All the Crooked Saints
Here is a thing everyone wants:
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.
Maggie Stiefvater has been called “a master storyteller” by USA Today and “wildly imaginative” by Entertainment Weekly. Now, with All the Crooked Saints, she gives us the extraordinary story of an extraordinary family, a masterful tale of love, fear, darkness, and redemption.
There was a moment while reading this book where I realized that I was experiencing some truly special writing. I’ve read Maggie Stiefvater before, but if ever an artist creates a masterpiece, this is it for her.
The book has been categorized as YA, but I don’t think that’s right. This book is definitely an adult fiction title with fantasy elements. It very much reminded me of The Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz which, although told from the perspective of a teenager, is considered Canadian cultural fiction. I would argue that All the Crooked Saints should be labelled American cultural fiction, though maybe Americans would disagree.
The story Stiefvater weaves is incredibly powerful. My favourite parts were when you meet a new character and she writes them like so: “Here is a thing she wanted: blah blah blah. Here is a thing she feared: blah blah blah,” because she did it in such a way that usually the wants and fears complimented each other and you could read so far beyond the surface level of their wants and fears to get at the person they truly are at their core. I feel that the characters are so pure and at the same time so complicated, which is master storytelling at its finest. It is also told in third-person and in the way of old-fashioned folktales, which is so refreshing and unique. I’ve never read anything like it and I will always remember this book for Maggie’s oratory voice throughout her writing. Also, the “fantasy” element of this story is not magic or mythical creatures but suspended disbelief and visual metaphor very much in the vein of Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson.
If you read only one other book for the rest of the year, I recommend you pick up this one. It should not be missed.
Pub. Date: Oct. 10, 2017