All the Crooked Saints
by Maggie Stiefvater
Read: October 15 - 19, 2017
Published: October 10, 2017 by Scholastic Press
Source: ARC from BEA
Category: YA, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Allegory, Desert, New Mexico
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound
Book Description: 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.
It’s fair to say I’m a Maggie Stiefvater devotee. I’ve read her books multiple times (except Sinner), and The Scorpio Races is one of my favorite books of all times: i.e. I was a little excited to hear about her newest release, i.e. I’m very disappointed to say this story was just ok for me.
Oh, All The Crooked Saints was rich in imagery of light and dark and owls and family and what it is to love and be loved. It has some fun and snappy dialogue that accompanies a host of unique characters. And I liked the cleverness of the way the darkness in each person became a physical manifestation. Of all Stiefvater books, this one seems to be Imparting a Lesson the most directly, though I don't think that's what threw me off.
In theory, I could appreciate that this was a well crafted story with a solid and thoughtful ending. And I think the message contained within was well worth hearing. But, still, I struggled so much to get into it. And though I finally felt invested enough to finish, this just never wowed me. Something about it felt flat and hollow to me. I mean, Thisby is a made up place (much to my continued sadness) but it was so much more real to me than this setting in the desert of 1962 Colorado. And I think there were just so many characters to follow in this barely 300 page book that I struggled to feel invested in any of them. I’m going to read whatever else Stiefvater writes in the future, and I don’t regret owning this as part of my overall collection, but it’s going on the shelf to stay.
Love Triangle Factor: none
Cliffhanger Scale: standalone