TITANSAuthor: Victoria Scott
Source: Traded for an ARC
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Rating: 3/5 stars
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.
Purchase:Disclaimer: I read an ARC of this that I traded with Aly!
Okay so I really enjoyed this one. I thought it was a good mix of action and familial relationships and there was no unnecessary romance which was a huge plus for me. BUT I couldn't help but compare it to The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater and because of that it, it was lacking something for me.
I liked Astrid and thought she was really strong and brave for doing what she did to keep her family together, especially her found family. I also really liked Magnolia because she stood by Astrid through thick and thin even when she was having problems of her own. And I liked their friendship: they bounced ideas off of one another, supported one another, and while they both had their own issues, they also helped the other in their time of need. Their relationship is the #1 reason I enjoyed this book. I love books that have positive female friendships and this is definitely one of them.
I also liked the secondary characters and getting to know the management team. They were so much more than just cardboard characters and they all had their own wants and desires. I really liked Rags and thought he played such an important role in Astrid's life.
I did think the introduction was a little bit sloppy and really just a way for Rags and Astrid to meet. But it felt forced and I was not really fond of how he was introduced and brought into Astrid's life. It felt too convenient for me to be really convinced. I also thought the races themselves were a bit lacking. As much as I was on the edge of my seat during them, it felt really repetitive and obvious what was going to happen because of how much book was left. It was like those episodes of Law & Order where they "find" the killer after 20 minutes and you're like "nope there is too much time left" if you know what I mean.
The whole idea of mechanical racing horses was cool though. I liked this and thought it was really well done. I liked that there were different models and how they worked. I thought this was clever and something that kept me really interested in the concept of the novel itself. But the horses themselves were awkward and difficult for me to picture. And the actual race tracks that weren't typical and had the jams were really hard for me to picture as well. I think they were described well enough but I feel like there was a missing piece for me to be really brought into Astrid's perspective and see what she was seeing.
But I didn't get a huge emotional connection to any of the characters or the horse, Padlock. I found myself not really caring if Astrid won or lost because she was a bit of a survivor and would probably have been okay if she had to move. I also thought Astrid's guilt was ... weird and like she placed a lot of weight on her shoulders for no reason. I feel like it would have been one thing if she was the only one there and had left her grandpa with no one but there were three other people at the house with him so I didn't understand her guilt at all.
Overall, this is a good novel. It has a lot of action and horse races and is interesting enough. But if you are looking for horse racing with a twist, I would pick up The Scorpio Races instead.