The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – Book Review

Title: The Scorpio Races

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Genre/Themes: Young Adult, Mythology, Fantasy, Paranormal

Blurb from Goodreads

Some race to win. Others race to survive.

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 choice.

So she enters the competition – the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

My Review

Gosh that was incredibly atmospheric, and far more interesting and gripping than I had ever imagined it could be.

“What’s there to miss? This was never mine to miss.”

If you asked me what The Scorpio Races was about I think I’d probably say a horse race but it is so much more than that too… and I’d then get all tongue tied as I tried to further explain… because I’m asking myself that very same question now and I am unsure quite how to answer it.

So please excuse this review if it turns into a rambling stream of feelings and emotions and other nonsensical utterings!

This is my first ever book by Maggie Stiefvater and can I say WELL DONE…. not that I feel she has been waiting all these years for my applause and adulation or anything!!

But oh my gosh her writing! It is so lyrical and gorgeous, and the atmosphere she creates within this novel is simply breath-taking. And can we talk about the pacing and flow of the narrative! The pacing is to die for; it is slow, sensuous, and utterly PERFECT for this story line. It just builds and builds and builds…

To me this book really invokes the feelings of being along the Irish north-western coastline.

It is wild, it is rugged, it is peaceful… yet it is volatile! It is a dangerous beauty. She captured the wilds of the Atlantic perfectly. It is such a dark sea that you can believe that it is populated by na capaill uisce, the water horses; mythical vicious creatures that the characters in this book attempt to harness and to race in the deadliest of horse races.

Stiefvater definitely has the makings of a seanchaí within her, a traditional teller of Irish stories. I believed in the world she created. It brought me back to my childhood of listening to all the old Irish myths and legends. She definitely understood how to set the scene for a story involving Celtic mysticism.

The main characters of Seán and Puck were simply beautifully drawn. Seán did not say much but he did not need to. He was glorious in his understated perfection..

And then I see him.

A dark-haired boy who is made of all corners.

He is standing next in line by the counter, silent and still in his blue-black jacket, his arms folded across his chest. He looks out of place and wild in here: expression sharp, collar turned up against the back of his neck, hair still windblown from the beach.

He is not looking at anyone or away from anyone; he’s just standing there looking at the ground, his mind obviously far, far away from the butcher’s. Everyone else is being crowded and jostled, but no one crowds or jostles him, though they don’t seem to avoid him, either.

It’s like he’s just not in the same place as the rest of us.

And then Puck: she was strong and feisty and pure of soul. She felt so true and honest as if she was a living, breathing person. Her relationship with Seán was so sensitively written. So gentle, so soft amidst the harshness of what was going on around them.

“… but then part of me sees my hands in front of me. They’re Mum’s hands, not a little girl’s hands, and I know I’m wearing Mum’s face, too. I wonder how long it will take for me to feel as adult inside as I look outside.”

The supporting characters each held their own: Puck’s brothers, their friends, Malvern snr., Mutt, Holly. They were flawed, they were loving, they were complicated, they were mean-spirited; each one was unique and each one had depth of personality and soul.

This book was utterly engrossing, captivating, enchanting….

It sucked me in to this magical harsh world and made me a believer in the old ways. I fell in love with the characters, the landscape, na capaill uisce, the writing, the pacing…

Basically I fell in love with everything!


“I try to think of what I can say to comfort him. I don’t even know if he wants it. I don’t know if I’d want to be comforted, if I’m being honest. If I’m being forced to eat soot, I want to know that somewhere else in the world, someone else has to eat soot as well. I want to know that soot tastes terrible. I don’t want to be told that soot’s good for my digestion. And of course, by soot, I mean beans.”

Other Books by Maggie Stiefvater I’ve Reviewed

My Socials

5 thoughts on “The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – Book Review

  1. I have yet to read The Scorpio Races (for years I’ve been planning to read it in November for the full vibes but it hasn’t happened yet) but your review just made me even more excited for when I do end up reading it! I’ve only read the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater but I loved that series a lot, there’s such a specific kind of atmosphere and magic to her writing that I really enjoy.


    1. I kind of do the same thing with books that I’m really excited to read. I decide there’s this perfect time to read them, a sort of save them up for a proverbial rainy day… and that “rainy day” never comes lol! I’m not a big Stiefvater fan but the scorpio races is totally worth all the praise it’s gotten over the years 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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