Mechanical horses… with feelings?? You betcha! Best friends together forever? Yup. Detroit front and center? So awesome… Do I really need to write a review? Oh, alright…
Titansby Victoria Scott
Published by Scholastic Press on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
From Victoria Scott, author of FIRE & FLOOD, comes a thrilling story of impossible odds.
Ever since the Titans first appeared in her Detroit neighborhood, Astrid Sullivan’s world has revolved around the mechanical horses. She and her best friend have spent countless hours watching them and their jockeys practice on the track. It’s not just the thrill of the race. It’s the engineering of the horses and the way they’re programmed to seem so lifelike. The Titans are everything that fascinates Astrid, and nothing she’ll ever touch.
She hates them a little, too. Her dad lost everything betting on the Titans. And the races are a reminder of the gap between the rich jockeys who can afford the expensive machines to ride, and the working class friends and neighbors of Astrid’s who wager on them.
But when Astrid’s offered a chance to enter an early model Titan in this year’s derby, well, she decides to risk it all. Because for a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, it’s more than a chance at fame or money. Betting on herself is the only way she can see to hang on to everyone in the world she cares about.
The Titans are mechanical horses that race on custom tracks in an area of suburban Detroit that is positively depressed. Most without jobs, the last thing some of these fans need is an incentive to gamble their life savings away. But the excitement is too much of a draw, even for thirteen year old best friends Astrid and Magnolia, who manage to sneak out of their homes to watch the races up close at the fences for the first time in their lives. Astrid is hooked!
Fast forward four years and life is bleak for these two friends. Both have families in turmoil but rely on each other for daily support and dare I say… love? Yep, I truly adored the friendship at the backbone of this standone story from Ms. Scott.
I’ll admit, it didn’t hurt any that the story setting is my backyard. Picturing the neighborhood, race track, and practice track isn’t hard to do for anyone with a simple knowledge of suburbs of a big city. Ms. Scott did a fantastic job of painting her Detroit sad, dirty, and bleeding hope.
At the heart of the story, though, is Astrid and her desire to save her family from being homeless. She believes she’s brave enough, smart enough to program the horse to beat all the other horses on the track. But when a chance to race is presented to her, there’s just a tiny hitch in the plan. She can’t not take the chance for her family. It really is an amazing ride Astrid (and Magnolia) take us on as they grow up very quickly but in the end, remain the awesome to the core genuine human beings.
What floored me the most, that Astrid understood (and that Ms. Scott snuck into her story) the principle that should be the American way: Instead of sitting back and hoping to be rescued (gambling), Astrid is putting in an effort and working hard.
With just the right amount of supporting characters to add drama and complications to the story, Astrid has her work cut out for her. Besides the best best friend in the world for support, she has my favorite curmudgeon, Rags. When he showed up on that first page, I quickly fell in love with the old man.
I was shocked and dizzy by the amount of story and detail in this story. It is non-stop, from one moment to another, from one race to another, from one conversation to another. I really don’t want to spoil anything but holy crap, the imaginative tracks these “horses” ran on!
I’m trying very hard not to give too much away about the story, but at the same time at least hint at how good this story is and not give too much away. Hey, at least you know it’s a standalone!!
Now, Ms. Scott, can I talk you into a jewelry line? I’d love to buy a certain necklace…
Act quickly, folks! This giveaway closes soon!!