The Scorpio Races

The Scorpio Races

Book - 2011 | 1st ed. --
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Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.
Publisher: New York : Scholastic Press, 2011.
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780545224901
Branch Call Number: YA FIC Stief
Characteristics: 409 p.


From the critics

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Apr 09, 2021

Violent. Briny. Determined. Formidable. Adjectives to describe The Scorpio Races. I REALLY loved the frightening and majestic capaill uisce more than anything, but I also appreciated the obstinate and compassionate character, Kate "Puck" Connolly. My only dislike would be too much world building and not as much action in the actual Scorpio races. Still, Stiefvater doesn't disappoint!

This is my favourite book ever. The atmosphere, the stunning writing, the beautifully wrought characters and their relationships with their horses. Absolute perfection.

This book is so much more than its description. It's coming of age but still being a bit immature. which, for this book, fit so well. If you are a horse lover then I think you would really enjoy this book.

PimaLib_LauraC Nov 23, 2020

One of my late Autumn rituals is to reread Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races. The story takes place on a fictitious Irish island where the locals capture and race carnivorous water horses every November.

Yes. Carnivorous water horses.

For lovers of folklore, highly recommended.

This book is my heart book. I've said that before about some other titles, and though it's true, that this isn't my only heart book, it is the heart book, the one that sticks out to this day as my favourite amongst so many others that come close. It combines so many things for me, so many aspects of my life that no other book has ever come close to, and I have so many emotions swirling through me after this reread. This was one of the first books that I read that left me in tears, and because of the emotion I have invested in it, this review is probably going to get messy. Bear with me.

This is the story about a horse race, with deadly horse demons as the contenders. True. But more than that, it's about a boy who loves his horse, and a horse who loves his boy. It's about a girl who wants her family to be together again, and who will do anything to make that happen - even enter the deadly demon horse race on her island pony. It's about the culture of a tiny island that survives on horse sweat, November cakes, and tradition. It's about relationships, between people and their animals and people and people and people and their homes. It's everything, all rolled together.

Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick are, naturally, the beating heart of this book. Sean, the quiet boy made of sharp angles and quiet determination. Puck, the fierce island girl who's as much a part of Thisby as Thisby is a part of her. Their slow burn always leaves me breathless and aching for them to be happy, and do it together. I can just picture them in a cluttered little farmhouse, dirty because they're always out with the horses and never inside cleaning it, raising a family on horseback. I need this in my life in order to move forward okay.

I was a horseback rider all my life. I grew up in stables, and on the back of a horse is where I always felt most comfortable. I had no confidence anywhere else, but put me on a horse and I could do anything. I miss it sometimes. This book feels like my childhood. It feels like the quiet moments spent in the barn just talking to my horse. Like going out to the pasture just to sit in the presence of the horses, to soak in their energy and let my mind clear. Like getting up for horse shows at 5am, full of nerves and anticipation, and ending the day feeling more alive than I ever did otherwise.

This is my heart book. It always has been. It always will be.

Dec 30, 2019

I love this book so much. It's one of the books that got me back into reading when I was in college. Such a well written story. I totally cried

Mar 21, 2019

This book is amazing. It burrows into you heart and leaves you longing for the open sky and for rain. Plus, there's man eating horses. And some romance. Basically it's got everything.

Feb 27, 2019

I almost don't want to type this review of it because of how much I love it. There's a special place in my heart for this book; it's writing, atmosphere, pacing, world-building, and characters all land it a place there.

Feb 26, 2019

Profoundly beautiful story with excellent characters. Recommended.

IndyPL_SteveB Jan 23, 2019

“It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.”

A terrific, edgy thriller with one fantasy element – the riders in the races run on “water-horses” – from Gaelic legends, horses that come from the sea to run on the land. If you can catch and tame them, they are stronger and faster than regular horses. Two problems, though: They long to return to the sea, where they might drown you, and ... they are carnivorous predators. The race is about survival as much as about winning.

The annual races take place on a small rocky island off the coast of Ireland or Scotland. Sean is a 19 old horse lover, expert at dealing with normal horses and one of the few who can handle the water-horses. He has won 4 of the past 6 races with a red water-stallion that he has a special relationship with. Kate, called "Puck," was orphaned when her parents were killed by water-horses while fishing. She wants to be the first woman in the race and she wants to race with her “normal” horse against the water-horses.

It is not a book about winning races or a romance, although both aspects have a part. It is a novel of culture and growing up and finding out “what you need.” A major winner.

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Age Suitability

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Jul 24, 2018

katiefaye thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

LVCCLD_KathyD Jan 31, 2018

LVCCLD_KathyD thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

May 01, 2017

blue_dog_8329 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Dec 17, 2016

mandikerr thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Jul 21, 2016

McKayla1234 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jul 11, 2016

lynx_girl thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 15

Dec 28, 2014

hayaahmed thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Nov 04, 2014

louisa244 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jan 14, 2014

xhenalatifi thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jul 24, 2013

millibanini thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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What it's like is a battle. A mess of horses and men and blood. The fastest and strongest of what is left from two weeks of preparation on the sand. It's the surf in your face, the deadly magic of November on your skin, the Scorpio drums in the place of your heartbeat. It's speed, if you're lucky. It's life and it's death or it's both and there's nothing like it. Once upon a time, this moment - this last light of evening the day before the race - was the best moment of the year for me. The anticipation of the game to come. But that was when all I had to lose was my life.

Apr 11, 2015

"I am so, so alive."

Aug 16, 2013

She bites!

Apr 27, 2012

if you love something, set it free, if it was yours, it will come back.


Add Notices
Nov 04, 2014

Other: There are some very descriptive scenes of violence so if you do not like blood then....and there is the language, not alot but some. The book overall is good but if you are under 12 years of age,eh, not really for you. It has horses alright but the thing is, they are scary horses. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IF YOU DO NOT LIKE BLOOD.

Jan 14, 2014

Coarse Language: A little bit of language


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mvkramer Sep 27, 2013

On the island of Thisby, autumn brings with it the capall uisce -- fey "water horses" that long to drown or eat men. Since people can remember, the brave and foolish have tried to tame the horses in order to ride them in the Scorpio Races each November. Puck is an orphan who takes care of her three brothers. When she finds out her house will be taken from her if she doesn't pay for it, she enters herself in the Races -- the first girl ever to ride. Sean Kendrick is also an orphan, his father taken from him by the Races he loves. For him, winning the Race would mean getting everything he loves, his red water horse Corr and freedom. Even though Puck and Sean are competing, they are drawn to each other, two stubborn, determined and passionate souls. But will the Race tear them apart?

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