There really wasn't a thing I liked about Stiefvater's Shiver series, so I pretty much expected to hate this as well. Not so, my friends, not so! Part of it (and the reason I put this on my TBR list, despite hating everything I'd ever read from the author) is that I love the idea of water horses. I wasn't familiar with any of the mythology surrounding them, but the thought of Stiefvater's capaille uisce, beasts that are made from the sea, then emerge starved and ferocious only to be saddled...isn't that gorgeous? I'm thanking the red bull from The Last Unicorn (the movie) for the image in my head and how in love with it I am. More than that, though, I loved the characters, Puck and Sean and Finn (Finn! How I love Finn! I so hope that he gets apprenticed at Palsson's) and Dory Maud and everyone in between. I loved the relationship between Puck and Sean, how slowly it develops, a wary, tightly furled thing at first.
Aaand the setting. I loved Thisby. I breathed salt air and fish scent while I read, heard the cymbal crash of the waves on the cliffs. For 400 pages, I got to be an islander, a lifelong resident of Thisby through Puck and Sean. For 400 pages, I couldn't imagine living anywhere else, even though in reality, like Gabe, I probably wouldn't be able to bear it.