Alright. I’m giving you guys fair warning: I am about to completely GUSH over this book. That’s right. Complete. Book. Lust.
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.
So I read this book a little while ago, and I have been meaning to do a review on it, but I just couldn’t find the right words. I feel that there was so much love and attention poured into this book by Maggie Stiefvater that I really didn’t know where to start. But, after drooling over this book to anyone and everyone that would listen, I have had time to organize my thoughts into something coherent and understandable.
I suppose a good place to start off is with the world that was created. I picture a lonely British Isle in the middle of the sea. There is a sense of emptiness and desperation, but also a rough-around-the-edges beauty about the island that Sean and Puck call home. When talking to my friend, Jeff, about this book, he pointed out that he imagines the world as gray. Simply gray. And, upon reflection, it is. There is rarely any moment of pure happiness for anyone on the island. They are all too consumed with surviving the harsh conditions on Thisby, and when November rolls around, the water horse and the Scorpio Races.
Oh. The water horse! There is the true star of the book. I am pretty sure that somewhere out there in the world of books and make-believe, there is another story with a similar type of mythical beastie. If there is, well, I sure haven’t found it. This is my first encounter with these beautiful, strange, and EXTEREMLY deadly creatures, and I just fell in love. They seem to be the embodiment of the restless and ruthlessness of the islanders. The people of Thisby live under a mask of politeness and sunny attitudes, but in reality, there is a dark and almost…angry? No, not angry…damn, what’s the word I’m looking for…brutality? Yeah. That’s it. But there is an unguarded beauty to the water horse. I just love them and wish that they were real.
Thankfully, Shawn and Puck (Kate is her real name. Why she’s called Puck? Eh…) were likeable characters from the beginning. Both strong and dependable characters who are at their breaking points and doing what they can, anything, to keep themselves and their world from falling apart around them. There’s not too much to say about them other than they are completely refreshing characters in the world of Young Adult. No whining. No instant falling in love. Just two people struggling. They are doing what they need to do to get by. Period. It makes these characters, with all their flaws and guilt and fears and pipe dreams so wonderfully realistic. Granted, they do grow closer together and there is a small, a VERY SMALL kiss shared between the two characters, but it’s like in the last fourth of the book so it’s whatever. Their relationship with each is developed naturally and not forced in anyway. Like I said, it’s a nice change from what you read in most Young Adult books (i.e. Stiefvater’s other series, the Wolves of Mercy Falls or whatever it’s called. Blah. I am so not reading the second book and I’m SO glad I read this book first. Not even sure if doing a review on Shiver is even worth it…).
So can you tell I loved this book. I loved this book so much. You know it’s a good book if you can survive it ripping your heart out of your chest and leave you a heaping mess on the floor…and you like it. This book is gorgeous and beautiful tale with the right amount of heart break and triumph. Oh, and did I mention this is a stand alone novel? Not a series? Awesome. Anyway, read this book! You will not regret it.
Until next time.
Remember to be yourself...unless you can be a pirate.
Then always be the pirate!!