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Author: Stiefvater, Maggie
Nineteen-year-old returning champion Sean Kendrick competes against Puck Connolly, the first girl ever to ride in the annual Scorpio Races, both trying to keep hold of their dangerous water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 147559
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 25.0 Quiz: 54495
Kirkus Reviews (+) (09/01/11)
School Library Journal (+) (00/11/11)
Booklist (+) (09/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2011 *Starred Review* The island of Thisby, somewhere near Britain and replete with cars and electricity, is nevertheless fantastical, the home base of a fierce breed of water horses, the capaill uisce, man-eaters who rise from the autumn seas to terrorize the islanders. They can be captured and somewhat tamed, however, and once a year the island hosts a tourist draw, the Scorpio Races, a beachside contest often fatal to the riders. Sean Kendrick is one of the racers, a four-time champion on his trusty stead. Kate “Puck” Connolly is new to the races and the first woman rider. Due to a loophole in the rules, Kate’s riding a regular horse, her beloved Dove, which she trusts to run true against the more frightening contestants. Both riders have deeper personal motives for wanting to win. Filling it with loving descriptions of wet, wind-tossed Thisby as well as exciting equine action, Stiefvater has created a thrilling backdrop for the love story that blooms between Sean and Puck. And in the water horses, based on mostly Celtic legends, she’s created scary yet compelling forces of nature. 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. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2011 Gr 8 Up—On the sea-battered and wind-swept isle of Thisby, fall brings the famed and feared capaill uisce, or water horses, and with them, death. These animals are bigger and faster than their terrestrial cousins, and they are carnivorous and predatory. Many islanders have lost family members to the beasts, including narrators Sean Kendrick and Kate Connely. For them, and others, the annual Scorpio Races are both a celebration and a grotesque spectacle. Island men test their mettle and risk their lives racing the water horses, capping a weeks-long festival. Sean, the island's foremost horse expert, races Corr to win the money to finally buy the horse from his boss, Benjamin Malvern. Kate, aka Puck, races her land horse to save her family home from foreclosure by the same man. Both cannot win, and it is doubtful that both will survive. 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. Though different, they are both products of the island and have an intense love for Thisby that is not shared by all of the residents. Stiefvater makes readers care deeply for them, their desolate island, and even the monstrous water horses. The author takes great liberties with the Celtic myth, but the result is marvelous.—Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 12/01/2011 Every November, the island of Thisby hosts the Scorpio Races, which feature the deadly water horses, or capaill uisce, who come to the island out of the sea. The horses, if they can be tamed, are the fastest creatures alive, but the carnivorous animals think nothing of eating the man who feeds them; what’s more, if the sea calls to them, they will rejoin it, rider and all. Sean Kendrick loves one of these animals, a red beauty named Corr, despite the fact that his father met his death at the teeth and hooves of another one. Puck Connolly, on the other hand, has no love for the capaill uisce, who killed both her parents. She wants to race, however, so that she can make enough to save their house now that she and her brothers are orphans. As Puck and Sean prepare for the races, they battle island prejudices about Puck, who is the first woman to ever compete in the race, and Mutt Malvern, who is determined to keep Sean from his fifth victory. A win for Sean is the only way Benjamin Malvern, Mutt’s father and Sean’s boss, will allow him to buy Corr; hence Puck and Sean, despite their growing feelings for one another, both need the win to realize their heart’s desire. Though the plot arc unfolds slowly, Stiefvater does a masterful job in creating an immersive world with well-developed traditions, history, prejudices, and complex social relations. The book credibly depicts the subtle tensions of a developing romance between two stubborn and taciturn people with a multitude of concerns: their training for the races, Puck’s worries about money and the splintering of her family, and Sean’s love and care for his horses, among other things. Those willing to take it slowly will be richly rewarded with a story whose mythic dimensions stand easily with its more quotidian ones, thus embodying the tensions between the water horses and their humans. KC - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.