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.
^that last line is a bit generic, eh?
If it hadn’t been for Fall Book Club, I wouldn’t have picked this one up because I saw the word “horses” and my mind wandered off somewhere else.
But, holy Pegasus, am I glad I did read it! The whole book had this “anticipatory” feel to it. Knowing that the capaill uisce could kill anyone at any time was one big factor in that and obviously the race (in general) was another. But there was also the smaller factor of Puck and Sean. I wanted them both to win the race, but that couldn’t happen. And what if neither won??? So many questions up in the air and it kept me turning the page.
I loved the alternating voices and that the book was unsentimental, meaning that even a “happily ever after” didn’t mean a giant castle and rooms full of gold. These people were basically just trying to hold on (or in Gabe’s case, to get out).
The descriptions, especially Sean’s POV about the pull of the sea – beautiful. The island seemed to be at the end of the earth – isolated, and with something other worldly about it. It was spooky at times, like during the festival, where superstition ran rampant. There was also something throwback, to a time where women had few rights, where they were viewed as more of a cute novelty (hence the conflict of Puck being the first female to ever enter the races). But the book didn’t feel old-fashioned; I actually attributed the attitude more to the isolation of the place.
I found myself enjoying Sean’s chapters more, not sure why, maybe because he was such an old soul. I liked Puck, too, because she was wild while still being vulnerable, but I just related to Sean more.
I liked most of the supporting cast, also. I wanted to adopt Finn and give him sugary confections until he turned roly poly. I wanted to haggle over prices with the three sisters and marvel at how George Holly managed to keep his white sweater clean.
I wanted a water horse to eat Mutt Malvern.
So have you read it? What did you think?