The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Genre: Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  407

RAC Book:  Yes

The Scorpio race is a difficult race run every November in the small town of Thisby.  The races encourage people to ride water horses, horses who emerge from the water and must be caught, in a dangerous race to the finish.  Many people die in these races.  Sean works for a tyrant who uses him for his talent with these water horses, but manages to keep control of him by refusing to sell Sean his favorite horse, Corr.  Sean therefore feels obliged to stay and work in terrible conditions while the boss’s son torments him just to stay by his beloved horse.  He has won the race four times and believes he will win again, but the truth is that he hates it.  Puck is a young girl who was orphaned along with her two brothers when a water horse killed their parents.  She has recently learned that her older brother plans to abandon her and they are about to lose their house.  She decides she must ride in the races and win to keep her family together.  Can she survive the rough terrain or will she lose everything in this fateful race?

There are many issues at work in this story.  First, there is tradition.  The races have been run a certain way for a long time and no one wants to see that change.  Puck tries to change that not only with the horse she wants to race, but simply the fact that she is female.  There are many strange rules involved in this race, but since it has been done a certain way for so long it is considered unthinkable to change anything.  This could easily be tied to other traditions or beliefs held in the past that were eventually challenged and changed.  Work conditions and poverty are another issue discussed.  Both Sean and Puck have difficulty making a life for themselves in Thisby, but this is their home and they cannot imagine leaving.  With the economic downturns we have had in the last few years this is also easy to understand and identify with.  People simply must do things they do not want to in order to survive.  Finally, loyalty is a very big issue.  Family loyalty, loyalty to a horse, and loyalty to a town are all discussed.  The question becomes what would a person be willing to do in order to remain loyal to someone or something that was important to him or her?  The race itself is not as exciting as readers might hope for considering they build up to it for the entire story.  The general set up of the race actually takes a slow path, but in the end this book will leave readers with a lot to think about long after they are finished.

1 Response to “The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater”

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