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All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

All the Crooked Saints (edition 2017)

by Maggie Stiefvater (Author)

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464251,994 (4)3
Title:All the Crooked Saints
Authors:Maggie Stiefvater (Author)
Info:Scholastic Press (2017), 288 pages
Collections:Already Read, Read but unowned
Tags:fantasy, young adult

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All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater



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I got this through the Amazon Vine program to review. I am a bit torn on this one. I generally am a big Stiefvater fan and, while this book was written in her trademark writing style, I had trouble staying interested in it.

The book is about a family that can perform miracles, but really they can only start the miracle and it's up to the pilgrim who seeks the miracle to finish it. After they start the miracle they must avoid the pilgrim who requested it at all costs, if they don't they can take on the pilgrim's darkness which will lead to the unleashing of their own darkness.

It's an interesting concept and the book is written in a beautifully ambiguous way. You never really know if these pilgrims are actually magically changed or if their strange transformations are more metaphorical in nature. The whole story is very heavy on magical realism.

The problem for me was that the story wandered a bit too much and jumped around too much. The jumping around distracted me and I had trouble staying engaged. In the end I just didn't care much about the characters and their miracles. I also wasn't in love with the desert setting either.

Overall while this is definitely written with Stiefvater's beautiful, and somewhat ambiguously dreamy, writing style this just wasn't a favorite for me. I had trouble staying engaged in the story and ending being kind of bored. I much preferred the Scorpio Races and The Raven Cycle. ( )
  krau0098 | Sep 17, 2017 |
It's the 1960's and Bicho Raro, Colorado is the home of the Soria family, who perform miracles for visiting pilgrims seeking to solve their problems. The miracle process takes place in two steps and many pilgrims are stuck in between them, seeing no way to move on. The family has their own problems while trying to provide housing and food to the pilgrims with bizarre afflictions. Their personal and professional lives are at a stand still and they are fast losing hope, but three cousins, analytical Beatriz, Daniel the Saint of Bicho Raro, and Joaquin AKA rogue DJ Diablo Diablo, hold the potential to make a miracle of their own.

All the Crooked Saints is a book that immersed me in its world from its vibrant cast of characters to the nonchalant magic to the unique cadence of Stiefvater's charming writing. When each character is introduced, the thing they want and the thing they fear are always stated planely. It gets to the heart of the character quickly. The main three cousins are as close as siblings but very different from each other. Beatriz considers herself devoid of emotion because she shares her father's clinical nature and subdued affect. Daniel feels tremendous pressure as the Saint and has been ignoring his emotions for a while. Joaquin is the most wild of the bunch and sets up his rogue radio station on his own, but keeps his illicit dream from everyone else. Beatriz's parents are at a standstill because both process their emotions differently in a way that pushes the other away. They are all cut off in some way, much like their charges.

The pilgrims have come to solve a problem they have not been able to do themselves. The first step of the miracle is the physical manifestation of their darkness. For one woman named Marisita, it's being covered in butterflies and crying so much that they can't fly away. For another, it's being a literal giant, always under scrutiny by others. For another, it's a snake binding her to her sister that only tightens if they try to get away. The family isn't allowed to directly help with their problems or their own darkness will take them over, even worse, which leaves a great many staying in at the house for months. The Soria's don't ever even talk to them, ceasing to even see them as people after a while. The problem comes in when Daniel tries to help Marisita and then is consumed by his own darkness. The way the Soria's have traditionally done things hasn't worked and is finally breaking down, giving the cousins an opportunity to find a new way.

I absolutely love this book. The writing puts magic in the real world as if it's always been there and definitely shows the influence of magical realism. Each character gives us a glimpse into their past without bogging down the plot at all. I loved viewing the world through each characters eyes and seeing beauty in something I ordinarily would not. For instance, Pete falls in love with the desert when I think it's kind of a boring, torturous place to be. I wish this book weren't a stand alone so I could return to the world, but I can see that the story is nicely finished. There is controversy around All the Crooked Saints as Maggie Stiefvater is a white author writing about Mexican culture. I don't see insensitivity or inaccuracies in the book. I felt that there were differing and dynamic views of the characters. People should read the book before labelling it problematic or giving it a low rating. All the Crooked Saints is a beautiful, whimsical novel that shows the importance of communication, connection, and relationships. ( )
  titania86 | Sep 4, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545930804, Hardcover)

Saints. Miracles. Family. Romance. Death. Redemption.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 10 Mar 2017 05:56:52 -0500)

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