Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Book Reviews

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

5 Stars

I thought I knew what to expect with Maggie’s writing as I sat down to read The Scorpio Races, but wow, she outdid herself with this one!

Those of us who love Maggie Stiefvater’s other books know that her writing will be lyrical, that it just flows beautifully, and that the stories will be touching. There will also be kissing, and most definitely someone will die. All those things are in The Scorpio Races, except this time she has also created an incredible setting.

Thisby is this small spec of an island, where mythical water horses, or capall uisce, rise from the ocean in the fall. These horses are deadly and huge and each year there’s a race where those brave enough to ride them can win some money. I loved the atmosphere of this small island. The people all know and take care of each other and aside from the scary water horses, I think I’d enjoy some time in Thisby in the fall. Also, it left me wondering what it would be like in the spring and summer. This place left such an impression on me, that now when I’m asked “What fictional land or place from a book would you like to live in or visit?”, I will not hesitate to answer “Thisby from The Scorpio Races.”

The story is told by Sean and Puck, whose actual name is Kate. They have never met before, which in such a small island is a big feat, but this year they’re both entering the races and their meeting was electric! Sparks!! Albeit, quiet sparks, but sparks nonetheless! :) Theirs was a romance that slowly bloomed into something beautiful and enduring. I loved watching them go from general interest, to respect, to friendship, and finally love.

I loved Puck. She is a little spitfire! I loved how important her brothers, their home, and her horse, Dove, were to her. And she proved she’d do anything for them by entering the races for a chance to win that money. Her relationship with her brothers really touched me. At first, I was really angry at Gabe for putting her and Finn in an even worse situation, but later, like Puck, I came around and understood why he needed to do what he planned. I absolutely ADORED Finn Connolly (the youngest brother)!! He was the source of light in this story. Whenever he was on the page, I was smiling. The people, especially the men, of the island do not make it easy on her once she enters. There’s never been a girl in the races before, especially one who’s not riding a water horse, and they try hard to intimidate her. Our girl is stronger than they realize, though. :)

Sean Kendrick. Oh, Sean Kendrick…I wanted to hug him and kiss his sad loneliness away!! Nobody does quiet, mysterious boys quite like Maggie. (See: Sam Roth or Luke Dillon) Sean has worked for the richest man on the island since he was 10 years old. He is a horse whisperer…literally!! No one can connect with horses as he does, and no one can train the capall uisce like him, either. One, in particular, Corr, his winning mare, is connected to him like none of the others. Corr is the reason Sean needs to win the races.

While I thought the fact Sean and Puck both need to win the races would interfere with their blooming romance, I was pleased it made them sort of a team. Them against everyone else.

There are so many scenes I want to highlight and mark as favorite quotes from this book!! I will be vague about these two I really loved…if you’ve read the book already, tell me if you agree, and if you haven’t yet, come back after you do:

The boy with the bread for dinner (no, not that boy with the bread…that’s a different book) and the scene on the cliffs, where words that are needed are spoken.


I think Maggie outdid herself with the beautiful imagery in this book. The island, the horses, the people, the festival and the food, the race, the ocean, the deaths, THAT ENDING!! It was all so incredibly vivid for me, visually and emotionally! I took my time reading The Scorpio Races just so I could savor it because with every word, I was transported to this place and I did not want to leave it.

Book Info

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic
Pub Date: October 18th 2011
Pages: 404
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: FantasyYoung Adult
Buy the book! | 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.


Check out the incredible trailer, created by Maggie herself:

So, not only was Big Honcho Media kind enough to provide me with a copy for review, they are also giving away TWO copies away!!

And they also have a Twitter Sweepstake going on: Tweet the page you’re on in #ScorpioRaces by @mstiefvater for chance to win! |


Link Up!

About the book: From Maggie Stiefvater, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shiver series (over 1.7 million copies in print!), comes a brand-new, heart-stopping novel. With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff – with more than just their lives at stake should they lose.

