|Published: October 10, 2017 by Scholastic|
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.
**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at ALA in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. *****
I'm a huge fan of Maggie Steifvater and her style of writing so when I heard she was writing a book that is more of a classic magical realism story I was excited to read. And while this isn't my favorite of her books, it was still really good.
For one thing it had that classic Maggie style. If you have read any of her books you know what I'm talking about but if you haven't, I'm not sure I could explain. Maggie just has this style all her own. Her writing is beautiful and lyrical but it also has this atmospheric and cinematic quality. That was definitely on full display in this book. As usual, her writing drew me in and kept me enthralled.
The best example of this is with the world building. Maggie has a very distinct way in which she builds and develops a world. I think I enjoy her so much because she's not one for exposition. Sure, she explains things but she does it in a way where you get the information slowly throughout the book. It can be incredibly confusing at first because you have no idea what is happening but as you start to learn more you become more and more intrigued. It's a style that works really well for me and it's one that I think works really well for this kind of book. It somehow made the magical realism feel more magical and more real at the same time. And seriously, there was so much magic here. The miracles were so unique and Maggie's writing made them all the more interesting.
A lot of the uniqueness and magic of the book also came from the characters. This is a book that is full of a quirky cast of characters. It's a bit of a cliche to have a small town setting with strange and quirky characters but it kind of worked here with the premise. The book was full of pilgrims who had some sort of weird miracle happen to them and they couldn't leave. They were definitely interesting but I think I would have liked to spend a little more time getting to know them. Many of them were just there and even the ones that did have a little bigger role were still just kind of there. I usually love Maggie's characterizations but I think here it fell a little flat. There were a few exceptions though. Tony was really interesting and he was developed well, so was Marisita. They had some of the biggest roles of the secondary characters and so you got to know them better which was good. I also really enjoyed Pete. I'm not sure if he was a secondary character or a main character but he may have been my favorite. He was the easiest character to like and maybe the one I connected with the most. Although I did like all the characters more than I thought I did now that I'm done reading.
As for the main characters, sale goes for them. I liked them much more than I originally thought I did. They were interesting and likable. Maggie has this way of making books character-driven with a subtle coming of age story. That's how I would absolutely describe this book. So much of the plot and characterizations were focus on the development of Beatriz and Daniel. Because of this we got to know them both pretty well throughout the book and I was definitely invested in them getting what they wanted. I did like them both and I think they had good development throughout the book but the plot was still missing something for me. I'm not sure what, but it just wasn't my favorite.
On the whole, All the Crooked Saints was a good read. It had that classic Maggie style with an atmospheric and engaging setting, likable characters, and a character-driven plot with a subtle coming of age story. It didn't blow me away but I still really enjoyed it.
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you like Maggie's work than I would definitely recommend her latest to. She has a style all her own so if you are looking for a unique and engaging magical realism read with a subtle coming of age story then pick this one up.
Have you read All the Crooked Saints? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!