Five Things I Love about The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The_Scorpio_RacesRemember how I said that I was going to read books by my favorites this year? Well my first go at that was The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. I have long loved Stiefvater’s work. I adored Shiver, then was entranced with Linger, was almost disbelieving when I loved Ballad more, and thought the rounding out of the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy was wholly satisfying and beautifully written, to boot.

And while I was moving half a dozen times and spent a year or so while jobless and dirt poor, not to mention as I said in my last post, guilting myself into reading books I’d had longer but wanted to read less first (that’s a mouthful!)… Maggie wrote two books that I hadn’t read. Actually, that’s a bit of a lie. She wrote four. I didn’t read Linger or Forever until after both books were published. In any case, I was still playing catch up. So finally, despite the fact that I was already reading half a dozen books according to Goodreads… I just picked up Scorpio RacesAnd I ran through it. Here are the things I loved most:

1) The setting is 100% solid. Thisby felt like a real place. A place you could charter a boat to, and find it not much changed from when the book was set… which is not entirely clear, but hardly needs to be.

2) The horses. I was never one of those girls who drew horses and read horse books and wanted a horse for my birthday when I was a little girl… I wanted a unicorn. But seriously, while I would have relished the chance to learn to ride or spend time with horses, that just wasn’t in my life or something my family could afford, so it wasn’t something I thought about much. But it wasn’t the fact that there were horses in the book that impressed me. It was how they were written. I had a professor who said once that the hardest characters to write well are babies and animals, and that is something I’ve always believed, too. The horses in The Scorpio Races rang true.

3) The small-town feminists. Oh Peg Gratton and Dory Maud, I enjoyed every word out of you two. These are women who lead men around by the nose by pretending to be part of their game, and they had their eye out for young, eager, gender-role-challenging Puck. I loved how, rather than taking Puck under their wing exactly, they pointed her in the right direction and pushed her forward.

4) The family relationships. Puck’s relationship with her brothers, more to the point. Finn reminded me of my own little brother, not in his character, but in the feelings he evoked in me—protective, parental feelings, where you are sometimes surprised at the ingenuity and different person-ness of someone you helped raised. And Gabe. While I spent a good majority of the book being angry towards Gabe, I ended up empathizing with and even sort of loving him. It was so easy to understand, his desperation to leave. To have a life that wasn’t constant work and challenge and monotony and death. I can understand that.

5) The love story. This was exactly what I want out of a love story. Which is to say, nothing like most young adult romances (or adult, for that matter, as to the few I’ve read) are like. It is not about physical attraction or even romantic tension. Instead it is about finding someone who is so in tune with how you see the world that they become a part of you without you ever meaning for them to be. It is about respect and mutual understanding and being driven in just the same way. It was so, so satisfying.

These are not all the reasons to read The Scorpio Races, but they are what I loved best.

And since you’ve probably read it well before me, what did you think?

Friday Five: Five Authors I Stalk

And by stalk, I mean that I follow them on their blogs, their twitter, their Goodreads page… pretty much anywhere I can find them online. Not half so creepy or crazy, right? Right? Well… ahem.

So, here we go, along with links so that you can follow them too, if you so choose:

1) Maggie Stiefvater, author of the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and her faerie earlier duo, Lament and Ballad.

Website :: Blog :: Twitter :: Goodreads

Merry Sisters of Fate (where she takes turns writing stories with Tessa Gratton, Brenna Yovanoff, and guest authors)

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Maggie, and that includes her rambliest of blog posts. She’s written some very helpful advice for writers, too, which has been enlightening. I find insights particularly interesting since she’s an artist and a musician, which gives her writing a lyricism and aesthetic that’s hard to find, especially in YA ficiton. I’ve branched into following her two CP’s also, and especially enjoy Tessa Gratton’s blog.

2) Shannon Hale, author of the Books of Bayern, Book of a Thousand Days, etc.

Website :: Blog :: Twitter :: Goodreads

I really try to keep up with Shannon Hale’s announcements and things, mainly because I just love, love, love her books. Some of her characters are absolute loves of mine, so I like to know what’s going on in her bookish world as soon as I can.

3) Jackson Pearce, author of Sisters Red, Sweetly, etc.

Website :: Blog :: Twitter :: Goodreads :: Tumblr :: Youtube

Okay, really her website is her blog again, and her blog is almost exclusively vlogs from her youtube channel, but I’ve linked all so you have options of where you want to follow what. I started watching Jackson’s youtube videos before I ever started reading her books. I stuck around, and actually picked up her novel Sisters Red because I found her to be so witty and fun on her vlogs. Be warned, though, she does have some very strong opinions on some things, and isn’t afraid to offend people with what she says. She errs on the side of snark a little much sometimes, I think, but most of the time she’s very fun to pay attention to, and if nothing else, a great example of how to maximize your use of social media.

4) Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe and A Million Suns

Website :: Blog :: Twitter :: Goodreads :: Tumblr

I also followed Beth Revis before reading her book (I’m reading Across the Universe now, if you remember). I found her on Twitter, then Tumblr, and finally really started reading her blog recently, and I’ve enjoyed them all immensely. I had wanted to read her book before I found her online—it was getting amazing reviews—but I enjoyed getting to know a bit about her personality online before diving in.

5) Jasper Fforde, author of the Thursday Next and Nursery Crime series.

Website :: Blog :: Twitter :: Goodreads

Okay, actually it’s difficult to get updates from Jasper… he’d rather be writing, and I’m A-OK with that. He is one of my absolute favorite authors, though, so I have to include his links. I can’t wait to read his newest novel which is for a youth audience and is about dragon tamers and rediscovering magic. I’m in love with it already.