All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Published October 10th, 2011
Rating 5/5 Leafs
I like my reviews to be little leaflets of information about the book, a list of things to be prepared for so you can get to reading. I also want reading to be an experience so at the end I’ll list some things I think would pair well with this book.
Synopsis 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.”
Maggie Stiefvater is my favorite author so this was a really, really great read for me. It was ramble-worthy goodness. It was different from Maggie’s last project, The Raven Cycle, because it was much more hopeful and much more magical. I would describe this book as quietly rosy.
“I was looking for a miracle, but I got a story instead, and sometimes those are the same thing.” – All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
What To Expect
Maggie herself even said that this book was about identifying the darkness within you and finding light. All The Crooked Saints does this through magical realism and metaphors. The main family in the book, the Sorias, can perform the miracle of making darkness a visible thing so the pilgrims that come to them can fight it. Recently, however, the pilgrims that come to the Sorias haven’t been able to defeat their darkness and move on. The Sorias, afraid of their own darkness, do not help them. The book is not only the journey of the pilgrims but also the Sorias learning how to defeat darkness. I liked how the book can compare easily to the current generations. It feels like we too have a harder time than previous generations learning how to move on from the things that have hurt us and caused us darkness. Maybe we need the Sorias as well to make it visible for us.
Maggie Stiefvater is my favorite author. She’s my favorite author because she writes strange things that almost seem ridiculous but the more you think about it, the more it worms it’s way into your heart and becomes profound. The chapters in this book might start with a story about the great salt lake in Oklahoma, move to a horse chase of a prize-winning, extremely agitated rare-breed horse, and end with stealing roosters which seems nonsensical but every detail had a place in the plot.
Every character in ATCS is described first by something they want and then by something they fear. This description is put into simple words but when analyzed, mean so much more. She writes characters that are fully fleshed out and flawed. Every character in All The Crooked Saints is meticulously detailed and backstory-ed (this is not a word but it is now for these purposes.)
“We almost always can point to that hundredth blow, but we don’t always mark the ninety-nine other things that happen before we change.” – All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Some Things To Look Out For
Although I really loved the book I recognize that some people might have a hard time enjoying certain elements so I want to address that.
- This book is told in Third Person Omnipresent Tense which means that it gets in to every character’s head and talks about them as “he thought,” “she thought,” “they thought.” I loved how I got more perspectives, it made the story better for me but I can see it being difficult.
- This book has lots of outright magic in it even though it is not based in a fantasy world. For readers who love realism, this is going to seem frustrating to you because you’ll think HOW?! If you are a reader that doesn’t mind suspending disbelief for the sake of the metaphor you’re like me and you’ll love it!
This book has a lot of rock ‘n roll in it, being partly about a promising young radio DJ and the power of music to help you overcome darkness. So I’m going to leave Maggie Stiefvater’s own playlist for the book.
Let’s chat! Have you read this one? What do you think about magical realism? How do you guys get your music because serious, author playlists are one of my main sources haha.