Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Book Review: The Scorpio Races

Tweet Synopsis: This book cannot just be summed up, this book is more than its parts #gestalt #newfavoritebook

Why Did I Pick It Up: Although it has had many recommendations over time, it wasn't until a few weeks ago when a coworker/friend suggested I read it because I like The Raven Cycle so much. I still wasn't sure. The book description didn't hold much interest for me. 

The Good: Where do I even start? I wasn't sure about this book, but it got its hooks into me after just a few pages. Last night (yes, last night) I read the prologue and the first chapter which I thought was entitled Sean. Nope. This book switched back and forth between two first-person narrators, Sean Kendrick and Kate "Puck" Connolly. Normally I hate that, but this time I didn't. This morning I started reading and it is a good thing it was a snow day, because I didn't stop reading until about fifteen minutes ago when I finished the book (well, that's not totally true, I did have to get stuff done). 

The Scorpio Races is not about what you think it's about. It's about family and money and being hungry. It's about trust and solitude and the bond between a horse and rider. It's about a small town who loves the status quo and is threatened by change. It's about a boy and a girl and being stuck. It's about a lot of things, and none of those things are really horses or racing - but at the same time, it is the horses and racing that runs through everything. 

Sean Kendrick is this great character who is all angles and rough edges. I had a friend who was once described that way by someone else, and Sean reminds me of him. Puck, on the other hand, is a rock all stubborn and relentless. She might not actually be wearing down his rough edges, but she is tough enough to handle them. I'm still smiling as I think of them. 

Speaking of smiling, the book is funny. It struck me as odd the number of times I started laughing while reading. Are books supposed to have that many great lines in them? So many funny lines. So many spot on lines. I could turn them into a million Tumblr posts ... but ain't nobody got time for that, there are too many books to read :) Great lines and great characters also means there was a number of times I closed the book because I felt their embarrassment. 

The relationships between horse and rider and Sean and Puck aren't what the book is about and are totally what the book is about at the same time. There are so many little plot lines and twists and those incredibly well-developed characters and everything fits together so well (without a bow at the end, just the way I like) that you can't put the book down ... and I didn't. 

The best thing about this book - I cried. I know that sounds silly, but it is the highest of praise. When was the last time a book was so perfect that you cried? I don't cry in books. The last time I really remember crying was when I read "Where the Red Fern Grows" and that is just a book people cry when they read - plus I was eight years old and probably should have been reading at my maturity level and not my reading level, just saying. 

The Bad: How in the world do you pronounce the name of those horses? When I read the note from the author she gave a pronunciation guide. But that didn't help me because #1, I had already finished the story and #2, I'm still not sure how to say it. I kept thinking I should look it up - but that would have required me to put down the book and make that effort. Which I obviously didn't do. Every time I ran across the word I stumbled. I finally made something up, but then kept forgetting it. Sigh.

The Ugly: The ending is perfect and terrible at the same time. The ending is perfect because you really cannot imagine it ending any other way - only you don't know that until you're three chapters from the end and you realize that there will be no bow. However, the ending is terrible because there are all these fringe story lines that aren't tied up (ack, I'm not happy with a bow, without a bow, I'm impossible to please). I want to know what happens to all of the other characters. This reminds me of the same complaint I had when I read, "Gone With The Wind." The book ends just right, but at the same time it isn't just right, there is so much more to say.  The ending is perfect and heartbreaking ... and that last sentence!

Who will love this book? Do you love a good book? Do you love to get absorbed in characters? Do you need a detox from all of the dystopian/fantasy/romance you've been reading? This is the book for you. Do you love Maggie Steifvater? Do you love horses? Do you obsess over imperfect characters? Yep, check this one out. Do you plan to see the movie (which promises to be terrible, I'm sure)? You have to read it first. The book is amazing, the movie will be good at best - read the book first. 

How much did I like it?  9.75/10 ... seriously, even with my complaints all I'd really change is making the horses' name something pronounceable. 

Will I read more? Maggie says there will be no more ... but maybe, like many authors who have gone before her, in another twenty years she will be ready to revisit the water horses and tell more of their story. 

Bingo 2015: A Book Your Friend Loves

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