When I got my box of books from ALA, I had a pretty distinct order I’d planned to read them in. Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races wasn’t that high on the list, mainly because I haven’t read Shiver. But Katie is obsessed with horse books and I wanted her to be able to read it, so I ended up reading it second. And as soon as I started? I couldn’t put it down. I mailed it within days and messaged Katie every five minutes…”So, have you read Scorpio Races yet?” And then she finally read it and now it is time for some gushing.
Katie: The second I started reading The Scorpio Races I was hooked. Being a self-professed horse freak I was destined to love this book. But when I realized that the author was a fellow Virginian, and the book was about a famous horse race, run on a barrier island on horses that came from the sea… I instantly thought of my childhood vacations and favorite kid book, Misty of Chincoteague. Add to the fact that these horses EAT PEOPLE and I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down.
Kate: It was the eating people that sucked me in. At first I was reading pleasantly along. Oh, a horse race? On an island? Will there be sweaters and grasses blowing in the wind??? NO! THERE WILL BE HORSES THAT COME FROM THE SEA TO FEAST ON YOUR FLESH!
Katie: It’s pretty much the horse book that I’ve been waiting for since I was in fourth grade. I sincerely think this could stand up there with some of the greats- Marguerite Henry, Anna Sewell…move over on the shelves for The Scorpio Races.
Kate: See, confession. Horses…scare me. I had a bad experience once, and since I have a Mr. Darcy-esque streak of being unable to forgive people/things that have offended me, I’ve never gotten over it. So horse books? Not so much my thing. I like the idea of horse races from a distance, ala The Quiet Man. Me liking this book? Totally out of the blue. It was the only horse book I think I could have really loved. And I loved this book. It was easily in the top five YA books I’ve read this year.
Katie: I absolutely concur, probably within my top three even. It had fascinating and real characters, deliciously terrifying creatures, a fantastic setting, and a great mix of character growth and plot to keep it moving. And if you do like horses, it truly embodied the love and affection between a horse and rider, the connection between them, and had the seemingly minor details of day-to-day care and life with horses that can make even the most ardent equine enthusiast cheer.
Kate: I got that connection being someone who wouldn’t know a connection to a horse if it kicked me in the head. What made this novel stand out for me was the language. It was beautifully, often hauntingly written. I felt like every page added to the characters and the story. And the characters? Wonderful. Everyone had a complicated, sad story without that defining them. This was very much a book about two young adults who knew where they wanted to go but were struggling with the getting there part. I liked that a lot.
Katie: I did too. Particularly how Stiefvater never put the reader too far into the characters heads, but you never felt that they were a mystery to you. There was this level of distance and vagueness, that gave you exactly what you wanted and needed to know without bogging you down with the details. Her writing was so elegant and complicated through its sheer simplicity. And the two main characters, Puck and Sean were her writing style come to life- complicated and yet incredibly simple in their wants and desires.
Kate: And as much as I want to say more about Puck and Sean, this book doesn’t come out until October 18th. How will y’all wait that long!? Don’t ask me, because I can’t even imagine a world in which this book hasn’t been devoured by every single person alive. But! One of you won’t have to suffer the anticipation. If you live in the USA or Canada (or have an address we can ship the book to in one of those countries) leave a comment on this entry (I am so low-tech) by Saturday, August 27, 2011 at midnight CST. On August 28, we’ll randomly select a winner to receive their very own ARC of The Scorpio Races.
Katie: So whether you grew up wanting a pony or you’re desperate for a novel that is highly original and will stick with you for a long time, The Scorpio Races is the book for you. And trust me folks, you don’t want this book. You NEED it. So comment below so you can share our love of The Scorpio Races.