Book Review: All The Crooked Saints
All The Crooked Saints
by: Maggie Stiefvater
Finished on: October 26, 2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
I was sent a free finished copy of All The Crooked Saints from Scholastic Press in return for my honest review. All opinions expressed below are my own.
Synopsis (copied from Goodreads):
"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."
All The Crooked Saints is a difficult book for me to review and rate. On the one hand, the writing is stellar. Maggie Stiefvater has a way of writing that makes everything sounds gorgeous and lyrical.
I adored the Raven Boys series and so I was excited to see that she was releasing something new. Let me start by saying that All The Crooked Saints is nothing like The Raven Boys series. I think most people know that, but this is not the same world nor the same characters or really anything similar. The one thing that is common is the fantasy/magical elements. While The Raven Boys series is very open and pragmatic about the magic they encounter (the characters are aware of it and acknowledge it), the characters in All The Crooked Saints never really acknowledge the magical elements. That felt a bit odd to me.
There are a lot of characters to learn here - a huge extended family in addition to the pilgrims. I do not feel like I had a firm grasp of the family tree. I think it may have been helpful to have one added to the beginning of the novel.
While reading, I couldn't help but compare the novel to One Hundred Years of Solitude. I'm not sure that they are at all similar (its been years since I've read Solitude), but it gave me the same sort of feelings.
I've seen a bit online that there were offensive elements in the book. The main family, while US citizens, are from Mexico. While I haven't looked into to much about why people found the portrayal offensive, I have to assume they think that the family was stereotyped. I can't say that I necessarily felt that way during the reading. I believe she could have written the main family as caucasian or Native American or anything else with the similar storyline. That being said, I am caucasian so I simply may not understand the controversy.
Overall, I rate this 3/5 stars. A solid read, but overall, this felt a little slow. If I rated this book solely on the last third, it definitely would have worked itself up higher. I adored the ending, but felt like there was simply too much that I had to slog through to get there. None of the reading was painful or poorly written, I just felt like nothing happened for a long time. Just my honest opinion, I know others loved it.