Monday, November 28, 2011

Book Club: Scorpio Races

The Scorpio RacesThis month’s pick for the Fall Book Club is Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I read the book a while ago when I snatched up the ARC at BEA so this review is going to be briefer than most of my book club reviews. I look forward to hearing what others think about this new novel from the Wolves of Mercy Falls author.

Overall, I’m torn about this novel. It’s so different than the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, which I adored. This novel is older, darker. And based on sales numbers, lots of readers are confused about this novel, too. During a brief conversation at Harper many editors didn’t know if this was teen or tween—you know you’re in trouble when publishing professionals don’t even know the basic details about a book!

The strength in this novel is the language. Stiefvater builds a beautifully cold and isolated world using a few words as possible. And the sparse dialog, especially between Puck and Sean, really proves that Maggie Stiefvater is a talented writer.

It’s Puck and Sean’s relationship, though, that caused me to pause the most while reading the novel. Their relationship isn’t the sigh-and-swoon type of Sam and Grace. I never actually felt connected to them. I cared more about Sean’s water horse than Sean himself. The characters seemed like a excuse to use the language rather than being the driving factor for the story.

The Scorpio RacesIn the end, I’m glad that this is a one-off and not the beginning of a series. Although the writing was compelling I doubt I’d pick up a sequel. And the cover art isn’t doing the book any favors, either. It’s dull—almost appropriate for non-fiction. Check out the UK art, it’s world’s better!

What do you think; are water horses going to be the next trend in paranormal?


  1. I agree that the strength was in the language--I loved the descriptions of the salty, sea-foamy island so much that I wanted to hop the A train to the Rockaways while reading. (Laziness prevented that off-season beach trip.) I felt conflicted about the understated relationship; in some ways I felt the distance worked but at the same time I wanted more.
    Thanks for the honest review!

  2. I'm always curious how a trend begins, and you're the second person I've seen that is talking about horses! It really makes me want to jump on the bandwagon!

    YA Tournament of Heroines: Hermione is my Heroine... Care to join?

  3. Oh I hope it doesn't become a new trend. What I loved about this book was how different it was from anything else out there.

    I know what you mean about the relationship between Sean and Puck. There wasn't the fire there that Grace and Sam had, but I think the sweeter, more gradual romance worked here. Both had this huge stressor in their lives--the possibly deadly race, the prospect of losing a horse that's the only family you have, a brother leaving, and the loss of a family home--that I don't think it would be realistic if this were about the romance more than the race. And I'm not sure it's in Sean's personality to get completely wrapped up in a girl like Sam does when he's so focused. Plus, it allowed us to really see the love Sean has for Corr. That bond was one of my favorite things in the book, and I'm glad his feelings for Puck didn't overwhelm him so much that we lost the connection to Corr.

    Oh, and nice point about the cover. I'm a bigger fan of the UK one, though I haven't seen the US one in person. What a great, honest review!

  4. @Tracey: You make a great point how Sean and Puck's type of relationship fit the circumstances of the novel. It would have been inappropriate to be really romantic and I loved the relationship with Corr. I guess I just wanted a relationship like Sam and Grace's because that series is one of the only YA books/series I've ever read that I really really felt the achy, romantic relationship. I wanted it again!

  5. I totally agree about the cover art. I kept seeing the UK cover coming up on Google Images and feeling downright swindled! It's beautiful!

    I'm surprised, though that the folks over at Harper were so in the dark about this one! I feel like this book keeps popping up everywhere, especially now that everyone's running their end of the year lists.

    My name is Jessica, btw, and I am visiting from Tracey's book club. Nice to meet you :-)

  6. Hmm, it's interesting to see other reader's opinions about the relationship factor, because I actually enjoyed reading a YA novel that didn't emphasize the romance so much as the actual story. It was a breath of fresh air. But then again, I'm odd, haha! Anyway, I came over from the book club, so howdy.

    And I'm going to have to disagree about the covers...I like the US one. :D It's like the story. It feels powerful and isolated with just Puck on Dove, racing across the sand.