TITLE: All The Crooked Saints
AUTHOR: Maggie Stiefvater
ABOUT: 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: I got this in ARC form from my dear CP and all around lovely woman Kelly ^_^
This is gonna be a tough one to review, like. Really.
Before I started my review I read some on Goodreads, particularly the 2* ones, and I have to say I can see their point re: manic pixie dream girls, weird phrases, things that don’t make sense. I get it. While I adored the writing there were some things I could have done without. And I’m not entirely blind to the anger from some of the Latinx community on Twitter about the subject matter or treatment of their language.
While I don’t know enough about those issues to contribute meaningfully to that particular conversation, I recognise many people found the concept of this problematic. I can see why, since it was a very Latinx-centric book written by a non-Latinx author, and it had a sort of “People of Colour As Magical Beings” trope. It may have worked just as well without the Latinx history placed in it, so I’m not sure how that contributed, and I believe it would have held a much richer tone if written by an actual Latinx author — however I can’t deny I still love Stiefvater’s writing and this was a delightfully weird, eccentric story which gave me all the Big Fish vibes.
I read this as though I were directing the adaptation, because it’s the sort of creepy, atmospheric story I would love to visually portray myself, if not write like in the future. I saw everything like a vivid picture in my mind with The Mood clear on the page. Everything was vivid, and while I admit I skipped some of the descriptors (I had an ARC, so it wasn’t really the finished product – not sure if anything majorly changed) and history, I was still bowled over.
One thing I noticed with Stiefvater is that her books take me about 70-100 pages to understand the rhythm. Then I get into it. But until then I tend to read 40 pages, put it down and read an ‘easier’ book, then come back to it later.
As for the characters, some of them weren’t really needed IMO but I definitely prefer Beatriz to Blue, and she is now one of my favourite literary characters. She was practical, and reasonable, and had a lot of emotions she had to bury because everyone told her she was practical with no emotions – so she wanted to fit into that expectation. And I get that, having been told that for a while when I was younger by others, simply because I didn’t show them all openly on the surface.
While a lot of the emotional stuff was surface level and it didn’t go deep as I wanted I still appreciate the craft that was there, and the atmosphere really made it up for me. I will remember this book for the atmosphere and visuals of the place, and Beatriz, the rest may fade a little.