All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Summary from Goodreads:
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 have been a Maggie Stiefvater fan ever since I read Shiver about 8 years ago. I know I have read all of her novels, there are some short stories I have not read, but I’m not a short story reader. So I was highly anticipating this newest book. I don’t think I read any synopsis about it before I curled up with it, so I had no preconceived notion of what it was about. This may or may not have been a good thing.
I think overall I liked the book? I can’t really decide. It felt very different from what she has written before. Not that I think all of a writer’s books should be exactly alike, but the style of this book is unlike any of her others. The overall plot was well done, but I think my main issue was that there were too many characters and I struggled with getting to know any of them well enough to like or dislike them. In fact a week later, I’m struggling to come up with anything to say about any of them, and even some of the more prevalent ones I would have a hard time coming up with their names. Everything just sort of runs together. I guess this is a plot driven story rather than character driven, which is ok, just not my preference.
The setting of the story was quite beautiful. I’ve never been to Colorado, but I have spent time in many different desert settings, and the high desert is my favorite. Maggie’s writing certainly does it justice. It really is beautiful, especially the sunsets and the night time descriptions. I also liked the addition of the owls and their part in the story. The pirate radio storyline was interesting as well and how it was tied up in the miracles.
I think this is a book that I may need to reread at some point to really understand it. I kept feeling like I was missing something as I was reading it, several times I went back a page or two because I was like “wait, what??” If you have never read anything by Maggie Stiefvater before, don’t start with this one. Start with one of her older novels, such as Shiver or Lament, you will get a better feel for her overall style and brilliance as a storyteller.