With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world, where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff—with more than just their lives at stake should they lose.
©2011 Maggie Stiefvater (P)2011 Scholastic Audio
It was a great adventure story.....
BUT SO LACKING IN THE ROMANCE DEPARTMENT!!😭
I wouldn't suggest any girl or .. Boy😏.. Whose into strictly romance should read this book.. Just cause you likes The Shiver Trilogy by the same author, that doesn't mean this would suit it. It's more of the adventure type of story, like I said, it lacks romance. 😟
This book captured my interest and drew me into the story right from the start. The performance by both Steve West and Fiona Hardingham was excellent and the accents brought you to the little island of Thisby, where the mysterious water horses were loved and feared. Maggie Stiefvater did a spectacular job developing the two main characters and the slow (put just right) development of their relationship. I just wish there was a sequel and didn't want the story to end!
I've always been on the fence with Maggie Stiefvater. I loved Shiver but never have been able to get into The Raven Boys (although I haven't given up on it). I'm not really sure why I bought this audiobook but I am so glad I did. This, by far, is the best Stiefvater book I've come across. It's just a beautiful tale and absolutely magical. Stiefvator brought the island to life and I could feel the island air. Puck and Sean were awesome characters and their story was a real romance. It was funny because I wasn't sure how to describe the love story and then at the end of the audiobook there was an interview with the author where she described Sean as a "Mr. Darcy" and I thought that it was the perfect description. He was quiet and dark and brooding but in the end loved fiercely. I was sorry to see this story end as I wanted more. But it was also quite perfect.
As you've probably noticed, I'm not very good at giving summaries of the books I read – that's what the Goodreads link is for. So my reviews are mostly about how the story engaged me intellectually and/or emotionally. I feel like I've been talking about the book for ages now, but I can't even begin to articulate how much I loved it. Of course a very big part of that was the narration, which was absolutely superb. When I've listened to audiobooks before, I've been familiar with the story, so my prior experience was more like enjoying a performance, rather than actually engaging with the story. For "The Scorpio Races", I had no idea beyond the bare bones – "Water-horses race, people die" – and so every nuance, every emotion was derived from what I was hearing.
It's a story full of almost unbearable tension – the tension of the upcoming Scorpio Race, where each day leading up the race, horses and riders die, and others will most certainly die during the race itself; the tension of the main characters, Sean and Kate, and the desperation of their hardscrabble lives; the relationship between Sean and Corr, the deadly water-horse he rides; the almost unbearable tension of Sean and Kate's romance-that-is -not-a-romance. I mentioned last week that I felt it was dragging, but then I realized that that was actually an element of the slow-build towards the climax, the race itself and its aftermath. I got to the point where I actually devoted three hours to finish listening to the book – I simply could not bear to wait any longer.
It's not a retelling of Celtic mythology, though its origins are there. It's a story of elementals – fiery Kate, Sean (and Corr) as Water, Kate's fae-like younger brother Finn as Air, and the island setting, Thisby, as Earth. There's also a strong sense of Sean and Kate as deities, fated to meet and mate. Their scenes together (each told in first-person) bear all the confusion of two young people who are not quite socially adept, but instinctively understand the depths of each other's hearts.
I'm particularly glad, too, that this story was self-contained, and not part of a trilogy – I don't know that I could have borne to wait for a resolution! Though I would dearly love, and look forward to, more of Sean and Kate, Corr and Finn and Thisby.
(To be honest, I don't know if simply reading the book would have had the same impact. I checked it out from my library as a downloadable audiobook. (Oh brave new world! To have such technology in it!) and knew well before I finished it that I wanted it, but the Audible price for non-members was daunting. Fortunately, it was available for the Kindle at a very reasonable price, with the Whisper-Sync available. I knew of Whisper-sync, but hadn't ever tried it. How it works is, after you buy the Kindle edition, the Audible edition is available at a greatly reduced price. So I have both a printed (which will be invaluable come Yuletide) and the audio edition. If this technology is available to you, I highly recommend it! )
The Scorpio Races is a beautifully written urban fantasy built loosely around the Irish sea horse myth. The author wisely jettisoned a lot of the hoarier aspects of the myth and instead concentrated on our two protagonists, Sean and Puck, and their relationship with the creatures.
