"Don't thank me." Peg's already walking away. "Show them who you are."
I swallow. Who I am is crouched down inside this girl named Puck Connolly, praying that I'll make it through the next few minutes."
- The Scorpio Races
Every November, the Scorpio Races are run. The beautiful capaill uisce are fast and dangerous, and a number will not survive. But for Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick, the stakes are high: neither can afford to lose, but who will win? Four-time winner Sean rides the fastest capall uisce, and has a magic about him straight from the sea. How can Puck compete? Especially when she will be riding her flesh-and-blood land-horse, Dove. Puck faces opposition from the men riding - and they are all men - including Sean Kendrick.
You can't just call Sean Kendrick 'Sean'. He is Sean Kendrick. See how Maggie does that? Somehow, she makes the reader understand Sean Kendrick is not simply his name, or who he is, it's WHAT he is, what he's MADE of. And Puck - I think we never know her age for sure. We guess at 17 or 18. We are forced to recognise the different colours of bravery, because Puck doesn't lend herself to the hero archetype - she would really be uncomfortable with that.
What is it about Maggie's writing? It's so organic, as if it grew out of the magic story-world and blossomed into your brain. She tells you things without telling you - I don't think Ireland was ever once mentioned, and yet you somehow know the island without a name is off its west coast. With the exception of the use of the word 'pants', you wouldn't guess at an American author (do the Irish say pants for trousers? I'm not sure, but I didn't imagine they did). And I did enjoy the American character who was a veritable opposite of the loud obnoxious stereotype to which we are all accustomed (now you know it's an American writer...), garnering a little positive press for a - good! - change.
I was afraid I wouldn't love The Scorpio Races. It was 'about beaches and kissing', Maggie kept saying. What if I don't like beaches and kissing? What if beaches and kissing aren't my thing?
Going into a book with sky-high expectations is like going into a relationship - don't do it and you can't be (really badly) disappointed. My problem is that I admire Maggie-the-person, and adore her books (excepting Lament which had something missing) so much that I may have unrealistic expectations of every future book, and unnecessary anxiety that I might NOT love it (because wouldn't that be betraying our unrequited friendship?) -
I loved The Scorpio Races.
She said it was the most 'me' book she's written so far. She said it was about beaches and kissing, but in my opinion it is about horses and the sea and sea-horses (but not seahorses) and *not* kissing. Do you see? Not yet? You will.