The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

This book is going to be huge.  Get your pre-orders in and block off some time on October 18th. This is a book you won’t be able to put down so you will have to read it straight through in one sitting.

The Scorpio Races is like nothing I have read before. The Scorpio Races is a stand-alone fantasy novel that Stiefvater says has been in her head for many years. The time that this story had to percolate in her imagination resulted in pure perfection. The prose is magical and haunting. The characters are true and life-like. The setting will surround you, with fog settling around you and drops of saltwater sticking to your skin.

Kate “Puck” Connolly lost her parents to the capaill uisce , the water horses, many years ago. She and her two brothers have been struggling to survive ever since.  They barely make ends meet on the tiny island they call home.  When her oldest brother announces that he is leaving to go to the mainland, Puck is stunned and heartbroken.  In a crazy bid to keep him home longer, she enters the Scorpio Races.  Every November, the capaill uisce wash upon shores of the island. The water horses are deadly, but the lure to tame one long enough to ride in the Scorpio Races is hard to resist for the island residents.  The promise of prize money has tempted many young men, including her brother’s friends. But  Kate swore to have nothing to do with the capaill uisce after her parents’ death.  Instead, she  enters the race as the first female rider in the race’s history, but plans to ride her own horse, Dove.

And then there is Sean.  Strong, silent, and the island’s most famous resident.  He is the returning champion of the Scorpio Races and he and his water horse, Corr, are known far and wide.  But Sean is silently struggling.  He wants to free himself from his overbearing employer but won’t leave his job without Corr, who belongs to the stable.  Winning this year’s Scorpio Races will win them both their freedom.

Sean and Puck meet while training for the races.  But don’t think this is just a love story.  It’s so much more than that.  The center of the story is that both Puck and Sean’s futures hinge on how well they do in the race.  But only one can win.  And while there is tension between the two, Stiefvater’s tale is about the water horses.  I was not familiar with the mythology of water horses before picking up this ARC and that made the story all the more delicious.  I had no idea what was coming.  I fell in love with the gorgeous and deadly water horses, and I’ve been reading everything I can about them ever since I finished the book.  Stiefvater’s prose is haunting and I could hear the hooves pounding on the beach while the waves crashed in the background.  The world-building is spot-on and the atmosphere will haunt you.

This is a book that will fly off the shelves in October.  I have already passed it on to my students, and they took it home this summer to pass around amongst themselves.  I know they are going to love it.  I certainly do!

(I plan to look for some water horses when I am in Ireland later this summer.  ;)  )

*ARC courtesy of the publisher at BEA

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

A few weeks ago I came home to find an envelope from Scholastic on my porch. I opened it and let out a little yelp of joy, as a copy of Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver fell into my hands. I had just mentioned here how much I wanted to read it but figured I would have to wait until its publication in August.  First of all, the cover design is absolutely gorgeous- a stark design of blue and white.  And now that I have read Shiver, I can attest that Stiefvater’s writing is even more beautiful than the cover.  Lyrical, yet stark at appropriate times, her subtle characterizations will leave you in tears.

Sam lives a double life- one in the warmer months of summer and one in the winter.  During the warmer months of spring and summer  he’s human.  But when the cooler temperatures of winter begin to chill the earth, he shape shifts into a wolf for the winter.  Each year that he changes, his time as a human becomes shorter and shorter.  Sam knows that eventually he will remain a wolf forever, leaving behind all of his human emotions and attachments.  But through it all, human or wolf, he watches and loves Grace, the girl who sits on her swing and doesn’t shy away from his stare.

Grace loves the wolves that run through the woods behind her house; some people might even say she’s obsessed.  And this is despite the fact that she was attacked by the wolves as a young child, dragged into the woods and almost killed.  However, she was saved by a wolf with striking yellow eyes. She watches and loves him, never understand why she’s filled with such longing for what she sees as “her” yellow-eyed wolf. When she meets Sam, a boy with those same striking yellow eyes, she is immediately drawn to him.  As impossible as it seems, she knows he is her wolf.  Her savior.  And her obsession.

Soulmates, they know they are meant to be together.  But Sam knows that their time together will come to an end.  He knows this is his last summer.  What are they willing to do for the chance of more time together? 

Maggie Stiefvater may be one of the best writers I have ever read when it comes to creating chemistry between two characters.  The love between Grace and Sam is palpable between the pages of the book.  The story is told by both Grace and Sam, making it even more magical. Stolen glances, brushes against each other, and silent looks of longing create a love between a girl and werewolf that is completely believable.  In fact, Sam and Grace may surpass Bella and Edward when it comes to forbidden love!  But unlike Bella, Grace is a solid, strong heroine.  And Sam is human and flawed, though he sometimes may seem perfect to Grace.

This is a romance for the ages- poetic, lyrical, soft, bittersweet, and full of longing.  Stiefvater is a gifted writer and I fully admit that she had me sobbing at points during the story.  I can’t believe that I have to wait until 2010 for the next book in the series!  

 But the true sign of a book that will be a huge hit?  One of my girls was paging through the book when she saw it on my desk.  She begged me to loan it to her and I said I couldn’t, not until I finished reading it.  Today, I was reading the last 10 pages during our independent reading time, while she sat and stared at me, willing me to finish.  I handed my ARC over and within minutes she was gushing about how amazing the first 3 chapters are.  I fully expect her to come in tomorrow with the book finished, and I know she’ll be raving about it to all of her classmates!

Shiver Contest

I rarely enter contests, but I want in on this one!

Someone out there in internet-land bought on an ARC of Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater on eBay for $71.00

$71.00!

Seeing as not all of us can afford to (illegally) purchase the ARC on eBay, Maggie is running an awesome contest.   You should all go and enter! 

Make sure to blog about this contest and then comment on this post and tell her I sent you!Because the $51 ARC has inspired me to do a contest thingy. Here’s the deal. It’s running from May 8-15th. The idea is to convince as many of your LJ or blogger or wordpress friends to post about Shiver (you don’t have to pay them, although it might help). Winner is whoever manages to get as many of their friends to post and comment back here by 8 p.m. EST on the 15th.

And the reward? Okay. Here it is. First of all, you have to get at least 5 friends to blog about it to be eligible. Winner gets:

- a signed ARC of SHIVER
– 4 signed copies of LAMENT
– and for each of the friends that you got to comment, a critique of the first 5 pages of any of their manuscripts

 

And if any single person manages to get over 50 friends to comment, I’ll make it 3 ARCs of SHIVER and 8 copies of LAMENT. 

What is Shiver about?

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf–her wolf–is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human–or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Pre-order this one now…..because I think it’s going to be huge. I already have a group of girls in my class clamoring to read it!  And once they start reading it I can foresee copy after copy being passed around.  :)

 

So go!  And tell Maggie I sent you on this post.  

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