Narrator: Fiona Hardingham, Steve West
Published by Scholastic
Published on October 18th 2011
Genres: 20th Century, Adolescence, Orphans & Foster Homes, Paranormal, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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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.
It’s not often I can say there isn’t a single thing I dislike about a book. Please note that I listened to the audiobook version narrated by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham.
Things I liked:
Is it Scottish, is it Irish? Is it a little of both? I’m not sure.
Very gloomy and oppressive. Reminded me of the north of England, where I lived for a couple of years. I also get the whole ‘living on an island lots of people want to leave’ thing.
The time period
Definitely set before contemporary times, due to the lack of modern technology like cell phones. I originally thought maybe it’s set in the 60s or 70s but it might have been as early as the 40s or 50s, when men still hated women doing anything they did.
Normally I’m not a big fan of present tense point of view, but for some reason, it worked really well in The Scorpio Races. Shorter chapters meant less exhaustion from reading (in my case, listening). Switching between Puck and Sean might have been harder while reading, because their narrative voices and actions (both preparing from this race) were basically the same, but in the audiobook form it worked.
Not the easiest character to like, but you have to admire her. She’s brash, snappy, and constantly irritated, all vinegar and no sugar, though she tries, and is determined and full of love and loyalty to her family and her island. Not someone I could be friends with, but someone I would admire from a distance.
Wonderful in the way only a book boyfriend can be without being a book boyfriend. His stillness, confidence, and sheer love for his flesh-eating water horse floored me.
I wouldn’t call it a romance, though Maggie does, albeit a romance without much kissing. But I loved the slow burn, all the way through from the awkward fumblings of the early friendship to the heightened awareness of each other, to the fact that everyone else could see it but them. I think I may have liked it even better if nothing had happened and it had remained platonic, or left with a promise of something after the book ended, but this is YA and that would have caused a riot, so I understand why it had to be the way it was.
The bad guys
Everyone was out for themselves on this tiny island. It was believable.
The capaill uisce
They weren’t good or bad, they just were. They were a force of nature. A storm that brings down your house isn’t evil, it just is.
Things I didn’t like
The female narrator
Seemed to have taken lessons from William Shatner and paused in places where pausing was not necessary.
The male narrator
Sounded way too old to be nineteen year old Sean, but Maggie liked him, so what do I know?
Basically I think this book could have been perfect and man, I would love so much to see a TV miniseries adaptation. I’d love to see the horses leapt out of the water still as water and then kind of shimmer and shift into regular horse colours, or maybe non-regular horse colours, yeah that would be cool and whimsical.