4 starred reviews:

  • “A taut, chilling, romantic adventure [that] comes to a pitch-perfect conclusion. Masterful. Like nothing else out there
    now.” – Kirkus, starred review
  • “A book with cross-appeal to lovers of fantasy, horse stories, romance, and action-adventure, this has a shot at being the next YA blockbuster.”- Booklist, starred review
  • “As a study of courage and loyalty tested… it is an utterly compelling read.”- Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • “Stiefvater sets not one foot wrong as she takes readers on an intoxicating ride of their own.”- Horn Book, starred review



About Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater

Professional novelist by day and artist by night, Maggie Stiefvater is the author of the Books of Faerie (Lament and Ballad); the bestselling Shiver trilogy (Shiver, Linger, Forever), as well as The Scorpio Races and The Raven Boys. Stiefvater lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

34 Responses to “Review: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater”

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    This books sounds so good and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

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    Cynthia A.

    I loved this one to, the island was like a character to me, it was so richly detailed and I felt like I was there, loved all the people in it too and how close they were. Definitely agree about the blooming romance, I loved to see the romance grow between characters. Great review Jess! :)

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    Glad to see you loved it! Maggie is such a lovely writer. I’m a huge fan of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series and I like that she tends to be dark in her writing. So I’m amped to finally read this one. Great review and happy reading this week!

  4. Avatar

    Jessica@a GREAT read

    Great giveaway! I can’t make up my mind about this one, so winning it would be nice!

  5. Avatar


    Great review! I can’t enter the giveaway (Canadian here) but I’m really looking forward to this one it seems to have mixed reviews but I’m still intrigued by the premise.

    Xpresso Reads

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    I’m picking this one up at the libs this week and can’t WAIT to read it! Thanks for the lovely review and the giveaway :)

  7. Avatar

    Lena Beana

    I LOVED THE SCORPIO RACES!  And yes, Finn was the bright spot in all the killer horses mania.  Oh, and brooding, pained Sean Kendrick!  How I loved him.  And Puck!  What a champ.

    EEP, great review, hon! :)

  8. Avatar


    Fun, fun, fun!!  Thx for the Giveaway & Review!

    Love your site… New Follower.

  9. Avatar

    Lori M. Lee

    I’ve been eying this book for months. Thanks so much for this giveaway! And I agree about the quiet, mysterious boys :D

  10. Avatar

    Ashley Olivero

    I love, love, LOVE Maggie Stiefvater! Thanks so much for the giveaway, Jess! <3 <3

  11. Avatar


    Thank you so much for the amazing review and giveaway! I’m really loved the Wolves Of Mercy Falls series and I’m obssesed with horses. This seems to be the perfect book for me. Thanks again for the giveaway! Hope I win

  12. Avatar


    I’m not sure why this book hasn’t drawn my interest but your review makes me think twice.  Maybe I should read it.


  13. Avatar


    I read Maggie Stiefvater’s books for her writing even though her plots don’t always appeal to me. Her book trailers are always beautiful!

  14. Avatar

    Sashana Jeffery

    I don’t have the best history with Maggie Stiefvater’s books but this one has piqued my interests. Count me in! 

  15. Avatar

    Sophia Chang

    Can I tell you how much I’m dying to read this book?  It’s EXACTLY the kind of fantasy I like.  I’m desperate for more of this stuff!

  16. Avatar


    This book sounds good!  I’m looking forward to reading it.  Thanks for the chance to get my hands on it!

  17. Avatar

    K M

    Thank you for the chance to win! I’ve heard so many good things about this book, and I can’t wait to read it! Fingers crossed!

  18. Avatar

    Missie Bee

    Amazing trailer, but I’m not surprised. Stiefvater is brilliant and her writing rocks my freaking world.

    I love the sound of family element you mention that Puck has going on. She seems pretty dynamic and I’d love to meet her. :)

  19. Avatar

    Missie Bee

    Eke! I think I messed up on entering this giveaway. When I first looked at the from from the main page, I didn’t notice it said “Someone Like You by Susan Mallery”

    Anyhoo, sorry for the double entry. 

  20. Avatar

    Chen Chang

    Wow, thanks for the awesome giveaway! I really love Maggie’s writing so I know I will love The Scorpio Races! And I definitely can’t read about the romance in the book!

  21. Avatar


    oh wow i loved the book so much… anyone know if there will ever be another one? i hope there will be. i would like to see more of the romantic side of the story. with the shiver trilogy i felt like Maggie Stiefvater had forgotten to write the last book…

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