Blood-thirsty mythical horses emerge from the depths of the ocean and are captured to be "trained" for the Scorpio Races, a potentially lethal race that occurs on a beach in Thisby every November.Horses that KILL. The plot is obviously more complex than this, but I didn't need to know anything else about the story to cement my desire to get my hands on it as quickly as possible.
This is the first book I've read written by Maggie Stiefvater. The author definitely took a risk telling this story. She could have told a gruesome tale in which horses run amok in a murderous rampage, and the romantic leads concoct a plan to save the townspeople from their own greed and self-destruction whilst having a torrid love affair. It would have been incredibly easy to use certain cliches and write a stereotypical paranormal romance, and frankly, it was what I expected.
Instead, the author tells a dark and ominous story that is part mythology, part fairy tale. Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick don't meet until about a third of the way into the book, even though they have heard of each other through mutual acquaintances. The Scorpio Races cause their lives to collide in unexpected ways, and their interactions with each other cause some controversy among the residents of Thisby. One of the things I loved the most about the book is the subtlety of Puck and Sean's friendship and how the author slowly develops it into something more meaningful. The book is alternately narrated by Puck and Sean, showing two very different perspectives of how the presence of the capall uisce (aka murderous horses) unites Thisby while simultaneously destroying friendships and tearing families apart.
I know some people may not like the amount of detail Stiefvater uses to describe the setting and the characters who inhabit this town, but I really appreciated the author's in-depth exploration because it made the consequences of the Scorpio Races that much more tragic. The race itself comprises only a few chapters toward the end of the book, but it is well worth the wait. The Scorpio Races is incredibly imaginative and creative, and I felt as if I were magically transported to Thisby while reading it. I have never read anything quite like it.