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The Scorpio Races - for McKinley's The Blue Sword fans
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msaggie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 680

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:55 pm    Post subject: The Scorpio Races - for McKinley's The Blue Sword fans Reply with quote

I read about Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races at Angieville's blogspot and Angie gave the recommendation that it was the best book she had read all year at the last quarter of 2011, and also said it was for fans of Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword. I just finished reading The Scorpio Races and would definitely second Angie - as The Blue Sword has a DIK review here at AAR, I hope many AAR readers will enjoy this too. McKinley has another magical horse story in Pegasus which is also DIK'd here, but I have not read that one yet.

The Scorpio Races is based on the mythological fairy horses which arise from the sea and the men who try to ride them once a year at a race where many die when the horses kill them by plunging back into the sea or just savaging them. The two main protagonists both ride to win - one for freedom and the other for family. Both have parents who were killed by the fairy horses when they were children. The romance between them is more show than tell, and from the beginning, although one expects a rivalry, Sean and Puck become fascinated by each other, and are later bound beyond their attraction to each other by their mutual love for the island they live on, their way of life, and their love of their horses. The writing is evocative, dramatic and beautifully lyrical. It's labelled YA but so would The Blue Sword be today, I suppose! I would recommend this one highly to all who love fantasy/mythology themed novels with a bit of romance. I would also agree with Angie of Angieville that this is Maggie Stiefvater's best book yet. The tone is different from her wolves (Shiver,etc) or fairy (Lament,etc) series, and the characterization is much more compelling here.
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doreenahk



Joined: 08 Sep 2008
Posts: 79

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI, the ebook version is currently $3.99 at Amazon.


http://www.amazon.com/The-Scorpio-Races-ebook/dp/B0051WIX24/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1331435593&sr=1-1
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Jean Wan AAR



Joined: 13 Apr 2009
Posts: 401
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, considering I was the one who DIKed both the McKinleys, your post caught my attention. I've heard really good things about Scorpio Races, but I did try another Stiefvater book and couldn't finish it; wasn't particularly impressed. But I have Scorpio on hold at the library; I might have see if I can get another copy sooner. Thanks for the rec!
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msaggie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 680

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:23 am    Post subject: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Reply with quote

Jean Wan AAR wrote:
Well, considering I was the one who DIKed both the McKinleys, your post caught my attention. I've heard really good things about Scorpio Races, but I did try another Stiefvater book and couldn't finish it; wasn't particularly impressed. But I have Scorpio on hold at the library; I might have see if I can get another copy sooner. Thanks for the rec!
Jean Wan AAR I hope you would review it here at AAR after you read it. Of Stiefvater's earlier books, I prefer Shiver and the Wolves of Mercy Falls to the faerie books. But The Scorpio Races is much more atmospheric. Some people have complained that it's got a slow build-up - but I think the pacing was perfect. The story is told in first person, alternating between Sean and Puck, and one has to pay attention who the narrator is, as their voices in some parts of the tale, can sound similar. And I love the fact that the heroine is called Puck! I got my copy from the library but will get my very own copy - and yes, the kindle version is only $3.99 now.
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Terese



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dang it all! ANOTHER for the TBR list!

Seriously, thank you for the rec. I fell in love with Robin McKinley 30+ years ago when I read Beauty. Then the Blue Sword absolutely blew me away. Enjoyed Chalice and adored Pegasus. Some other things she wrote did nothing for me: Deerskin, Rose Cottage. When I'm looking for a comfort read, Beauty and the Blue Sword are faves.

I enjoyed some of Stiefvater's books, particularly Shiver. So I went ahead and ordered Scorpio for my kindle. Lord knows when I'll get to it, tho.
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Nicole



Joined: 23 Apr 2007
Posts: 469
Location: Las Cruces, New Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't read too many of Robin Mckinley's books, but the ones I have I've loved. I wish more were available as ebooks.
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1661

PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always think fondly of Robin McKinley because her original Beauty was the last book I read aloud to my oldest son. We both loved it and would read until way past his bedtime. My husband would call up the stairs that it was time to turn out the light, but it was so hard to put the book down.

