REVIEW: All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

title: all the crooked saints [2017]

  • author: maggie stiefvater 
  • rating: ★★★
  • goodreads

synopsis:

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.

review: 

I hadn’t heard much about this book when I bought it; all I knew was that Maggie Stiefvater was the author and I’ve enjoyed her books previously so I figured I should read this one as well. Stiefvater’s books always seem to transport me, even though they’re not necessarily based in made up lands, they still change the world I seem to live in with magic and mystery. The title and cover didn’t really give anything away for me either. But the fact that the story is centred around miracles really intrigued me.

As I was going into this book clueless, I didn’t really have any expectations – but I enjoyed it, it was the first book I’ve read in a while that’s YA and it made me remember why YA will always reel me back in. Whilst the book didn’t focus on love, it ran through the plot which I really liked. Beatriz’s character development due to romance was possibly one of my favourite parts of the story, she was able to open herself up despite having cut herself off from anything except logic.

I think growth is actually a really big part of the plot that Stiefvater laid out. The way miracles work in this book calls for growth from every person involved and I’m really glad it was the first book I read in 2018. It seems like a really apt book for a new beginning, with the idea that everybody has something they need to rid themselves on and that it can be done. It left me feeling like even though a miracle might not happen to me, I can change and better myself.

Throughout the novel, music was heavily intertwined, with Diablo Diablo and also Tony’s records. It gave the story a background, it fit the soft atmosphere of Bicho Raro and gave the reader a reminder that this little mysterious place is not so far from ‘real world’. Everything in Bicho Raro seemed to hold some magic, and whilst I’ve seen some readers saying that it made the writing pretentious and empty, I didn’t feel that way. So what if Stiefvater writes dramatically about little details made magical by the presence of the Soria family? So what if she writes that paper flowers wilted because they thought they were real in the presence of a Soria? To me, it felt that it was needed, because whilst performing miracles is a big deal, that can’t be all the family can do. The electricity and life that was in the pages of this book is something that I welcomed after reading horror novels. It was light and airy and held some kind of yearning that I could feel through the pilgrims’ desire to be free.

I gave it 4 stars, maybe because the year hasn’t embittered me just yet and idea of growth is appealing, or because it was a breath of fresh air after getting into gritty books. It was light, it was enjoyable, it had a plot that pulled me in – Stiefvater knows how to write YA well, and this book (for me) is a prime example.

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