The tiny island of Thisby lives for the Scorpio races that take place each year on November 1. Thisby is home to the mysterious and monstrous capaill uisce, water horses that come out of the sea in search of blood, and these are the horses that ride in the Scorpio races. Sean Kendrick, who works for the local stable owner and knows more about horses than anyone on the island, has won the races for the last four years in a row. Kate “Puck” Connolly, by contrast, is entering the races for the first time and has no idea what she’s gotten herself into. Both Sean and Puck desperately need to win, for different reasons. But as they train together for the Scorpio races, what they learn from each other will change both their lives.
I am absolutely stunned by how good this book is. Knowing that Stiefvater had written a Twilight-esque YA werewolf series, I wasn’t expecting much, even though I’d seen some good reviews for this book. But everything about this novel, from writing style to character development to setting, is absolutely perfect. I think my favorite thing about this novel is the setting: Thisby is a dark, beautiful, dangerous place that vividly came to life in my imagination. Although there is a love story in this book, I almost hate to call attention to it, because it develops with such depth and subtlety that I couldn’t possibly describe it as a “YA romance,” even though the book technically falls within that genre. All in all, this novel really reminded me of Robin McKinley at her best, which is the highest compliment I can pay to a YA fantasy author. It will definitely be among my favorites this year, and possibly one of my new all-time favorite books.