As for her Deerskin, it is, in its own way, a horror story, even though it does have a sweet romance and happy ending. I found it powerful and compelling, but it definitely is not a children's story. My oldest son recommended it to me, but he was a lot older than he was when we read Beauty and had discovered it on his own.
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mit89



Joined: 28 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did not like Lament, and thought Shiver was fine, but wasn't interested enough to read the others in that series. However, I loved The Scorpio Races. It kept me thinking about it long after I finished it.
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msaggie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 680

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:35 am    Post subject: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Reply with quote

mit89 wrote:
I did not like Lament, and thought Shiver was fine, but wasn't interested enough to read the others in that series. However, I loved The Scorpio Races. It kept me thinking about it long after I finished it.
I am so glad you loved it too! There are so many scenes that stick in my mind. I loved the ending, which made me tear up (in a good way) - I read somewhere that it's been optioned for a movie, and I think there is a lot of scope for cinematic drama in this book. The other thing I thought was very good was how Irish the protagonists sounded - the cadence and rhythm of their speech, and I suppose the laid-back way of life. There is a hint that it is set somewhere in Ireland as there is mention that there is only the sea between them and America. And I can't believe that the kindle price has gone down to $2.99 after I bought it a few weeks ago for more!
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got it. Read it. What shall I say? Stiefvater's Scorpio Races was a good book that I just didn't like.

Partly, I think, it was the setting. I've never enjoyed Nora Roberts' books set in Ireland, either, and I avoid Scottish romances as I avoid bubonic plague.
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msaggie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 680

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:36 pm    Post subject: Jean Wan's review of The Scorpio Races Reply with quote

Thanks to Jean Wan AAR for the DIK review of The Scorpio Races. I am glad you enjoyed it after your disappointment with Maggie Stiefvater's previous books. Although it's several months since I read this one, so many scenes are clear in my mind, and I hope more AAR readers will give this one a try. The kindle price was down to $2.99 for a while, but it's now back to its non-sale price.
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Rosie



Joined: 01 Apr 2007
Posts: 291

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been reading this one off and on for weeks. It's just so easy to put down. But having said that, I DO like the story and the characters and the writer's style. It's hard to explain why I can't just stick with it and am only halfway through after reading a little bit here and a little bit there between other books. Hopefully I will finish Scorpio Races eventually.
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jaime



Joined: 23 Sep 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a question for people familiar with McKinley's books - I have read "Deerskin" (which upset me very much), and "Sunshine" which I loved. Are any of her other books sort of like "Sunshine"?
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kari



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a longtime Robin McKinley fan I have read most (but not all) of her books. I have not read Deerskin, since my sister-in-law read it first and warned me that I probably wouldn't like it.

My favorites are The Blue Sword and Beauty, which I have read and reread many times. I did enjoy Chalice but I've only read it once. It was a beautifully written book. I adored Pegasus, but was very frustrated by the cliffhanger ending. The sequel won't be out until 2014, and I was absolutely furious when I read that on her website! Not only that, it's going to be a trilogy. She is a very slow writer, but her best books are wonderful. Since you loved Sunshine, you might be interested to know that Shadow, her book in 2013, is going to be in the same world (but NOT a sequel, according to the author). She says that not all of her books are meant to have sequels.

According to what I've read, she insists that she doesn't write what she wants - she waits for the stories to tell themselves, and then she writes them down. She has no control over the stories that come to her; she has been waiting for years, for instance, for the time to come when she can return to her Damar series. So far, she has written The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword, along with some short stories also related to the series, and some stories featuring Luthe, the wizard who is part of the Damar world.

I can also recommend the two anthologies she wrote with her husband Peter Dickinson, Water and Fire. Also good are the two anthologies The Door in the Hedge and The Knot in the Grain, collections of original fairy tales that are quite charming. I haven't read Dragonhaven yet, but I suspect it might appeal to someone who enjoyed Sunshine.
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

veasleyd1 wrote:
Got it. Read it. What shall I say? Stiefvater's Scorpio Races was a good book that I just didn't like.

Partly, I think, it was the setting. I've never enjoyed Nora Roberts' books set in Ireland, either, and I avoid Scottish romances as I avoid bubonic plague.


So glad to hear I am not alone in not liking this book. I found the ending very disappointing. SPOILER. HIGHLIGHT TO READ: People have died in these races for years, the water horses are killers who are valuable only for their speed and they are beaten by an Island pony? It negated the entire purpose of the races. If *any* horse can win, why use a killer like a water horse? If any horse can win, why come to the Island to watch a race? Why not Churchill Downs or a London track?

I liked the authors other works but this one was a complete let down.
I felt sorry for Sean. He has a lifetime of making sacrifices to save Puck from her own stupidity to look forward to.

maggie b.
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