Review: The Scorpio Races (A New All-Time Fave Read)

scorpior acesTitle: The Scorpio Races

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Narrators: Steve West, Fiona Hardingham

Source: On Loan from Library

Edition: Audio book (CD)

Genre: Modern Fantasy?

Publisher: Scholastic Audio Books

Published Date: October 18, 2011

My Rating: 5parachutes

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From Goodreads:

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.

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Dates Read: June 12- 14, 2013

My Review:

Because this was an audio book, my perspective is probably very different from someone who read this book in print. Throughout my auditory experience I was treated to two very talented narrators with accents that really set the scene. I can’t say for sure of course, but I don’t believe I would have liked reading this story as much as I loved listening to it.

The Scorpio Races begin in the past and it is in the past where we meet one of the two protagonists, Sean Kendrick, a young boy on the beach to see his dad race and ultimately witnesses his father’s death. We are then brought to the present where we meet Puck Connolly our other protagonist who lives in her family’s home with her two brothers barely managing to make ends meet.

The Scorpio Races are an annual event held in November that takes place on a small island. Every year the capaill uisce, or water horses, make for land or are fished out by men hoping to train them for the Scorpio Races. These water horses are unlike ordinary horses in every way except overall shape. They’re much larger, faster, stronger. They hunger for flesh and blood and are driven mad by the sea from whence they came.

Characters

Sean Kendrick is one of those strong, silent types. He doesn’t speak unless asked a question and keeps to himself even when provoked by the Malverns (the most affluent family on the island and Kendrick’s boss). Kendrick’s sole purpose is to win the race and finally be able to call Corr (the water horse Kendrick has been training for years) his own. He’s honorable and committed, his ability to communicate with the horses simply by knowing them as well as he does makes him someone you won’t soon forget. Honestly I was rooting for him as much as I was rooting for Puck.

Puck Connolly was great in ways that were similar and ways that deferred from her male counterpart. She was strong, but outspoken. It was her strength that ultimately inspired Kendrick to get what he wanted. Puck is the kind of heroine we can all root for, she’s honest and resilient. Though it’s her compassion for her family that keeps her pressing on against all odds.

Plot-Wise

The dual point-of-views really worked in this book’s favor. We see the capaill uisce from the perspective of two horse lovers and while it takes Puck a quick minute to overcome her fear of the water horses, she does do so and does brilliantly.

It’s been a couple of months since I listened to the audio book so forgive me if this part is a bit short.

The story itself was beautiful, yes the narrators’ voices were amazing, but the author did a fantastic job creating this world. I was hooked not even halfway through the first disc, that’s about thirty minutes roughly. Puck, Kendrick, Puck’s brothers, the Malverns they all came alive. You knew them. And while you didn’t always love them *Gabe and Mutt* you knew their stories. None of them were perfect, though little Finn was pretty close.

I thought we were weaved this exquisite tale from start to finish. Where I am occasionally bored (this has been known to happen during audio books as well as print) at some point, I never felt bored once. I loved every minute of it.

I will warn those who love the romance aspect of a story, while there was one, it was not the major focus and hardly touched on even by the story’s end. I would classify The Scorpio Races as very light romance.

Thoughts on the Narrators

I don’t have much experience with audio books, but since listening to the Scorpio Races I have yet to find another narrator who I love as much as I love these two. They’re ruined me 😉

I have absolutely no complaints, their accents created a certain ambiance that made me feel as though I was right there with them. Both narrators brought this story to life in ways I could not have imagined. I did laugh a little every time West spoke for the American, it wasn’t a bad laugh I promise. Though I did wonder how actors, narrators, etc disguise their accents when the role calls for it?

Both narrators have heavy accents, but there is absolutely no issue with not being able to understand them, really truly. After the last disc ended, I was left complete and wishing I could listen to something else they narrated.

Summary

If you’re looking for something unusual, unlike anything else you’ve read so far, look no further. Fall in love with Sean Kendrick, cheer for Puck Connolly and get lost in the Scorpio Races!

The Scorpio Races has quickly become one of my all-time favorites and I cannot recommend it enough. If you still haven’t read this one, consider the audio book, you will NOT be disappointed! If you have read it, but not listened to it, then listen to it. Trust me, it is impossible to be disappointed.

I loved this so hard!

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