My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA magical realism
Pacing: Normal to fast
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Published: October 10th, 2017
Here is a thing everyone wants: A miracle.
Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.
Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.
At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.
They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect. – synopsis from Goodreads
“You can hear a miracle a long way after dark.”
I love Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. It’s weird and quirky and did I say weird? And just what I’m into. I didn’t really know what to expect from All the Crooked Saints but I was able to meet Maggie and get her to sign my copy at the first book signing I ever went to. Authors don’t really come to Canada, and they come even less in the quaint little province of Quebec. So I jumped on the journey of All the Crooked Saints and went along for the ride.
All the Crooked Saints is in a writing style that I usually struggle with, magical realism. The only books I ever DNFed are usually magical realism. I either don’t get, or can’t get into them at all so when I started this one I was nervous there was a chance I would have to DNF a Maggie Stiefvater book. For people who don’t know what magical realism is, it’s a style of fiction that shows realistic views of the world but with magical elements.
I have seen some reviewers bring up the representation in All the Crooked Saints since it does revolve around an american-mexican family, but I can’t really comment on Maggie’s execution from that point-of-view as I am not an ownvoice reviewer in this case. I did see an ownvoice reviewer saying he loved it but haven’t seen much more than that. What I can comment on is how Maggie Stiefvater has made me not give up completely on magical realism.
The Soria family is in the business of doing miracles. People from all over come to Bicho Raro to find help to rid them of their darkness., these Miracles do not come in the form that one would expect. With the help of Daniel, the saint, the first miracle is done, but the pilgrims will have to make their second miracle themselves if they want their darkness to go away. Though the Soria family are forbidden to help the pilgrims in any way while they wait for their second miracle, the three main characters, the Soria cousins, will get involved in their own page to help someone.
I really thought the characters were well written and interesting. I especially loved learning about the pilgrims and their darkness and the way of getting rid of it. Though I would have loved to learn a bit more about the three cousins, with the information that was given you are still able to understand their characters. I thought it was very imaginative and showed a lot of the flaws that we see in ourselves but accentuated. I think this is a very different novel and style for Maggie Stiefvater but I still really enjoyed it and thought it fit with what I know of her. This book is a standalone and a really quick read. Sometimes with a shorter book, you sense that the author is sprinting to the end of the book, but All The Crooked Saints had a beautiful flow and didn’t feel rushed at all.
If you are a Maggie Stiefvater fan you will recognize her unique writing style and if you are not, let’s just say, this is a very traditional Maggie book and I mean that in the best way. I absolutely loved it and gave it a 5 out of 5 stars.