Books Creating Tradition: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater


Downloadable wallpaper curtsy of Maggie Stiefvater's website dedicated to the novel

Brianne Leber, Journalist

Every November, new and old reader will take time out of their schedule to revisit Maggie Stiefvater’s standalone novel The Scorpio Races. The author herself describes it as her “strange cozy novel about flesh-eating horses and wild November nights” based on the Celtic folklore surrounding the eich uisce.

This story follows the events of The Scorpio Races. The event includes the racing of carnivorous water horses called capaill uisce that climb from the Scorpio sea every fall on the small island of Thisby. Told from the perspective of Sean Kendrick, nineteen years old and returning champion of The Races, and Kate “Puck” Connolly, first woman to ever race and her first year, they navigate the dangerous waters of Thisby’s annual traditions and themselves.

However interesting the book is, this article is actually about the traditions created in the books fandom. Different readers will reread, create art, put out new book related products, and even make November cakes, a cake created by the author herself specifically for the island.

Brianne Leber
Brittany Smith of Novelly Yours’ candle box of October, The Races of Thisby.

Brittany Smith, owner and creator of Novelly Yours Candles (“soy candles for bookworms”), was kind enough to let me interview her about her own traditions and her October candle box, The Races of Thisby. In regards to why she created her box, she said she wanted to create something for people “who are passionate about the book” and that she felt “that a special box to celebrate it would be perfect!”

Smith also told me how her own traditions usually involve listening to the audiobook. One year however while her “friends were in town, we actually made November Cakes according to Maggie Stiefvater’s recipe and they were delicious!”

Like Brittany Smith, I also reread/listen to The Scorpio Races every year. This is my third year partaking in the tradition and making November cakes. The past years ended in a horrible yeasty mess of my kitchen but a incredible breakfast sweet. This year I had my best friend, Anissa Vallejo, help me make the cakes. Between bread rising and caramel cooling, she allowed me to give monologues about my love of the story and Sean Kendrick as she dutifully listened and nodded along. When we sat down to eat the cakes, she told me that, while it was a four hour process, “it didn’t feel that long.” She said that the process was fun and “the cake was good!”

Brianne Leber
November Cakes from November 11, 2019 made by Anissa Vallejo and I.

Overall the book is incredible but it is only made more special through the love the fandom gives it and the traditions it has created. The author is currently working on her tarot deck inspired by the novel and we all know I will be ordering it the day it comes out just like any others in the fandom. The traditions that we as readers all hold based on The Scorpio Races is a testament to Stiefvater’s writing skill and the beauty of the novel. I strongly urge you to read the story and experience the capaill uisce for yourself as well and Sean, Puck, and the island of Thisby.