On the remote British island of Thisby, the inhabitants are menaced by bloodthirsty creatures in the form of horses who emerge from the sea yearly. But the humans have learned to control the creatures - and even ride them in a yearly high stakes, life and death, race. Sean Kendricks is one of the most gifted grooms of the sea horses. But they have also scarred his life and he is a young man with only one goal: to own the sea horse with whom he has a special bond. Meanwhile, also on the island is Kate "Puck" Connolly. Like Sean, she lost her parents to sea horse attacks and is just trying to survive the harsh conditions of the island. But the family isn't making ends meet and she will be forced to enter the Scorpio race and defeat the reigning champ, Sean, if her family is to survive.
While I'm typically not a fan of books in which the plot is going to center on a final event, The Scorpio Races bucks the conventions that normally would make this a tedious read. For one, there is no 'great romance' getting in the way of the plot. People are greatly centered and act appropriately for the conditions in which they live. As well, there are no moustache twirling villains; no person is altogether good or bad. They are each making their way on the island. And the end race is built up to in such a way that the meat of the story (and the redemption of the characters) happens long before the event.
The writing is effective - easy to follow but also layered and nuanced. Stiefvater never feels the need to overwrite the scenes and all of the characters live very much in the 'now'. Both Puck and Sean are strong characters, driven but also flawed in important ways that only enhance, and not detract, from the story.
I've enjoyed all of Stiefvater's books and this one is no exception. I really especially liked that this is a story all contained within one book instead of dragged out over a series.
I listened to the audible version and it was well done.
I would not say the audio version is better, I can't make that kind of comparison. I love the audio and print versions equally. The audio version does, however, make everything seem more real, Thisby could be a real place, with real people, with real feelings. These become evident in the vocal tones and inflections used by the narrators. The casting is perfect, Puck and Sean are so much more real. I love it.
I love both main characters equally.
How can you not love Kate/Puck Connolly - she's a great female character.
And Sean Kendrick - how can you not love him with his one foot on the land and one in the sea. He's so... you can't help but love him.
I loved everything about Steve West and Fiona Hardingham's performance, they were great. So great, I'm not ashamed to say that I have listened to them narrate The Scorpio Races about 11 times. (this last session of uni was nightmarish, they really, really helped)
Yes. But I showed great personal strength and didn't listen to it all in one sitting yet.
Money/Credits well spent. One of the best audiobooks I've experienced.
This fantastical tale was pure pleasure to listen to. The story was engaging, the characters well developed and likable, the description of setting and story were very well done. The narrators also did a great all-around job and were easy and enjoyable to listen to. Would definitely give a sequel or another book by the same author a read. Good for adults and YA alike.
I am an avid reader, mother of two, fangirl, nerdfighter, Chicago Cubs enthusiast and NASA supporter.
Set on a remote island, The Scorpio Races tells a story that is half fairy tale, half coming of age story. Puck and Sean are both facing great obstacles on their small island home. Sean is a Scorpio races champion many times over, but there is something empty about racing with a horse that you love, but isn't yours. Puck is struggling to keep her home and to keep her family together after the death of her parents at the hands of the capaill uisce, the carnivorous horses that are raced every year. Maggie Stiefvater paints a detailed picture of life on the island, with beautiful and rich imagery. The more I read her books, the more I am convinced that she is doing some of the most beautiful writing out there today. The book switched back and forth between Puck and Sean, so you get a good idea of each character's world. Even though Thisby could be a harsh place, I grew to love it, as well, and could understand why people chose to make it their home. When Puck decides to ride in the race, you could see her insane bravery as well as how scared she was. Obviously, Sean saw it, too, and while the romance is very subtle, it is also so sweet and well done. This isn't a book that is fast paced, but I always say that I think we need more books that aren't "wham, bam". It's ok for a writer to take their time in building a story and it's ok for the two protagonists to be established as characters before they meet. I thought the slow burn of this book was one of the things that made it so amazing.
The narrators were absolutely outstanding. Although we never really know where Thisby is, the voices are English and I felt that was a good choice because it was written as if they were, in there manner of speech and colloquialisms. (The narrator who reads Sean's parts has a sexy, sexy voice, guys.) Both had excellent pacing and read the other characters very well. If you listen to this audiobook you will see why it has won so many awards. As an added bonus, the author reads the acknowledgments and the notes about the book at the end. I give it my highest recommendation.
The originality. I have never heard a story like this before and I was hooked at the beginning. The voices were fantastic, and I fell in love with the characters.
I liked that the main character was not your typical starry eyed, romantic girl. She is strong and stubborn. I loved the history behind the island and the races.
I have not, but I loved their voices.
There were plenty of moments that moved me, but I don't want to ruin the story for anyone. It's an easy book to get caught up in, their world is enchanting. The very end had me in tears.
One of my new favorite books, absolutely loved the story and the incredible narration by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham.
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