All the Crooked Saints: Review
Note: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy from the publisher for review.
Well, Maggie Stiefvater has done it again with her latest novel, All the Crooked Saints. A whimsical novel that reads like a folktale, with her trademark melodic storytelling and character dimensionality, this is one book that is not to be missed!
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.
If you have read any of Stiefvater's other books, you will be familiar with her writing style. It's flowing and sweet, and every word seems to tell a story. Even the way sentences are structured, the dialogue, and the punctuation- everything is deliberate to the story she wants to tell. All the Crooked Saints is no exception.
It's a wonderfully simple story. There is a family who holds the magic to help people overcome their inner conflicts and darkest secrets. Only, all they can do is help expose these darknesses. It is then up to the pilgrim to solve the mystery of their darkness and overcome it on their own. These darknesses are called "miracles." There's a delightful play on religion and miracle-working. There's no clear line between "right" and "wrong," and it's up to the pilgrim to face his or her own inner demons by themselves.
Reading this book was like studying a Salvador Dali painting. The book certainly has fantasy elements, but I think it could be better described as surrealism. On the surface, it seems to be a simple enough story. This is a standalone novel, so you know that the conflicts will somehow resolve themselves by the end. But we don't know the journey that the novel takes to get there. There are all sorts of delicious twists and turns that Stiefvater throws in, which not only serve to move the plot along, but provide dimensionality to her characters.
And oh boy, there are a ton of characters. We get the backstories of nearly every single one of them. And if I were to tick them off of my fingers, I could also probably name their motivations, fears, and desires. The amount of information that Stiefvater is able to cram into this back is amazing. It's not done in a very heavy way, but still- there's a lot to digest. Because of this, I had a difficult time diving into All the Crooked Saints at first, but once I grew more familiar with the characters, it became a more enjoyable journey.
I rate All the Crooked Saints 4/5 stars!
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater comes out on October 10, 2017 (a week from today!). Pre-order it now!