All the Crooked Saints
Narrator: Thom Rivera
Length: 9 hours & 10 minutes
Genres: Fiction, Young-adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Take a Peek: Goodreads | Overdrive | Audible | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Story Rating: 2.5 Stars
Performance Rating: 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
This review is not going to be constructive. I’m just warning you now. Really hoping Maggie Stiefvater never actually sees this because, honestly, it’s just going to be a jumbled mess of thoughts.
If you take a peek at my review archive, it’s pretty obvious that I’ve kind of been on a Maggie Stievater bender recently. After my personal distaste for Shiver, I gravitated away from her work for years, but now that I’ve read the brilliance that is “The Raven Cycle” I can’t seem to read her books fast enough. All four Raven Cycle books were amazing and the Scorpio Races just recently became a new favorite, so this got bumped to the top of my list when it came out.
I have to admit, I’m pretty conflicted about this one. A big part of me wanted to love this so badly, but now that it’s over I’m a little disappointed.
This book is about Beatriz Soria. It’s actually a story about all of the Sorias, but her most of all.
Deep in the deserts of Colorado is a town called Bicho Raro where Beatriz’s family lives and they deal in miracles. If someone comes along that’s brave enough to ask, they will give them one. The only problem is that most people don’t realize getting a miracle isn’t instantaneous, you have to work for it. As a result, their home functions more as a long-term hotel, housing those “pilgrims” that are halfway through the process. What makes it even more complicated is that none of the Sorias are allowed to help them, or the consequences could be dire.
Beatriz, like all her family, has the ability to give miracles to others, but she prefers not to. That responsibility falls mostly on her cousin Daniel who is the most saintly of them all. In her spare time, Beatriz and Daniel help their cousin Joaquin put on a little radio show for fun that’s broadcast out of the family’s box truck. Their lives have been constant and steady for years, but all that changes when Tony and Pete come along. Tony is looking for a miracle. Pete is looking for work. Both are seemingly normal things for the Sorias, but their presence changes everything and turns the whole family upside down.
Before writing this, I poked around some of the other Goodreads reviews and it’s obvious that I’m in the minority over here. It seems like mostly everyone loved this book, so maybe this was just me, but I was SO BORED during the first half. I found myself drifting in and out of the story constantly and the rewind button was used a good 700 times. It’s so puzzling too because I feel like all the elements are there. I really loved the writing (as always), characters, setting and premise, but something about it just fell flat for me. The Raven Cycle series was so vibrant and saturated with amazing magic, and this just felt like a watered down version to me.
Plus, I was very confused about how the miracles worked for a long while. I totally understand that Maggie Stievater did this on purpose. She gave us a few pieces of the puzzle at a time to slowly unravel the mystery, much like she did with elements of “The Raven Cycle.” But for some reason, I went in with an expectation of what a “miracle” would be (this is totally my own fault), which definitely didn’t line up with the book. Every time I thought I understood how the magic worked, more information was revealed that forced me to completely reset my thoughts.
Click the link below for minor spoilers
[spoiler]Going into this I always thought of a miracle as something quick and fantastical, like someone magically being cured of a disease. This kind of thinking is a little cliché of me, but that’s what I assumed. Cut to us being introduced to the unusual pilgrims. To say I was thrown off is an understatement.
Then I thought maybe they got their miracles at a price. Yes you get your miracle, but in exchange you have to live out the rest of your days with a foot coming out of your head or something. But then why would they all be living there? If they already received their miracle wouldn’t they go home?? And then there was all that talk about bringing out your inner darkness and I was so confused.
Finally about a third of the way through, the rules of the magic are spelled out for us, which was a relief. It felt like I could finally focus on the story after that. I like the idea of the pilgrims needing to work through their oddity to learn their important message, but it felt like a lot of work to get there.[/spoiler]
It also took me an absurdly long time to realize this was set in the 60’s. Maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention?? But there’s a part where someone makes a Lassie joke and Stiefvater explains that this was a very popular and relevant show in the 1960’s and I was like…
I had been thinking it was set in present day, so after this revelation my brain had to reset itself. It was a different time with a different culture and different beliefs that painted everything in a new light.
After a rocky start, I finally started getting into the story about halfway through and I really loved the second half! Once I finally understood what was actually going on, I could lose myself in it and by the end I actually felt myself wanting more. I spent so much time in the beginning trying to sort everything out that the ending felt quick. But it was so nice watching the personal journey each character had to go through. I feel like this is one of the rare times I was really invested in the fate of each character rather than just one or two favorites.
Also, I really really really love the premise of this. I love the concept of miracles being real and attainable, and I loved that the Sorias had the ability to give them. Plus, watching all the pilgrims work through their miracles inspires me to look into my own “darkness” and do a little soul searching of my own.
And I just can’t write this without mentioning Thom Rivera’s great performance. He was AMAZING and the perfect person to read this novel. He gave each character so much life and individuality. I really loved it and hope to hear him in other audiobooks!!
Meh. To be completely honest, I probably won’t be recommending this to anyone because I didn’t personally care for it. But it wasn’t a terrible book and it has a really great message.
TALK TO ME
Have you read this book yet? What did you think??
What other Maggie Stievater books are you swooning over?
Get hit with any miracles lately? 😂
Holler at me in the comments!!