August wends its weary way to a close, marking it as the time yet again for an inaccurate review of an excellent book! This month, I read (among other things) The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.
The Scorpio Races is quite an unusual novel. The main character and narrator, Sean, is a scorpion. The book gains its title from the weekly races in which Sean and all his fellow scorpions compete – not just for the glory of winning, but for the necessity of food. The first one to their quarry will feast; the last one will starve. Sean, to his great good fortune, is one of the fastest.
So it goes with Sean’s cyclone of scorpions week in and week out, until their routine is shattered by the intrusion of a foreign scorpion. She is injured, her poisonous stinger missing. Normally, a scorpion who cannot fight for itself simply dies out – but something about this stranger catches Sean’s eye. Each time he wins the races, he brings some of his meat to the injured scorpion. And soon he learns that while she cannot fight or run, she has her own valuable contributions to make.
But will the rest of the cyclone agree with this assessment, when they discover that Sean is sheltering her?
The Scorpio Races is the best kind of xenofiction, straining the bounds of what the reader will accept without ever crossing them. Breathless and hopeful, I recommend it to any readers who enjoy arthropods, high-stakes races, and mysterious myths.