I came upon Maggie Stiefvater with the books Lament and Ballad, they were interesting and I decided to try Scorpio Races when it first came out, it didn’t have the same effect that the first two had had, so I didn’t go crazy about her books.
However, All The Crooked Saints popped up on my radar as it touches on Mexico and the culture of saints and miracles and a few other things, and as a Mexican I was curious to see how it would be portrayed.
All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
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.
Let me start with saying that this does not bother me about how Mexican culture is displayed. I did object to a “grammatical error” Daniel makes that was artistic license so that it could sound to what the author wanted. And in all honesty at times it was tiring to read the description of food and everything that made them very Mexican rather than American. It felt like it was necessary to make it stand out and I think the story didn’t need extra information to make it work.
On the other hand I was absolutely pleased with the central message of the book, even if it took some digging to get to it. It was interesting to see the Sorias and the pilgrims figure out how to get to their second miracle and get out of that stuck phase. And the family dynamics were also interesting to read, it felt very familiar to me, with all the hidden drama and just the way they were.
However, the pace was a little slow for me and I struggled for the first few chapters, until I finally got to where things start happening. So that’s why it has a 3 fox rating, it lacked the something to make it amazing but I liked it despite some issues.
I don’t have any books in English I can recommend that are similar to this, but reading any good hispanic author works. Carlos Luis Zafón, Isabel Allende, Gabriel García Márquez, etc. Also, if you’re a fan of Maggie’s writing, do read this, it will be interesting. And if you are curious about this aspect of life and her writing, you can also read this, just don’t expect a fast paced story. This is a slow book with a lot of internal struggles rather than external action (there is some of that too).
If you’d like to read the book, you can find it here.
Disclaimer: There is an Amazon Associates link, but if you choose to use them and buy from them, know that you’re just helping me buy more books and feed my reading needs. Book synopsis is from Good Reads.