The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

This book took me a number of weeks, maybe even months, to get through. Unfortunately this book was an incredible drag, despite the plot having so much potential, because the writing style stopped a reader from being able to dive in properly.

Finding out that Kate wants to enter a deadly race on the beach of Thisby, not only as the first woman but also on a traditional horse instead of a water horse, sounds like a book that will have such a strong women plot filled with danger, action and a transition from a woman struggling to find a way to be involved in such a key part of the island to opening it up and bringing it into the modern day but it turned out to be nothing like that.

Instead Kate ends up relying on a successful racer, Sean, to be able to train and learn various tips and tricks along the way. She becomes more concerned about them doing it together, about them forming a relationship and him alone respecting her rather than her having the feisty approach that was obvious at the beginning. it saddens me that the chance of a strong female lead doesn’t come to the fore in a teen/young adult book when it looked so obvious to become exactly that.

Book cover copyright belongs to Scholastic UK

It is split between two characters perspectives both of whom become increasingly connected and invested in the other person’s need to win The Scorpio Races. There was no consistency between where the story switched to being a certain perspective with some chapters being from both main viewpoints and others having several chapters in a row from the same perspective. But the way the characters and their personal language is developed throughout the book just feels very stereotypical and uninspiring as whilst there is a little background and enhancement it is generally lacking.

The description of these races and the weird water horses was something I really struggled to understand because there could have been so much more elaboration, on the creatures especially, and the description that was present wasn’t done in a way to allow the reader to enhance upon it. Given this book is categorised as a teen/young adult the lack of character development, other than is becoming a love story when it could be a really intriguing action packed plot, and a lacking of description or use of language in a way that provides clarity for a reader to be able to fill in the pieces and flesh out the imagery being provided.

I stuck with the book purely on the basis that I really strongly believed that the plot could come to life and that there was potential for a really captivating ending but each time it started to rev up it just came crashing down in the most boring and predictable way. It felt like the author had a brilliant concept but, much like when I imagine a piece of artwork in my head and try to put pencil to paper, that it just couldn’t be put together and executed in the right way.

It just wasn’t worth it and it became such a drag that it made me want to shy away from reading again so I had to step away from it and just go back to it every now and then between better books. The Scorpio Races came from the charity shop and it is already straight back in the ‘give to charity’ stack.

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