Book reviews · books · review

Book Review: All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I love Maggie Stiefvater.

“Here is a thing everyone wants: a miracle.
Here is a thing everyone fears: what it takes to get one. 

allthecrookedsaints

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.”

Here is a thing that I want: More Stiefvater fairy tales.

Here is a thing that I fear: Stiefvater running out of beautiful sentences.

There are two types of miracle, the first being one the Saint bestows. The second you must perform on yourself. The occupants of Bicho Raro consist of Saints and Pilgrims. The Soria family and those who come to find their miracles. The two do not mix, ever. To help a pilgrim after the first miracle has been performed is to bring the much larger Soria Darkness on yourself.

Bicho Raro is a little bit Miss Peregrine, the pilgrims who live there taking on physical attributes of their inner darkness until they can conjure the second miracle and cure themselves. One woman lives under a constant rain cloud, a set of twins are bound together by a double headed snake, a man grows to be a giant. However it certainly doesn’t have the cheeseyness that Miss Peregrine is abundant of, and no photos shoe horned in to make ‘plot’ either. In fact the plot of this book is more about the metaphor of facing your inner demons than the physical presence of said inner demons, and how can you find a way to help someone to help themselves. It’s also a wonderful exploration of the different meanings of the word love. There is the obvious, romantic love, which is of course present throughout, sometimes as new love, sometimes as newly married love and sometimes as old, different but still present love. But mostly, this is a story about family. The love of the cousins in this story, and what they would do for each other and what they are willing to do to protect their family is a central theme, something I don’t read enough of, and told with Maggie’s flare, it’s a rock and roll fairy tale that will stay with you for some time.

This may well be another gushing “I ❤ Stiefvater” post, her writing is just so beautiful i wanted to frame it and display it in my living room. The prose has an element of the fairy tale, it feels like you’re reading a Grimm or an Hans Christian Anderson, something old and prolific, something special. I literally just smiled all the way through and never wanted it to end.

 

“The stars stopped their laughing to watch her gallop beneath them,

and the moon covered its face with a cloud.”

4/5 ****

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