The Scorpio Racesby Maggie Stiefvater
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Shiver and Linger comes a brand new, heartstopping novel. Some race to win. Others race to survive. 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,… See more details below
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Shiver and Linger comes a brand new, heartstopping novel. Some race to win. Others race to survive. 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 choice. So she enters the competition - the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen. As she did in her bestselling Shiver trilogy, author Maggie Stiefvater takes us to the breaking point, where both love and life meet their greatest obstacles, and only the strong of heart can survive. The Scorpio Races is an unforgettable reading experience.
The New York Times Book Review
Praise for The Scorpio Races:
* “Masterful. Like nothing else out there now.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “Stiefvater’s novel begins rivetingly and gets better and better all the way, in fact, to best.” The Horn Book, starred review
* “A book appealing to lovers of fantasy, horse stories, romance, and action-adventure alike, this seems to have a shot at being a YA blockbuster.” Booklist, starred review
* “An utterly compelling read.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
Praise for Shiver:
#1 New York Times Bestseller
USA Today Bestseller
* “A lyrical tale of alienated werewolves and first love .Stiefvater skillfully increases the tension throughout; her take on werewolves is interesting and original while her characters are refreshingly willing to use their brains to deal with the challenges they face.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
“This is the most romantic werewolf book you will ever read.” Justine magazine
“This novel is perfect for Twilight fans or a Romeo and Juliet list. It is sensuous, intense, riveting, and so very satisfying.” VOYA
“Readers will be able to enjoy Stiefvater's fast-paced storytelling and dedication to the old-fashioned art of creating a believable and enduring romance. Shiver is beautifully written, even poetic at times, and a perfect indulgence for readers of all ages.” Bookpage.com
Praise for Linger:
#1 New York Times Bestseller
USA Today Bestseller
“This sequel's poetic prose skillfully captures the four teens' longings for love, forgetting, remembering, righting wrongs and life itself. The riveting ending will leave readers panting for the next sequel.” Kirkus Reviews
“This riveting narrative, impossible to put down, is not only an excellent addition to the current fangs and fur craze, but is also a beautifully written romance that, along with Shiver, will have teens clamoring for the third and final entry.” VOYA
“Leaves readers hanging in anticipation for the next installment.” - Booklist
* “[A] taut, chilling, romantic adventure....Masterful. Like nothing else out there now.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “Stiefvater masterfully combines an intimate voice (think I Capture the Castle) with a fully evoked island setting with sensory-rich language (think Margo Lanagan) with a wealth of horse detail with a plot full of danger, intrigue, and romance. ... Stiefvater sets not one foot wrong as she takes readers on an intoxicating ride of their own. ... Stiefvater’s novel begins rivetingly and gets better and better…all the way, in fact, to best.” – The Horn Book, starred review
* “A book appealing to lovers of fantasy, horse stories, romance, and action-adventure alike, this seems to have a shot at being a YA blockbuster.” – Booklist, starred review
* “An utterly compelling read.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[A] thrilling book that’s as unusual as it is alluring." — The Los Angeles Times
* "While there is plenty of action, conflict, excitement, and a heart-stopping climax, it is the slowly developing relationship between Kate and Sean that makes the book remarkable." — School Library Journal, starred review
"In her most addictive story yet, Stiefvater revives the strong, silent type in sexy, brooding monster tamer Sean Kendrick. His co-narrator, Puck, is heartbreakingly adorable as a stubborn little sister growing into a brave, self-assured woman. Stiefvater is a master of magical realism, and her prose leaves the reader cold, damp and anxious as November closes in on the isolated island setting." — RT Book Reviews Magazine
The bestselling author ofShiver(2009) andLinger(2010) turns the legend of the water horse into a taut, chilling, romantic adventure.
Each October on the island of Thisby, thecapaill uisce, or water horses, emerge from the sea. Predatory meat-eaters, they endanger the islanders—but they are also fast, far faster than land horses, and if captured and very carefully handled, with iron and magic, they can be trained. Every first of November, the water horses are raced on the beach of Thisby; winning the Scorpio Races brings fame and fortune, but losing often bringsdeath. Nineteen-year-old Sean Kendrick runs for the right to buy the water-horse stallion Corr; 16-year-old Katherine, called Puck, pits her land mare against the water horses in an attempt to save her home. Gradually, the two of them, both orphaned bycapaill uisceand fighting for the most important object in their lives, become confederates. First-person narration alternates seamlessly between Sean and Puck. The large cast of supporting characters springs to life, particularly Puck's brothers, Finn and Gabe, and Thisby feels like a place you can see and smell. The water horses are breathtakingly well-imagined, glorious anduntamably violent. The final race, with Sean and Puck each protecting each other but both determined to win, comes to a pitch-perfect conclusion.
Masterful. Like nothing else out there now.(Fantasy. 13-18)
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- Age Range:
- 13 - 17 Years
Read an Excerpt
NINE YEARS EARLIER
It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.
Even under the brightest sun, the frigid autumn sea is all
the colors of the night: dark blue and black and brown. I watch
the ever–changing patterns in the sand as it’s pummeled by
They run the horses on the beach, a pale road between the
black water and the chalk cliffs. It is never safe, but it’s never so
dangerous as today, race day.
