Edition: Egalley, 409 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
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 finally managed to get my hands on a copy of this and surprisingly it was from my library. I’ve read Shiver and I was rather interested in seeing how Stiefvater would portray horses and the seemingly brutal way of the Scorpio Races.
The writing style is surprisingly rich even though the story is laid out by two rather straight forward people. The story was obviously written with a careful hand and it is very evident in the quality of the story telling. The setting of Thisby is very much believable and described in wonderful detail. It comes off as a rather dismal place to live with it’s dreary weather and fierce wildlife but at the same time it seems like a strangely exotic place to live and it truly becomes a world all to itself. The progress of the story is rather slow but I found that I didn’t mind all that much since it’s more about the journey and evolution of the characters than about the actual action. The Capaill Uisce are a fantastic creation and utterly unique in their presence. They seem like immense and powerful creatures that border on beautiful and horrifying. I loved how deadly they were and how even when “tamed” they were still incredibly dangerous.
Puck is an awesome female main character and she has a ton of layers that really give her tremendous depth. She’s stubborn, smart, sharp-witted, strong and at times vulnerable. She’s the whole package and I really invested myself in her person story. Season is also fantastic. He’s immediately a mystery and in same ways he kind of stays that way through out the entirety of the story. He is what you would consider the strong silent type but there is something about his calmness that gives him a seemingly wild nature. The connections between the characters and the environment are very believable as well. Sean’s connection with capiall is both strange and mystifying, it’s clear that he can connect in a way other can’t. It was a tad confusing at times however as not a lot of his actions ar explained, so you do feel a little out of the loop. I didn’t mind it too much however, because it was similar to observing someone else work, you don’t necessarily expect to understand everything they are doing but it’s enrapturing all the same. The relationship between Puck and Sean is also fairly interesting and wonderfully constructed. It’s not rushed and their actions (reactions) are believable. Like Sean’s connection with the capiall it’s very clear that there is an understand between them. I will say that I didn’t quite enjoy Puck’s brothers as much but I did understand them. My first reaction to Gabe was irritation and borderline hate, and it really didn’t get better until near the end when he finally explains his actions. I still don’t like him though, but that’s just a clash of personalities more than anything.
Overall I found this was a very captivating story and everything about it seemed carefully crafted.