So here is a piece of startling news: Maggie Stiefvater is my absolutely favourite author.
Which you probably have picked up if you’ve read my blog for two minutes or two years or if you see my instagram feed which is basically a just an ode to The Raven Boys. So obviously my #1 anticipated book for this year was All The Crooked Saints! And I’m very very pleased to announce:
It was good, OK. It was excellence. Maggie Stiefvater never disappoints.
+ FIRST THING TO SAY IS = IT’S ACTUALLY VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE USUAL.
It is still full of typical Stiefvater-isms and voice and her style is all over it. But it reads with a lot more whimsical myth and legend than her other books and it was a little startling at first. So NO, this is not The Raven Cycle. It’s different.
+ IT’S MAGICAL REALISM BUT WITH MUCH MORE MAGIC.
I freaking love magical realism because you can have nice things like toasters and comfortable shoes BUT you also can have owls with human eyes and SAINTS RAINING MIRACLES FROM THE SKES. #Yes #Please All The Crooked Saints is set in Texas in a very dusty part of the desert where a family (the Sorias) run a ranch (not the salad dressing kind) where they offer miracles. The trick is: they give you the miracle, the miracle exposes your inner darkness, and then you have to deal with it. It’s just accepted that everyone is freaking weird and magical here. Like there are girls entwined with snakes, a giant, someone who gets rained on all the time etc. etc. And everyone is chill with that.
+ I ADMIT TO BEING A LITTLE CONFUSED BY THE MIRACLES AT FIRST.
The Sorias can’t help anyone fight or cure their inner darkness AND I JUST WANT TO KNOW WHY. Then it sort of got explained like so:
“You barter with sadness or you fight with grief or you eat arrogance every morning with your coffee. There are saints in this valley who can heal you. You and every other pilgrim can canter to Bicho Raro to receive a miracle. A miracle, you say? A miracle. This miracle makes the darkness inside you visible in amazing and peculiar ways. Now that you see what has been haunting you, you overthrow it, and then you leave this place easy and free.”
OK, man, that sounds great. But if the Soria saints help the pilgrims, they turn into Ultimate Darkness™. Which seems unfair for everyone involved.
Welcome to a Stiefvater novel.
+ IT’S WRITTEN IN OMNIPRESENT.
I’m going to be honest and admit I’m not fond of omnipresent! I wish the book had focused on Daniel, Joaquin and Beatriz. But we get dozens of other POVs and backstories and it can jump from one head to another ANY SECOND. #Not #My #Favourite. However. Once I got into the swing of it, I really loved how beautiful, whimsical, and melodic the writing was. It felt so rich and extravagantly magical and the extra perspectives actually made it feel juicy and deep. The story is about MIRACLES, not just the Saints and not just the Pilgrims.
+ I ALSO LOVED THE SETTING AN UNREASONABLE AMOUNT.
I could totally see the ranch and the desert and the box truck. After I stopped thinking about ranch dressing and Caesar Salad this was great.
+ IT’S THE KIND OF STORY THAT LEFT ME WANTING MORE.
Which is great, because I swear I’ve seen a tumblr post from Maggie Stiefvater which says that’s her #1 wish for people who finish her books. But I want so many spin-offs??? My top request is for a story on Daniel’s childhood because he was a devil’s brat who turned into a saint and like PLEASE TELL ME MORE.
+ THE CHARACTERS WERE AMAZING.
I can’t get over how magically Maggie Stiefvater writes characters. They’re like so deep and complex and DIFFERENT?!? They are odd little tumble weeds and I loved them. I adored the three Soria cousins and their illegal radio station and their inner darkness. I loved Beatriz who was very firmly convinced she had no feelings and Joaquin who loved his hair and Daniel, the childhood-devil-turned-saint. I loved Pete who loved to work (what the heck is wrong with him though) and was so earnest and pure. And I loved the dogs who wanted to eat everyone alive. #relatable
+ IT’S WHIMSICAL AND BIZARRE AND ADDICTIVE.
It wasn’t what I expected and it’s not my favourite Stiefvater novel. (BECAUSE MY HEART GOT EATEN BY THE RAVEN CYCLE AND THERE IS NO RETURN.) I wanted more. This book is a bit like being told wild dusty folklore stories with black roses and owls with strange eyes and strange box trucks and girls who like boys’ elbows. It’s unusual and it’s slow and it’s pretty and there are SAINTS. It’s every scoop of magic I needed in my life.
THANK YOU TO SCHOLASTIC FOR THE REVIEW-COPY. All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater is published October 2017.
Here is a thing everyone wants:
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.