This time of year, I live and breathe the beach. My cheeks
feel raw with the wind throwing sand against them. My thighs
sting from the friction of the saddle. My arms ache from holding
up two thousand pounds of horse. I have forgotten what it
is like to be warm and what a full night’s sleep feels like and
what my name sounds like spoken instead of shouted across
yards of sand.
I am so, so alive.
As I head down to the cliffs with my father, one of the race
officials stops me. He says, “Sean Kendrick, you are ten years
old. You haven’t discovered it yet, but there are more interesting
ways to die than on this beach.”
My father doubles back and takes the official’s upper arm
as if the man were a restless horse. They share a brief exchange
about age restrictions during the race. My father wins.
“If your son is killed,” the official says, “the only fault is
My father doesn’t even answer him, just leads his uisce stallion
On the way down to the water, we’re jostled and pushed by
men and by horses. I slide beneath one horse as it rears up, its
rider jerked at the end of the lead. Unharmed, I find myself facing
the sea, surrounded on all sides by the capaill uisce — the
water horses. They are every color of the pebbles on the beach:
black, red, golden, white, ivory, gray, blue. Men hang the bridles
with red tassels and daisies to lessen the danger of the dark
November sea, but I wouldn’t trust a handful of petals to save
my life. Last year a water horse trailing flowers and bells tore a
man’s arm half from his body.
These are not ordinary horses. Drape them with charms,
hide them from the sea, but today, on the beach: Do not turn
Some of the horses have lathered. Froth drips down their
lips and chests, looking like sea foam, hiding the teeth that will
tear into men later.
They are beautiful and deadly, loving us and hating us.
My father sends me off to get his saddlecloth and armband
from another set of officials. The color of the cloth is meant to
allow the spectators far up on the cliffs to identify my father, but
in his case, they won’t need it, not with his stallion’s brilliant
“Ah, Kendrick,” the officials say, which is both my father’s
name and mine. “It’ll be a red cloth for him.”
As I return to my father, I am hailed by a rider: “Ho, Sean
Kendrick.” He’s diminutive and wiry, his face carved out of
rock. “Fine day for it.” I am honored to be greeted like an
adult. Like I belong here. We nod to each other before he turns
back to his horse to finish saddling up. His small racing saddle
is hand-tooled, and as he lifts the flap to give the girth a
final tug, I see words burned into the leather: Our dead drink
My heart is jerking in my chest as I hand the cloth to my
father. He seems unsettled as well, and I wish I was riding,
Myself I am sure of.
The red uisce stallion is restless and snorting, ears pricked,
eager. He is very hot today. He will be fast. Fast and difficult
My father gives me the reins so that he can saddle the water
horse with the red cloth. I lick my teeth — they taste like
salt — and watch my father tie the matching armband around
his upper arm. Every year I have watched him, and every year
he has tied it with a steady hand, but not this year. His fingers
are clumsy, and I know he is afraid of the red stallion.
I have ridden him, this capall. On his back, the wind beating
me, the ground jarring me, the sea spraying our legs, we
I lean close to the stallion’s ear and trace a counterclockwise
circle above his eye as I whisper into his soft ear.
“Sean!” my father snaps, and the capall’s head jerks up
quickly enough that his skull nearly strikes mine. “What are
you doing with your face next to his today? Does he not look
hungry to you? Do you think you’d look fine with half
But I just look at the stallion’s square pupil, and he looks
back, his head turned slightly away from me. I hope he’s remembering
what I told him: Do not eat my father.
My father makes a noise in his throat and says, “I think
you should go up now. Come here and —“ He slaps my shoulder
before mounting up.
He is small and dark on the back of the red stallion. Already,
his hands work ceaselessly on the reins to keep the horse in
place. The motion twists the bit in the horse’s mouth; I watch
his head rocking to and fro. It’s not how I would have done it,
but I’m not up there.
I want to tell my father to mind how the stallion spooks to
the right, how I think he sees better out of his left eye, but
instead I say, “See you when it’s over.” We nod to each other like
strangers, the good–bye unpracticed and uncomfortable.
I am watching the race from the cliffs when a gray uisce
horse seizes my father by his arm and then his chest.
For one moment, the waves do not attack the shore and the
gulls above us do not flap and the gritty air in my lungs doesn’t
Then the gray water horse tears my father from his uneasy
place on the back of the red stallion.
The gray cannot keep its ragged grip on my father’s chest,
and so my father falls to the sand, already ruined before the
hooves get to him. He was in second place, so it takes a long
minute before the rest of the horses have passed over the top of
his body and I can see it again. By then, he is a long,
smear half-submerged in the frothy tide. The red stallion
circles, halfway to a hungry creature of the sea, but he does as I
asked: He does not eat the thing that was my father. Instead,
the stallion climbs back into the water. Nothing is as red as the
sea that day.
I don’t think often on my father’s body strung out through
the reddening surf. Instead, I remember him as he was before the
I won’t make the same mistake.
Meet the Author
Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the novels Shiver, Linger, Forever, and The Scorpio Races. She is also the author of Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception and Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children. You can visit her online at www.maggiestiefvater.com.
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