The Scorpio Races
Date: October 18th 2011
Genre: YA- Fantasy
It's very easy to talk about a book you didn't like, or one you only had lukewarm feelings for. It's easy because there's no attachment to the story so you don't feel compelled to try and recapture and recreate any feelings you had for it. It's the opposite when the book is one you like and it's next to impossible when it's one you really, really love. I really, really loved this book so you'll forgive me if I ramble about with little direction here and know that my heart isn't in this little book thought because it's quite fixedly locked in the story.
The autumn waters usher in the capaill uisce to the island, the waves crashing relentlessly upon the shore, revealing these majestic water horses with each break. It marks the beginning of the week of festivities and challenges that will end with the much anticipated Scorpio Races. It is a long standing tradition and one that must be upheld. The races are as deadly as the horses that run in them. Only one person can win, but many will die trying. The capaill uisce openly despise their captors, these would be jockeys that seek fame and fortune on their backs, denying the freedom that returning to the water would bring. Men will die trying to catch a water horse, torn limb from limb or their bodies broken in the powerful jaws of these flesh eaters. Men will die racing them, the horses making no distinction among humans, all men are captors and all men can die. The races happen once a year and the winner, if he's lucky enough to survive the race will receive a handsome reward for his bravery. Since the beginning of the races it has been men who catch the horses, men who ride the horses and men who enter the races. Puck Connolly isn't a man and her horse is not one of the capaill uisce but she's determined to race. She's determined to win.
Every so often, I can see the head of a capall uisce in the water, far out from shore, driven toward the sand by the November current. The ones we have caught struggle against us in bridles hung with bells and red ribbons, iron and holly leaves, daisies and prayers. The water horses are hungry and wicked, vicious and beautiful, hating us and loving us.First, let me openly admit that I have not, up until now, been a Stiefvater fan. I read Shiver with no desire to finish it, follow up on the series or dive into a Stiefvater book again. I felt completely detached from her writing and that was that. When I read the synopsis for The Scorpio Races, something clicked. Something in me knew that despite my dislike for the only Stiefvater novel I'd read, this book was mine. It is perhaps one of the most moving stories I've ever read, beautifully written, and so very much more than I ever could have anticipated. It is a harsh story, set in a harsh climate in a world that is all at once our own and yet not. I was cold while reading it, craving a warmth denied me by the story until the very end- where I cried like a freakin' baby. I cried great big giant crocodile tears, the kind where you gulp and hiccup afterwards. I wanted that ending but I didn't see it coming and when it did, after all the story puts you through, it's the greatest gift. BIG GIANT SLOBBERING SNOT FEST.
It is time for the Scorpio Races.
I am so, so alive.
My beloved is a real find. He's grown accustom to my book induced crazies and doesn't even flinch when I lose it over a book. I throw books, I yell at books, I dance with books, I cry over books and still he takes me back to the bookstore for more. I was a happy-sad mess over this book and the good book hangover lasted for days. I know everyone always says, the day after a good hard drunk, that they will never ever do it again but I'll drink myself into a stupor with this book many, many times over. Even if Maggie and I never cross paths again, this one book means so much to me that I'll never be able to praise her enough.
Taking a cue from Angie once again (I'm kind of a groupie), I attempted to make November Cakes using Maggie's recipe. November Cakes were a kind of sticky bun enjoyed during festivities that proceeded the races. They were wonderful but be warned, they are very, very, very sweet.
**Capaill uisce is apparently water horses in Gaelic, where as capall uisce is water horse. Stiefvater covers this in the book but I just found it neat to google because I'm a big dork like that.