Good lord. I knew this book was good. I knew it before I started, but what I found was so much better than I was expecting. I just finished it, so I’m sitting at my computer more than a bit dazed and a little bit teary eyed. I don’t even really know where to start? It was perfect, this book was perfect. Set on an island that felt, to me, like an island off the coast of Scotland. I don’t know where Maggie Stiefvater had in mind when creating Skarmouth, but the dreary - small town-esque feeling of the island was perfect. The atmosphere in this book was dreary and cold and wet, but also real. It felt like a real place, which is something that doesn’t always happen in urban fantasy. It was completely believable. I think that’s a lot of the magic of this book, it is totally believable that somewhere, out there, there’s an island where savage water horses rise out of the sea and are raced every year on the first of November. That people die by the teeth of the cappaill uisce every year. It was violent, the savagery of the water horses shown through every page, whether it was the current attacks, or the shadows of the people lost haunting the book all the way through. It was all just so good. The book has rotating POV’s between Puck and Sean Kendrick, which at the beginning threw me off because I would forget to check which POV the chapter was in. The great thing is that it was easy to figure out who was speaking, Puck and Sean’s narration were totally different (which is impressive in first person narrative which has a tendency to make everyone sound exactly the same). In the end, though, that narration style worked perfectly because it paralleled the two kids who’d both lost their parents to the water horses - in different ways. There was little romance, and the little of it that there was was handled in the best way possible. The story isn’t about romance, it was about the race and that was the focus. It was dark and a little dreary and savage and completely believable. Basically, it was perfect.