Reviews

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 8 Up-When the carnivorous capaill uisce, or water horses, rise from the sea each year, the island men prepare to prove their brawn and courage by outrunning the deadly beasts. And now, Kate, the first girl to enter the race, is determined to win it, facing fierce competition from Sean, to whom she is strangely attracted. Intense action, riveting suspense, and two determined protagonists make this a competition to remember. (Nov.) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In her closing notes, Stiefvater (the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy) calls this a book "about killer horses"-terrifying faerie creatures that eat meat and seek to drown humans-and, in virtually the same breath, says that it "isn't really about water horses." She's right on both counts. On the island of Thisby, the Scorpio Races are held every November, when the driven or the crazy ride the beaches on the backs of these mounts. Sean Kendrick does it for love, winning year after year on the stallion Corr; Puck Connolly, pitting her ordinary horse against the killers, does it out of desperation, to win money to keep her home and to earn respect from her older brother, who threatens to desert the family. Stiefvater's narration is as much about atmospherics as it is about event, and the water horses are the environment in which Sean and Puck move, allies and rivals to the end. It's not a feel-good story-dread, loss, and hard choices are the islanders' lot. As a study of courage and loyalty tested, however, it is an utterly compelling read. Ages 13-up. (Oct.)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* The island of Thisby, somewhere near Britain and replete with cars and electricity, is nevertheless fantastical, the home base of a fierce breed of water horses, the capaill uisce, man-eaters who rise from the autumn seas to terrorize the islanders. They can be captured and somewhat tamed, however, and once a year the island hosts a tourist draw, the Scorpio Races, a beachside contest often fatal to the riders. Sean Kendrick is one of the racers, a four-time champion on his trusty stead. Kat. Puc. Connolly is new to the races and the first woman rider. Due to a loophole in the rules, Kate's riding a regular horse, her beloved Dove, which she trusts to run true against the more frightening contestants. Both riders have deeper personal motives for wanting to win. Filling it with loving descriptions of wet, wind-tossed Thisby as well as exciting equine action, Stiefvater has created a thrilling backdrop for the love story that blooms between Sean and Puck. And in the water horses, based on mostly Celtic legends, she's created scary yet compelling forces of nature. A book appealing to lovers of fantasy, horse stories, romance, and action-adventure alike, this seems to have a shot at being a YA blockbuster.--Cruze, Kare. Copyright 2010 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 8 Up-On the sea-battered and wind-swept isle of Thisby, fall brings the famed and feared capaill uisce, or water horses, and with them, death. These animals are bigger and faster than their terrestrial cousins, and they are carnivorous and predatory. Many islanders have lost family members to the beasts, including narrators Sean Kendrick and Kate Connely. For them, and others, the annual Scorpio Races are both a celebration and a grotesque spectacle. Island men test their mettle and risk their lives racing the water horses, capping a weeks-long festival. Sean, the island's foremost horse expert, races Corr to win the money to finally buy the horse from his boss, Benjamin Malvern. Kate, aka Puck, races her land horse to save her family home from foreclosure by the same man. Both cannot win, and it is doubtful that both will survive. While there is plenty of action, conflict, excitement, and a heart-stopping climax, it is the slowly developing relationship between Kate and Sean that makes the book remarkable. Though different, they are both products of the island and have an intense love for Thisby that is not shared by all of the residents. Stiefvater makes readers care deeply for them, their desolate island, and even the monstrous water horses. The author takes great liberties with the Celtic myth, but the result is marvelous.-Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.