Shiver really wasn’t my thing, which was why I was so hesitant to read this book.. I’ve heard marvelous things about it though… but still…
Also, this review is kind of a mess... sorry :p
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.
My Expectations: not really high, I thought I’d be the odd one out again and dislike it :P
Delivery: this one is odd, I wasn’t feeling it for the first chunk, but then I was swept away and it surpassed all my expectations.
Put-down-ability: Quite a slow start, but seriously addicting towards the end. 4/10
About halfway through the book, I knew what I was going to write for this review. Well, I thought I did anyways. I was going to compliment the writing and the premise, I was going to say it was kind of interesting but the motivations were weak and the characters didn’t convince me. I was going to say I knew why everyone loved it, but again, it just wasn’t the type of book for me.
But then… something strange happened. I started to realize how much I was enjoying the book and how compelling it was. I realized I had started flipping the pages feverishly and that it was 2 in the morning and I really had to go to class tomorrow morning. I realized as I finished the book the next day when I was supposed to be studying for a test in 3 hours (that I hadn’t even studied for yet) that I loved it*. Truly and honestly, I did. It really is special, and in the best way.
Preface: this isn’t a book for everyone. And if you didn’t like it, I completely understand where you’re coming, heck, I was with you for part of the book.
Pre-pre face: I stumbled upon this post and it helped me understand a lot—it also shows you why it might be a miss book for you. As in, the author herself says she spends 2 pages describing what is summed up as “Sean gets into the truck with Puck, the dog goes in the back, and Sean and Puck sit in awkward silence”. I just wanted to share that and say ‘huh’ because it’s a TIL moment.
Back to the strange thing in which I started
And the prose, oh my poor nerves, the prose is incredible, and it makes me sad that it took me so long to recognize it. It has a gentle rhythm that oscillates and pulses and it feels like the words are just poetry and chocolate. Words are used generously but it feels like every single one has its own perfect place, and I can’t figure out how to dole out higher praise. Through the writing, characters came to life and settings became real places, the race scenes rolled through my head like a movie and it was like a sensory overload that I was experiencing just through reading these beautiful words on a page. The author played with my emotions and eventually made me latch on to these characters she had created and care so effing deeply about the outcome of the predicaments… my poor nerves.
And here’s an odd tidbit: if you’re ever asked to analyze something for English class for poetic devices, let it be The Scorpio Races. It’s riddled with assonance and repetition, rhyme and alliteration… it’s easy to pick out the gorgeous metaphors and striking imagery… Stiefvater seriously is a talent.
So to wrap it up, I can say that the pacing wasn’t top-notch because I was disconnected at the beginning, but then I just got completely and utterly caught up with the story and fell in love. And part of me is still conflicted because I feel I might just be building it up in my head because of that ending, but I'll just ignore that part of me for now.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations / Oustanding
Recommended for: hmmm. Horse-lovers. Fans of nice prose, fables, interesting romances, unique premises.
8.9/10 – because I loved the prose and the characters and the premise. The idea of these killer horses sets a new standard for unique, and Puck and Sean (in which I always refer to him as Sean Kendrick) were two of the more memorable characters of 2011. The problem I had with the novel was the pacing, and I think while much of the book was building up something—whether it was atmosphere, setting, mood—I just can’t justify it and I can say that it was just off. The beginning was too slow and it took quite a while to get into the story but I think when I flipped the last page, I couldn’t even remember that I was annoyed with the first 100.
*as you should now be able to tell after all its appearances on my faves of 2011 lists
source: Ontario book blogger meet-up (thank you!)
author livejournal / twitter