ARC Review: Titans by Victoria Scott (Mechanical Horses and Friendship and…)

Posted April 20, 2016 by Sophia
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ARC Review: Titans by Victoria Scott (Mechanical Horses and Friendship and…)Titans by Victoria Scott
Published by Scholastic on February 23, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action/Adventure
Format: Physical
Source: Publisher


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 author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.

Titans is amazing, I adored the book and everything that came with it, and…

I want a Titan of my own as well…. Then again, I don’t have horse riding experience, so I’ll probably fall straight onto the ground face first. I’ll stick with those wooden sticks that only have a horse head.

Here’s what I adored and loved about Victoria Scott’s latest novel (this is my first time reading her works….):

  • Mechanical horses, and it’s not just a mechanical horse for experimental purposes. The mechanical horses, known as Titans in the book are horses used for racing. They not only resemble real horses, but they have emotions as well, and that’s a little scary. The Kentucky Derby just got a new twist.
  • Victoria Scott almost always has a dash of humor in her characters’ dialogue. I think this takes talent.
  • I adored each and every one of the major characters in the story. And if I didn’t like them at first, I loved them by the end. That says something.

We have Astrid, a girl living an extremely rough life with everything on the line and sometimes scavenging to make a living. Being able to race in the Titan Derby allows her the chance to turn her rough life around, and she is determined to do what it takes within honorable boundaries. She also has a talent with math and can probably Calculus better than I ever did.

Then there’s Magnolia, Astrid’s best friend since childhood with the same amount of problems as Astrid if not more. But despite all of that, there is a strong bond of friendship between the two girls and Magnolia is there for Astrid every step of the way throughout the race, encouraging and supporting her. She is also hilarious and basically makes everything seem much better than they really are.

Victoria also introduces us to Rags, one of the key players who started the whole Titans spiel for Astrid (okay, he also started the whole Titans spiel in the first place) and allowing her the opportunity to race in the derby. He’s a grumpy old man who comes across as overly crabby at first, but is secretly warm, fuzzy, and grandpa-ish.

Another key player to the whole Titans spiel is Barney, and he is definitely not the purple dinosaur from childhood. Although to be honest… he certainly reminds me of Childhood Barney in a weird way.

And later completing the ensemble, Victoria eventually introduces us to Lottie, a wealthy lady who has a history with Rags and gives off an “I seem intimidating because of my status, but I’m not that intimidating” vibe. She is also one of the few people who has hopes for Astrid early in the races and offers to be Astrid’s sponsor, along with teaching her (and Magnolia) proper etiquette among the upper classes. Lottie is almost a surrogate mother outside of Astrid’s home.

But even though they are all different from each other and normally wouldn’t be caught dead together, the five of them click well throughout the duration of the race, forming a lasting friendship. The combination of friendship with the aspect of mechanical horses put together makes Titans a fantastic read for all ages.

Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is frequently in a Hogwarts House Crisis. More of her bookish reviews can be found at The Arts STL.

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