Oh me oh my. I haven’t been this into a book and it’s characters in quite a while. Even with the killer horses.
It’s set on an island. Have I ever mentioned my love for islands?
It steals the idea of water horses from Celtic mythology. Ditto on the love for mythology and all things Gaelic and unpronounceable.
It’s got a little bit (but not too much) of sibling drama.
It’s hard to pin down when this is set (giving it a bit of a timeless feel).
There’s a rich bad guy, and a sympathetic rich good guy that doesn’t get too involved but is still there, kind of offering moral support in the background.
There’s a pair of young almost lovers who are gradually learning about each other and what the future may or may not hold.
There’s Puck, doing what she needs to do for her family, with minimal angst and “I don’t want to be a hero” dramatics.
There is grisly death and mayhem, but not too much, and there is a race that is pretty much everything, but which only takes up a few pages at the end, not the entire freakin’ book and it won’t be re-created in another freakin’ book because evidently the first time just wasn’t enough (oh wow…might I be a little bitter by that whole Mockingjay thing?).
Also, there are awards (it was a 2012 Printz Honor Book), but no movies to ruin it, so it’s a powerful book that you can bring to life in your own imagination without any extraneous hype or media depictions to ruin things. 😀
And here’s a really great synopsis direct from the author’s website:
Based on the legends of the eich uisce — the Celtic water horse — The Scorpio Races take place on the tiny, fictional island of Thisby. Each November, water horses emerge from the black ocean and gallop the beach beneath the cliffs of Thisby. And each November, men capture these horses for a thrilling and deadly race.
Both Sean Kendrick, four time champion, and Kate “Puck” Connolly, newcomer to the races, will ride this year, and both of them have more to gain — or lose — than in any previous year. But only one can win.
This is a book that seems more like it was written when I was a teenager (although it wasn’t…it so wasn’t), because it has very little mention of anything modern (there’s electricity and cars and cameras, but no mention of computers or cell phones or internet), and it’s missing all of the movie tie-ins and mentions of big name stars who will be portraying Sean and Puck. It’s a very quiet book and I think that makes it that much more powerful and memorable.
And if there are plans to make this into a movie, please don’t tell me.