Published by Scholastic Press on 18 October 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Source: Kindle Purchase
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Summary from 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.
I had no idea what to expect when I picked up The Scorpio Races, and I was completely blown away by it all! The characters, the vicious cappal uisce and the mystery surrounding both them and the race.
Puck had to fight for everything she believed in to save her home and her little brother, and Sean gave his all to save the cappal uisce he considered to be his own, while working hard to keep other riders and horses alive and well too.
The world Sean and Puck live in is a world contained on the island they were both born on, the island that took the lives of both of Pucks parents and of Sean’s dad. The island that made Sean’s mom leave both her husband and her son behind to get to the mainland. Every year in November, the Scorpio Races happen. These races are riders riding on the water horses called the cappal uisce. Sean has been riding, and winning, for years, on the red stallion Corr, the stallion his dad was racing on the year he died.
I actually really liked that we got one chapter from Puck’s point of view, then the next from Sean’s. It was a great way to get to know both of them better, even without having an omniscient narrator telling us what was up. Both Sean and Puck are very strong characters, they believe in themselves, and they will fight to get what they think they need.
The way Sean had to fight against both his boss, his boss’s son and all the other riders showed how much the races meant to him. At the same time, Sean being so young was one of the characters who was the most mature in the whole book, a very old soul in the body of a young man. The rivalry that reign between the riders is very strong, and noone – except Sean that is – will accept a female rider. Not only is Puck that female rider, but she has also chosen to ride on a normal horse instead of one of the cappal uisce.
Sean first takes pity on Puck, but soon realizes that she is a strong girl, and they help each other out, while figuring out that they can count on someone other than themselves. Amidst all the violence of the races, the riders and the noise of the tourists, there is a tenderness building between the main characters that is very easy to believe in, just as the characters grow, the reader almost grow with them.
As The Scorpio Races is a stand-alone book, I think it is almost an added bonus because so many books are series these days. Even if I would love to read more about Sean and Puck, the book satisfied my curiosity, and I got the answers I needed to feel sated when I put the book down.