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  • Writer's pictureA. Murphy

The Scorpio Races: Yah

As this book takes place throughout October and the beginning of November I feel like that is the only time I can read it, but I have read it multiple times.

"It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die." Every year deadly water horses climb out of the sea. Every year the inhabitants of Thisby compete in the Scorpio Races, hoping they will be able to control their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. It is a well known fact that death is always a possibility.

The story follows young Puck Connolly as she recklessly enters the race in hopes of saving everything she loves. Not only must she race against almost every man on the island but Sean Kendrick, four time winner of the Scorpio Races, has just bet his happiness on winning the race for the fifth time.

Now every time I see both a male and a female protagonist mentioned in a blurb, (or god forbid the sentence 'she meets a boy who will change her world forever.') I know they will inevitably fall in love. I'm here for stories not stupid heterosexual nonsense about falling in love at the age of sixteen. Luckily, though Puck and Sean do end up together, their relationship does not take over the entire story. It is important, don't get me wrong, but you never forget that they are running the race for their own separate reasons. In fact the relationship adds to the story, making it more emotionally complex. That's what I want out of a romantic subplot. When a relationship becomes their single motivation a character becomes so unbelievably boring. The Scorpio Races makes it clear that Puck is racing for money, Sean is racing in the hopes of buying the stallion Corr from his boss, who will not sell him otherwise.

Puck is a great character too. Often when someone (usually a man) tries to write a 'strong female character' they usually just end up with a character that has stereotypical toxic male characteristics, e.g. aggressiveness, physical strength, lack of emotion (except anger), but has boobs. That is not a good female character and it's not a great male character either. Puck Connolly though? There are so many opportunities for her to basically act like man because it's what's expected of her. Sure she tries to seem as tough of the other guys but she has to be brave if she's going to be in a race of flesh eating horses. She's brave, but that doesn't mean she's not emotional. She loves her brothers, she loves her horse Dove, and isn't afraid to show that. People jokingly call her 'the third Connolly brother' because she dares to stand up and be as good as any of them. She is constantly told to, essentially, know her place as a woman. Well she doesn't take any of that and I love it.

Sean is a great character too. He is the embodiment of the strong silent type, he's dark and broody which is a little stereotypical but hey, stereotypes are popular for a reason. Though he's removed, he's not mean or rude, in fact he's a pretty nice dude just prefers horses to people is all. His interaction with Puck draws him out of his shell, but because he wants to, because he feels comfortable with her, not because she is endlessly nagging him like so many other characters do.

It's an enchanting world that's not afraid to be violent, and sometime down right scary. You really feel for these characters (except Mutt Malvern, fuck that guy) and the story is engaging, keeping you hooked until the very end.

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