Review: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: October 10th 2017

Published By: Scholastic

Goodreads: Add it to your reading list

Purchase: Booktopia     The Book Depository

Rating: 3 out of 5

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: Maggie and miracles, now here was a book to get excited about. I mean, what was not to love about the prospect of this book? It was Maggie (and I love her writing), a beautiful cover (which I am always a sucker for) and it is a standalone (always a welcome touch).

I will admit I was very excited about this book. I do love Maggie, and the prospect of another standalone was exciting – afterall, look at the awesomeness that was The Scorpio Races! This book was always going to be an auto-read for me

So it is with a heavy heart that I say, I didn’t fall in love with this book.

I know.

Trust me, it hurts me more to say it than it does for you to hear it.

Let me start off by saying that I didn’t dislike it. I just didn’t love it (like I was expecting). I just felt that there was something lacking in this book. I don’t want to say that it wasn’t very “Maggie” because who knows, this could be the most “Maggie” book out there. But I didn’t connect to it like I normally do with Maggie’s books. And although there were definitely touches of Maggie (the person) in there, I just didn’t’ get the complete Maggie (the writer) vibe. To me, the writing was what I call somewhat Maggie, not quite as poetic as some of her other work, and the story didn’t capture my heart like her other works.

This book is very different from her other novels, which may be a bonus for some!  It may just be that I love what I have come to expect from Maggie, which is why this one didn’t totally capture my heart.

The magical elements in this story are a major factor, and I actually really liked it. I enjoyed the fact that there are benefits and sacrifices to miracles, and that anyone who gets granted a miracle does not get a “quick fix” (far from it actually). The story is of course does contain some of Maggie’s legendary imagery, some craziness and her unique lyrical writing – but it is slow to get into and it is just lacking in places (for me).

The story is told in an omniscient third person narrative, which follows multiple POVs. This style of storytelling is something that I could have really gotten into, but rather than creating mystery and intrigues, I found it distracted from the story. This style did not allow me to get into someone’s story, to really connect with the characters. The jumping around from story to story can get a little confusing, but I found it more distracting than anything.

The story is about miracles, a family of saints, pilgrims and a boy who just wants a truck. There is a great mix of characters, who each have their own demons and desires, and in all honesty, if I had of gotten more of some of these characters I think I would have loved them. Along the way, you get to know the thing each characters wants most, and the thing they fear the most – and I loved this aspect, as these are secrets that could allow you to really understand them – but I felt that besides these secrets, there wasn’t enough substance to them for me to be able to connect. Maybe that is due to the way the story was told, maybe it was because it is a standalone book and there are so many characters – whatever it was, I just wanted something a little more.

As I said, I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t dislike it either – but I still recommend everyone read it. I think this is a very interesting one for fans and non-fans of Maggie alike. For fans of Maggie this is a new style from a beloved author – one that allows you to see another side to her storytelling. For non-fans, it is a style different from her other books, which may allow you to enjoy her storytelling in another way. I think everyone should give this one a go, just for the uniqueness of it and to see if how that fits with your taste.

What do you think?

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