sean was just a cold, 'I like spitting all the time' horse whisperer. Their relationship doesn't develop at all for 400 pages, and then it becomes a weird sort of romance because, well, they rode a horse together and they are sooooo alike and stuff. If you take all of their dialogue and put it together, I doubt it would fill 10 pages. Out of 500. Seriously, they could have both died and I wouldn't care.

Even with all of this, I was going to rate it two stars, but then came the ending. I was hoping that I would have a mad enthralling race scene (since it is, after all, the title of the book), but it only lasted for a single chapter and 10 meager pages which weren't interesting in the slightest. The ending itself after that brought no closure; you have no idea what happens to any of the characters (well, except for the ones that did die).

I just hope Maggie can redeem herself with me when I get to read 'The Raven Boys'. If it's anything like this one, well, we will always have 'Shiver'!

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