I enjoyed Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series so I was hopeful that I would enjoy another of her works. Unfortunately The Scorpio Races fell flat for me. Many reviewers, especially those who disliked the book, note that the book may be suitable only for true horse lovers. Since I rank myself in this category I do not agree that the problem with the story is that you have to be a true horse lover to enjoy it. The problem lies in the world and characters.
The setting, while minutiae of the scenes were described the overall location was not well understood. Major descriptions are lacking for the setting and one of the main components, the water horses. Also, the time period largely felt too modern while also being vague. The kelpie myth mixed with modern devices such as cars felt very off to me and was distracting.
The characters were not very compelling and they sounded almost identical. Their viewpoints went back and forth and if you had not read who it was you would not know by the writing (aside from characters that only interacted with a specific narrator). The two voices were far too similar and while I felt the literary device worked in the Wolves of Mercy Falls it failed here.
As for the races, well do not hold your breath. The races do not begin until less than twenty pages remain in the 400+ page book. Call me crazy but I figure if a book is called The Scorpio Races it should center around a race or at the very least take up a bulk of the book! Instead we have the "drama" in Puck and Sean's lives to listen to for hundreds of very boring pages. Also, the reason Puck enters the race is ridiculous. There were any number of reasons one would enter such a race but the reason Puck gives is not a good one. Why would she enter a race only to have her brother not leave until the race is OVER? That only delays it about a few weeks, what's the point? Sure she said she was going to do it so maybe she felt compelled but at that point in the story it is not really believable. The "relationship" between Puck and Sean did not really come through in the pages. This was especially true if you compare Sean's relationship with his horse, Corr. That relationship was much more clear and believable than any other interactions contained within the book. Overall I did not come to care for any of the human characters in the book.
Overall I found the story dull and the writing uninspiring, which is surprising considering how beautifully I felt Shiver was written. I had never heard of the kelpie myth prior to reading The Scorpio Races and it certainly did not make me a fan of it. Carnivorous horses just do not sit right with me. Then having these beings race after you drag them from the sea to do your bidding and you whine about the carnage? Sorry you asked for it. It's like taking tigers from the jungle and forcing them to race, WTF are you thinking? I am wholeheartedly against animal racing, including horses, but I was willing to accept it based on a myth (and in book form only) had it been a strong story. But it wasn't a strong story, it was a boring one that left me thinking more about the poor treatment of horses, mythical and real. However the horses, both the water and land variety, were the strongest characters in the book.