Monday, July 10, 2017

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Summary 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 has been called “a master storyteller” by USA Today and “wildly imaginative” by Entertainment Weekly. Now, with All the Crooked Saints, she gives us the extraordinary story of an extraordinary family, a masterful tale of love, fear, darkness, and redemption.
ALA seems to be made for Maggie Stiefvater ARCs. I always manage to pick one up there. My last exerpience was no exception. I just went up to the publisher’s booth, asked for a copy, and was handed one like it was no big deal at all. Needless to say, it was a huge deal for me. I read the two books I brought with me to Chicago, and I needed another one to start on my journey back home and well, this was it.
Maggie Stiefvater is a brilliant writer. She’s most definitely in my top 10 favorite author’s list, maybe top 5. Maybe top 3. She writes amazing character-driven stories. I wasn’t sure how I’d take this one because of all the religious/miracle stuff going on in the plot. But, I should have realized that miracles were just another form of magic. And Stiefvater knows how to write magic really well.
For the skeptics out there, there’s actually not a ton of religion in here.  The Soria family performs and discusses miracles on a regular basis. They refer to themselves as saints. And they are certainly capable of producing some magical feets. But, other than one character who likes to pray and one religious pilgrim, the book doesn’t have a lot of God, Jesus, or even prayer in it at all.  It’s almost as though the performance of miracles is in itself its own religon or belief system.
Add Stiefvater’s lyrical prose to a dark desert setting, and then fill in some top-notch/crazy interesting characters (developed like no other characters can be), and well, you have this book in a nutshell. There’s a little bit of magic, a little bit of love, a little bit of darkness, and lots of family drama.
I read this one slowly, on purpose. I wanted to savor these beautiful words in a savoring kind of way. It also was a slow story with not a ton of plot until the end. So, it’s not for everyone. If you’re a character/setting reader, this is perfect. If you’re a plot-driven reader, you may want to skip this one.
A lot of the main characters (besides the 3 cousins) were adults. It’s not the typical YA novel. I might even feel comfortable shelving this book with adult fiction. There’s physical laborers, radio dj’s, arguing twin sisters, dicey married couples, and so many other interesting characters that I couldn’t even begin to attempt to list them all.
I loved the characters. I loved the setting. I loved the darkness to all the magic/miracles. To achieve a miracle, a pilgrim has to first tackle their worst nightmare. And there are some seriously twisted fears out there. And most of all, I loved the words. I give this one a 10/10.

1 comment:

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    - El