– UK Edition Cover Art –
– US Edition Cover Art –
I’m finally back in the mood for darker writing. I sense a lot of Dystopian reads on the horizon. This week’s recent read was an upcoming book by Maggie Stiefvater – The Scorpio Races.
The Scorpio Races take place every November on a small island called Thisby. The yearly race is a simple horse race except for one thing; The participants ride a breed of horses known as the capaill uisce, a kind of horse that is born from the sea. Sean Kendrick has won the last four years in a row. This year, a new entrant named Puck shakes up the entire competition, and the island at large. Puck is a young woman, and no women have ever ridden in the Scorpio Races before.
The Scorpio Races is the sort of book I love and hate to review early. If I don’t tell any detail I am bothered by readers wanting to know what the book is about, and if I tell too much I get chastisements from other directions. But really, this is a book I wish I would have read after a few more reviews were out other than advance praise from booksellers. It’s going to be interesting to see how the core fans (myself being one of them) are going to react to this book. I predict that she might have an extreme polar opposite division on this book more than anything she has written prior. All of her younger fans who want more of Sam and Grace from her Wolves of Mercy Falls series will be irked and all of her adult fans will be delighted. This is a very grown up book; grown up and complicated. I wish it were a year from now so I could see what other people have to say about this one. I feel it’s going to net Stiefvater an entirely new fan base.
This book is very ambitious. It feels like one long risk, a gamble on the part of the author. And, once again, Stiefvater’s writing is beautiful, although this book lacks the poignantly lyrical prose previously found in Shiver, Linger, and Forever. Stiefvater seems to have tried something new with the style here. I feel how different the change of writing is in my gut as opposed to my heart (where her wolf books reside). The economic use of words perfectly contrasts the plot – which is also sparse, yet takes a while to get where it’s going. More or less, this book is one long character study, but it’s a gorgeous one. I hope the gamble pays off for Stiefvater. I feel as if she has challenged herself and I can see why she is proud of this book. The challenging executions are often the ones we remember the most.
I loved the proliferation of Bowler hats in the beginning. It made me feel like I was wandering through a René Magritte painting. I also loved the homage to Tessa Gratton, one of Stiefvater’s writing partners. There is a character in the book named Gratton who owns a butcher shop. Oh, the irony.
Drat, I feel like I’m spoiling left and right, so I’ll just close up with this – I think Stiefvater best sums up her whole book in her Author note. She talks about the myths of the water horses which inspired this idea. Suffice it to say, I’ve never seen an author note that better punctuates a novel. I feel that without it my enjoyment of this book would have been greatly lessened.
No rating. I’ll give it when I’ve processed this one for six months. It’s rather high though.
* The Scorpio Races releases October 18th, 2011.
– Follow the Reader –
P.S. I’m including my favourite line from the book. It crystallizes much of the book.
“His wife’s the brand of Christian that forbids a gathering that involves young women dancing in the streets but not races where men die.”
– Page 278 of the advanced reader’s edition.