The Scorpio Races as a winter group read on the Reading Circle (see link in my sidebar). Each season, we choose three or four books to read and discuss together, and we almost always include a young adult novel. When we read about Maggie Stiefvater’s newest, about a community that holds deadly races on water horses every year, we were curious.
I hadn't heard of the myth of water horses before. Stiefvater jumps right into the story, letting her characters’ voices describe their community, the water horses, and their experiences with the races. Gradually, as I got to know the characters and the island of Thisby, I settled into their world and accepted their life and their choices. I grew to understand the beauty, danger, and mystery of the water horses, and I felt like they were real. I think it worked to let us get to know this place and its people (and animals) slowly, through their words and actions, instead of having a narrator set up the world for us at the beginning of the book.
I really liked the story. It made me think about what it might be like to live in a remote area in a small community, what people do in order to survive, and what human beings find attractive and beautiful about danger and mystery. Also, it made me want to go horseback riding again.
The two main characters are nicely drawn -- interesting and likable. I could also picture many of the minor characters in my mind. I found them and their choices all very believable.
I listened to parts of this book on audio, and I enjoyed actually hearing the characters’ voices. The Scorpio Races won a Michael L. Printz Honor this year, and its audiobook won an Odyssey Honor.
Maggie Stiefvater explains her (long!) process of writing this novel here on her website, and I found it fascinating. She also includes a book trailer, with pictures she drew and music she wrote and performed. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next from her. (It looks pretty cool!)
I haven’t yet read the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, but I think I will.