The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Audiobook Review & ARC Giveaway

Book: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Scholastic Audio, October 18, 2011

Audiobook Info:  YA Fantasy, Library audiobook,  Audio length: 12 hours 6 minutes, read by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham.

Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

More Info: Audible | Goodreads | Amazon

In The Scorpio Races, contestants ride on bloodthirsty water horses, and the first to the finish line wins the grand prize.  Sean Kendrick is the rider to beat, but Puck Connelly, the first female rider, keeps Sean on his toes. They both are playing for high stakes in this deadly race.

I had not heard of the Irish myth about the water horses, but because I’ve read all of Stiefvater’s other books I wanted to give this one a try. When I first picked up the book, I couldn’t really get into it and so I put it aside. Later I found the audiobook at the library and thought that might be a better way to experience this book.  The audio narrators are wonderful and their spirited reading kept me listening. The slow paced story does take patience to get through, but the reward is an exciting race with characters you come to care about.

The story takes place in the made-up island of Thisby, and Stiefvater does a wonderful job bringing the island to life. It’s easy to envision the cliffs, the water, the colorful characters, and the mythological horses in Thisby.  The race is all everyone can talk about in the month of November, and the promise of financial riches encourages riders to participate, even though the possibility of dying in the race exists.

The story has a dual narrative with Sean and Puck trading off. Sean is calm and quiet, and is playing to win something of inestimable value to him. Puck is determined and full of life. She’s a reluctant rider, but financial circumstances drive her to compete. The pair becomes fond of each other, which complicates things.

Sean and Puck have a low-key romance built upon their mutual respect for the horses and the island. It reminded me of Peeta and Katniss, where you don’t want either of them to lose the games/race. Theirs is a quiet slow-building romance that’s not the focus of the book, but helped me to get to know the characters better.

Steve West and Fiona Hardingham narrate the audiobook.  The lovely prose and nature of the story lends itself well to the audio format, and the narrators convey the right tone, rhythm, and emotion for the story.  Maggie Stiefvater performs the music in the beginning and end of the audiobook and it is well suited to the story. In addition, the author speaks at the end of the audiobook about the years spent working on this book, and all of the research involved. She even created a stop-motion trailer for the book. Check it out below.

Though I’m not usually a fan of horse stories, The Scorpio Races is a unique read with great world building and characterization, and it is a fantastic audiobook.

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. Congrats to Brandi who won a copy of The Scorpio Races ARC.

Audiobook Sampler:

Ornament

17 thoughts on “The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater Audiobook Review & ARC Giveaway

  1. BermudaOnion says:

    I’ve heard great things about this book. I have it in print. I’ll have to remember to look for the audio if I struggle with it.

    1. Lucy says:

      I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book when you get the chance to read it! Think you would enjoy the audio quite a bit.

  2. That’s so awesome that the used Maggie’s music for the audiobook! I loved the pieces she composed and performed for Shiver and Linger, I listen to them all the time. I just wish they were longer.

    I had mixed feelings about this book, but I enjoyed reading your review. I’m glad you liked it, Lucy. 🙂

    1. Lucy says:

      I just looked up your review on GR, Wendy, and I agree it’s hard to read the book in print. It was a struggle for me to get through the book version, but the audio does the book a lot of favors. I find that I’m more forgiving of slow moving books like this if I’m listening rather than reading. But if the narrator is a bad fit, then that’s another story!

      Maggie is really talented with her music, isn’t she? Thanks for stopping by, Wendy! I always enjoy your reviews.

  3. Candice says:

    I loved this book! It’s funny how everyone says how slow it is at the beginning and you have to push through. I didn’t get that feeling at all. Maybe because I was aware of it being slower? Either way, great book. I can imagine the audio was fantastic too!

    1. Lucy says:

      I don’t know, Candice- it seems like a love it or hate it book. I’m a pretty patient reader, and I’m a fan of Maggie’s writing, but with this book it took a little longer than usual to get invested. It is really atmospheric though and unique.
      Glad you loved the book! I like how you said Sean is hot in a My So-Called Life sort of way in your review 🙂

  4. Kelsey says:

    I have the hardcover, it is hard to get into at first, but you’re right, it’s worth it at the end with the race. Glad you liked listening to it 🙂

  5. bookgoonie says:

    I loved the Audiobook so much. Your review of it is beautiful. I need to learn in your tutelage on how to write beautiful reviews.

    1. Lucy says:

      Aw thanks Amy! I didn’t realize you listened to the audiobook too. Those narrators are amazing, aren’t they?

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I was interested in this one based on Candice’s review, but it is helpful to know that the audio is better. I find I am more willing to listen to long descriptions than I am to reading them.

    Speaking of audio, I just started listening to Unwind on audio (I think on your rec) and that narrator is weird! I am waiting to see if I can adjust to his voice or not…

    1. Lucy says:

      Looking forward to hearing what you think of The Scorpio Races. Stiefvater’s books translate well to the audio format.

      Sorry Unwind is not working for you. I thought the narrator was a good fit for the story, and made the story even more chilling. But I’ve struggled with audiobooks too, and can understand that the narrator can make or break the book. How are you liking the story so far?

      1. Elizabeth says:

        I am intrigued… it’s a really interesting commentary on both sides of the abortion debate and I’m curious to see where it goes. I can see how the narrator’s voice would add to the chilling-ness of the story, especially some of the flatness and sarcastic tones he uses. I dunno, we’ll see if I can get used to him!

  7. squee1313 says:

    I bought the Kindle Fire version on sale a couple weeks ago. Trying to find time and finish off some other things first. Glad you liked the story. Maybe I will tool

    1. Lucy says:

      Yeah, love those discount kindle books! Hope you enjoy the book when you get the chance to read it 🙂

  8. squee1313 says:

    I just finished Scorpio Races and it was the kind of book I just want to hug and sigh a lot about at the end. I had very mixed feelings about her werewolf books. Sometimes they got a little too angsty for me. Scorpio Races had some of that, but it felt just a little more grown up. I loved Puck. I love how her parents said she was born out of a bottle of vinegar. I loved Sean, that it wasn’t about the horses, just about Corr…and that he made such a sacrifice for Puck. And her little neurotic brother, Finn. I wanted to scoop him up and hug him. You’re analogy to Peeta and Katniss is right on. I like that there was mutual respect and a friendship based on a common goal and a common passion for horses, not some fated star struck lover tale where you cant really understand what they see in each other. I love the crazy sisters and Mr. Holly with his good sense of humor. Definitely a favorite. Thanks for sharing the amazon deal.

    1. Lucy says:

      So glad you enjoyed it- love all the charming bits you point out. There are so many great eccentric characters that added to the story. And yes Finn is just so adorable. I hadn’t remembered the vinegar reference regarding Puck, but that’s so perfect!
      Thanks so much for coming back to share your thoughts on the book 🙂

  9. […] The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. Narrated by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham. From my review: The lovely prose and nature of the story lends itself well to the audio format, and the narrators convey the right tone, rhythm, and emotion for the story. […]

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