The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

This is a book log entry I did for my education class:

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I picked The Scorpio Races because I read the Shiver trilogy Stiefvater wrote, and I loved it. However, I was disappointed with this novel. It wasn’t as interesting as the trilogy, and I found the writing to be less than stellar.

To begin, the novel has 400 pages. I thought they would go by quickly because, like I mentioned, I loved Stiefvater’s other books. This story dragged on for the first 300 pages. I understand the need to lay a foundation, but this took it to another level. The pace was sluggish, and the real action in the story didn’t even get started until around page 350. If I wasn’t reading this book for a class, I’m not sure that I would have kept reading.

The book’s redeeming quality lies in its characters. The narration switches every other chapter between Puck and Sean. Both of them become contestants in the Scorpio Races on their island. The races are run by water horses, monsters from the sea that must be tamed by the riders. Puck is a teenage girl who enters the race on her family horse, a pony, in order to win the prize money to save her family. Sean is a horse trainer who races to gain independence and his own horse. The struggles both of the characters go through is compelling, despise the sluggish narration.

Puck is a great heroine. She’s admirable and strong. She is the first girl to ever enter the races, and works hard for her family. Sean has integrity and is passionate about his horses. The two share a pretty PG-rated romance that doesn’t take from the plot. I would like to see more characters like Puck and Sean in young adult literature just because they’re so real and are great role models. The only issue is that the author doesn’t change voice when switching their narration so they end up having the exact same voice.

I enjoyed the race scenes and the characters, but overall, I wasn’t a huge fan of the book.

Curriculum Connections/ Caveats:

I don’t see myself teaching this book in the classroom. I also wouldn’t suggest it to a reluctant reader. However, I have noticed that it’s a popular book so I would recommend it to a strong, eager reader in early high school or an advanced middle school student.  It could be connected to The Hunger Games because of the characters’ ages and the violent nature of the races.

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