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. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.
Kate (aka Puck) Connolly and Sean Kendrick live in an island famous for the Scorpio Races. Every November people from everywhere gather at Thisby for the event. The Scorpio Race is famous because of the horses that race against each other: they’re capaill uisce, dangerous horses that come from the sea. They eat flesh and the race is so brutal that pretty much every year someone dies during it. The capaill uisce are interesting creatures, they are drawn to the sea, but not everyone understand them. Sean is one of the few who can deal with them, so whenever there’s something going on with the sea horses someone will call him.
Puck is the only girl at home. She lives with her 2 brothers, Finn and Gabe, since her parents died because of the capaill uisce. When Gabe says he’s leaving the island, Puck decides to race, so he would stay at least until the race is over. She doesn’t really think much about it, saying she’s gonna race is her first reaction. Later on, she realizes it isn’t going to be that easy. First because she is the first girl ever to race, second because she decides she’s going to race with Dove, her horse. Dove is not a capall uisce, another reason why she may not have a chance. The locals are not happy with her decision and try everything they can to stop her.
The Scorpio Races was a really slow reading at first. It took me a while to get into the story, but after that, I just couldn’t put it down. Puck and Sean captivated me somehow that I didn’t know for whom I should cheer more during the race. It is an amazing story about family, loyalty and overcoming the obstacles. This was the first Stiefvater’s book I’ve read, and I loved it. If you’re softhearted as I am, you may find yourself extremely touched by the last scene. Is there any way you can love Corr more?
My favorite quotes on this book are bellow.
It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.
I don’t think often on my father’s body strung out through the reddening surf. Instead, I remember him as he was before the race: afraid. I won’t make the same mistake.
She is my mare and my best friend, and I keep waiting for something bad to happen to her, because I love her too much.
I trust Corr more than any of them.
I should not trust him at all.
There are moments that you’ll remember for the rest of your life and there are moments that you think you’ll remember for the rest of your life, and it’s not often they turn out to be the same moments.
As a child, the chief thing I noticed about Dory was that she was always wearing a different pair of shoes, a strange and extravagant thing on the island. Now mostly what I notice about her is that she and her sisters have no last name, a strange and extravagant thing just about anywhere.
She had a short fuse this morning, because it was a day that ended with y, you see.
“Boys,” she says, “just aren’t very good at being afraid.”
“I believe in the same thing they believe in,” I say, with a jerk of my chin toward town and St. Columba’s. “I just don’t believe you can find it in a building.”
“You made all of them what they are.”
I don’t look at him. “None of them made me who I am.”
It feels like he’s confessed that he’s dying of a disease I’ve never heard of, with symptoms I can’t see.
It’s easy to convince men to love you, Puck. All you have to do is be a mountain they have to climb or a poem they don’t understand. Something that makes them feel strong or clever. It’s why they love the ocean.
“Don’t talk to Malvern’s son,” Dory Maud warns.
I’m already heading away, but I glance back over my shoulder. “Why not?”
“Because he might talk back!”
“You know a lot about him.”
I know that Benjamin Malvern likes to drink his tea with butter and salt in it, and that his nose is big enough to hide acorns in. I know that he wants to be entertained but that few things manage it. But I don’t know if that means that I know him.
I’d always thought I was above being fascinated by anyone but myself.
I think that’s the mercy of this island, actually, that it won’t give us our terrible memories for long, but lets us keep the good ones for as long as we want them.
“If I were Gabe, I’d go to America instead of the mainland.”
This statement ruins any good mood I had germinating in my soul. “If you were Gabe, I’d slap you.”
The only thing is, the more I see him and Corr together, the more I think of how unbearable it would be for Sean to lose him.
But we can’t both win.
“I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.”
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, “It’s late for that, Puck.”
I think, just then, that this is why Norman Falk asked for Sean to be there. Not because he was the only one who could perform the ritual. But because Sean Kendrick, looking like that, is the races, even if no race was ever run. A reminder of what the horses mean to the island — a bridge between what we are and that thing about Thisby that we all want but can’t seem to touch. When Sean stands there, his face turned out to the sea, he is no more civilized than any of the capaill uisce, and it unsettles me.
“Tell me what it’s like. The race.”
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.
“There’s no one braver than you on that beach.”
Her voice is dismissive. “That doesn’t matter.”
“You didn’t have to. I’ll come back next year and you’ll have a nest of horses outside your window and Puck Connolly in your bed and I’ll buy from you instead of Malvern. That’s your future for you.”
“The future sounds much kinder in your accent.”
“What I need is for your mother to have thought a little harder nine months before your birthday.”
My mother always told me that you should wear your best clothing when you are angry, because it would scare people.
“You two are a strange pair. You are a pair, aren’t you?”
“We’re in training.”
Love is not always enough, as much as we may want it to be.