Audio: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater @mstiefvater @SteveWestActor @fionahardingham @Scholastic #LoveAudiobooks

Posted August 16, 2019 by KC in Book Review / 9 Comments

Audio: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater @mstiefvater @SteveWestActor @fionahardingham @Scholastic #LoveAudiobooksThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Narrator: Steve West, Fiona Hardingham
Published by Scholastic Audio on October 18, 2011
Genres: Fantasy
Length: 12 hours, 6 minutes
Format: Audiobook
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Some race to win. Others race to survive.

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Some riders live.
Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn't given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition - the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

“It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die” is the ominous opening lines to The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.  Ms. Stiefvater has cleverly combined Celtic mythology and traditional themes in this coming of age novel.  As a result, The Scorpio Races has the timeless feel of a fairy tale, the old fashioned kind, where there is a fair dose of horror along with the happily ever after.

The Scorpio Races are not for the faint of heart.  Every year, the brave and foolhardy men of Thisby Island catch and train the deadly the capaill uisce (CAP-ul ISH-kuh), or water horses, to ride in the legendary race.  One is just as likely to die in the effort as to survive.  People enter for many reasons, but the glory of winning the race results in fame on the island and beyond.  Sean Kendrick, a four time champion, races for his independence and for the love of his water horse, Corr.  Kate Connolly, nicknamed Puck, races to hold her family together and preserve their way of life.  Although the two start at opposite ends of the island (metaphorically speaking) they discover their common hopes and dreams in the days leading up to the race.

There are many unanswered details about the location and time period, however, when it comes down to it, the details are irrelevant.  I imagine Thisby Island is off the coast of Britain and the time period is roughly post World War II.  Perhaps this is because I recently watched a movie that took place on Guernsey Island post World War II and that imagery was fresh in my mind.  However, Puck and Sean could be two young adults from today, the past, or some dystopian future.  Their struggle to make their own way in the world while trying to retain their quality of life is universal.

The Scorpio Races is loaded with vivid metaphors that make the scenes and the frightening capaill uisce come to life.  I loved how it was written. Not only is the prose a thing of simple elegance, but the characters are well-developed and compelling.  I found the story both heartbreaking and uplifting.  I rooted equally for Puck and Sean to win the race, but most of all, I wanted them to be together.

The Scorpio Races is a wonderful, exhilarating read.  It is modern and dark, but with a thread of hope that one can follow through to the end.  I was entertained from start to finish.

Narration:

The narration was simply perfect.  The tale is narrated by alternating male and female points of view.  I am already a huge fan of Steve West, but I was impressed with Fiona Hardingham.  Both narrators did an excellent job with the various voices as well as with the pacing, but they brought something else to the performance that I can’t quite express in words.  Their narration seemed to add to the wonder of the story.  I would strongly recommend listening to this on audio.

Listen to a clip:

About Steve West

A London native, Steve began his career by winning the Stage & Television Today acting scholarship at the age of 17 (after ironically believing that he had bombed the audition!). What followed took him through one of London’s top drama conservatories, onto the West End stage in ABBA’s musical phenomenon Mamma Mia! and then to working opposite the likes of Chucky the killer doll and Don Draper in TV’s Mad Men.

Having moved to the States in 2009 he earned a place as a highly respected and award winning voice over artist working across commercials, films, documentary, audiobooks and video games. He starred as Galahad in Sony’s epic motion capture release The Order 1886 which took over 2 years to film and employed the most up-to-date filming and audio techniques in the field.

Versatile in a multitude of ways from acting to singing to dancing to dying 100’s of different ways in a sound booth he continues to enjoy work both on stage, screen and behind a mic. Check out his latest news on the home page, join the conversation on Facebook and twitter and even head back to the 1800s and ‘be’ Steve/Galahad on the PS4!

About Maggie Stiefvater

All of Maggie Stiefvater’s life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you’re a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she’s tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She’s made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.

Rating Breakdown
Plot
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Writing
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Characters
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Dialogue
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
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KC

Reviewer at Books of My Heart
Reading has always been more than just a hobby, it's been a life-long obsession.  To illustrate my point, one of my kids is named William Bennet (think Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet).  Of course, if you are reading my obscure bio-page, you can probably empathize.  I read a broad range of genres, but particularly enjoy kick-butt heroines, complex world-building, first person narration, nerdy references, or  hockey.  I like all of my books to have a romantic element, even just a little bit.

I've developed a preference for audiobooks over the last few years, which allow me to complete chores, run carpool, or work on my many building and craft projects while 'reading.  I prefer reading romance the old-fashioned way, probably because listening to steamy scenes makes me blush!

My all time favorite selections include Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, Karen Marie Moning's Fever series, and all of Robin Hobb's books set in the Farseer world.  Honorable mentions to Elle Kennedy, Penny Reid, Meljean Brook, Ann Aguirre, Krista and Becca Ritchie, Jim Butcher, Jeaniene Frost, and Kristen Callihan.

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Posted August 16, 2019 by KC in Book Review / 9 Comments


9 responses to “Audio: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. What a coincidence! I was just looking over this book at the store and feeling the pull of the story. Now, I definitely want to listen to it and not read it. I love the darker fairy tales now and then so this sounds just the thing.

    Sophia Rose recently posted: Blog All About It August 2019
    • KC

      Definitely give a listen. The into/outro music was also composed by the author. I thought I saw that the movie option had be purchased, but that doesn’t mean much. We can only hope!

  2. Ooo… I love the sound of this one. I’m going to get hold of it – I’ve never read anything by this author but always wanted to and this one sounds right up my street! Many thanks for a cracking review, Anne:)

  3. Scorpio Races is a favorite of mine. I think that I’ve read/listened to it 3 times now. I love Steve West’s performance of this, it fit the flow of the book so well.

    Maybe I’ll listen to it again this November.

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