'Ballad & Dagger' Book Club Readalong Day 3!

By: OwlCrate . Photo By: @shaked_reads

Welcome back to the third day of our book club readalong for OwlCrate's May book, Ballad & Dagger!

Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for Chapters 11-18 of Ballad & Dagger, so make sure you read are finished this section before continuing.

Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate box! Don't forget, you can also post about the readalong on Instagram with the hashtag #OCBalladandDagger for another chance to win!

The story continues...

Chapter 11:
Mateo meets Chela at the cemetery and she reveals she is the initiated child of Okanla, The Destroyer spirit.

Chapter 12:
Together they walk towards the “re-do” of last night, Chela explaining that what she does, the killing and violence, to her feels incredibly natural. She can feel Okanla in her. Mateo thinks he feels the same way about music, but isn’t sure he feels the same way with healing.

Chapter 13:
The meeting outside Tolo’s club is already tense when they arrive, and Chela reveals to Mateo that Trucks was the first person she has ever killed, and she did so because he was out to get her cousin. She tells him that Tolo must never find out what happened. When Anisette takes to the megaphone things in the crowd get much worse - she announces that her successor as pirate rep will be Gerval…not Tolo. Fights erupt and at the side of the crowd five large armored figures appear, five people like Trucks, and as Chela enters the melee she tells them that she isn’t sure Trucks was entirely human.


Chapter 14:
A brawl ensues, the Trucks like people plowing through the crowd, battering people. Tams and the twins say they won’t leave Mateo alone, and he attempts to heal an old man, but the man isn’t dying from the head injury. Mateo’s magic can feel he is dying because his heart is stopping, but he can’t figure out how to prevent it. Chela appears again and tells Mateo to look inside himself, like his music, to find his power, and luckily he is able to save the old man, heart healed.

Chapter 15:
Tía Lucia finds Mateo finishing up healing people as the fighting simmers down, and sending his friends away takes him to the canal to teach him how to cleanse himself of the hurt he takes in while he heals. She tells him he is the one who will be able to find out what is going on because people trust him, they don’t know him well enough not to.

Chapter 16:
Back at Tolo’s club everyone stares at Mateo as he enters, whispering about what he had done that night. Chela calls him to the back room, Tams and Maza with him, to talk to Tolo, who reveals that since San Madrigal fell his pirate crew hasn’t been smuggling guns or drugs, but lore and long lost treasures. They think if they find the reason San Madrigal sank, they will also find how to bring it back.

One of Tolo’s people comes in and informs him that Anisette has called for a quorum vote to settle the matter of the next pirate rep in two nights’ time. Tolo tells him to get people to go door to door to inform them what is at stake, and then proceeds to take Mateo down to the basement where they find one of the armored men chained to the wall.

Chapter 17:
When Chela approaches the armored man liquifies in a way, escaping its bonds and knocking Chela to the floor. Tolo orders the door sealed, but before Mateo can get to Chela the monster sees him. Chela kicks her dagger to Mateo who uses it to stab the creature through the neck, killing it. Tolo confirms that it was a monster from San Madrigal, from their folktales, that is indeed very much real. And they are getting stronger. Chela tells Mateo to walk her home.

Chapter 18:
It's very late and when they get to the gate of the cemetery Chela asks Mateo to check to see if she is injured in any way. The monster fed from her and she's disconcerted nothing feels off. He takes her head in her hands and a beautiful scene plays out. When they open their eyes it's clear they both saw it. Mateo just might have a crush on Chela after all.



  1. Why do you think Anisette broke tradition and nominated Gerval to be the new pirate rep?
  2. Why do you think creatures from their legends are now showing up in Little Madrigal?
  3. What sort of power do you think the child of San Madrigal will have?
  4. Ballad & Dagger has a lot of humor in it! Can you recommend another book that had you laughing?

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