Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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.
Titans is a fascinating reimagining of horse racing, one where flesh and blood are replaced by wires and steel, and the simple dirt track replaced by spectacularly dangerous obstacle courses.
Ms. Scott has a gift for writing character-driven stories, particularly those involving animals who steal our hearts over the course of hundreds of pages and cause our anxiety to kick up several notches as we worry for their well-being in the end. Padlock is just the latest of Ms. Scott's animals to leave his mark as we read, a horse who should be fully robotic and personality-free instead exhibiting a fighting spirit on the track and a capacity for love and affection off it. His relationship with jockey Astrid is both heartwarming and heartbreaking as their bond grows race after race, their success inspiring cruelty in others who feel an early model Titan and a lower class rider have no business in a sport driven by money and prestige.
While Astrid's relationship with Padlock is a highlight, her friendship with fellow factory worker's daughter Magnolia is also a show-stealer, the two of them there for one another every step of the way without any petty jealousy or unnecessary drama to dim their shine. Though the fact that this story is romance-free might be ever-so-slightly disappointing for those who live for it in their books (like myself), the fact that Ms. Scott decides to take what at first appears as though it's going to be a predictable enemies to lovers setup and shift it into something else entirely is a refreshing change.
Overall, Titans is a story full of heart, the bond between horse and rider beautifully sharing the spotlight with smile-inducing friendships as well as family dynamics to give us a well-rounded read with a little bit of everything for every reader.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.