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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

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, …

All the Crooked Saints

by Maggie Stiefvater

Overall Book Review:

Moody and a little bit morbid, master of magical realism, author Maggie Stiefvater once again delivers in her realm of expertise, this time in the form of sainthood and miracles in All The Crooked Saints. 

I was looking for a miracle, but I got a story instead, and sometimes those are the same thing.” 

It’s 1962, and it’s here in the Colorado desert that third person narrative peruses the lives of the inhabitants of the Bicho Raro ranch which consists of the Sorias family— the saints, who perform miracles to  pilgrims—those who travel to them to have their darkness manifested and dispelled. It’s a simple plot that’s made extravagant by the author’s lovely words that paint a vivid picture of familial love, bonds that surpass separation, and the wonder of self-discovery. 

Characters abound as characteristic traits are given to the place, the problems, and then the people. There’s no real time to get attached to any one person as the prose is purposeful in being poetic, and that is where the romance takes place.

“Lightning and love are created in very similar ways. There is some debate over how both lightning and love form, but most experts agree that both require the presence of complementary opposites. A towering thundercloud is full of opposites: ice and positive charge at its uppermost point, water and negative change at its base. In electricity and in love, opposites attract, and so as these opposites begin to interact, an electrical field develops. In a cloud, this field eventually grows so powerful that it must burst from the cloud in the form of lightning, visible from miles away. It is essentially the same in a love affair.”

Even if your predisposition is not to like Maggie’s work, I mean not even a little, give heed, bestow All The Crooked Saints a chance. It has all the greatness of her previous works– the feels of Shiver, and the paranormal fantasy of The Raven Cycle, without the teenage angst of either.  It is quite a charmer, to say the least. 

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  2 Religious exclamations; 7 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 1 scatological word; 1 anatomical term.

Violence/Gore:  A few reports of accidental injuries, murder(s), and threats; teen inflicts property damage; a few humorous, violent situations; illegal animal fighting, mention of injured animals. 

Sex/Nudity:  Husband and wife kiss; news headline contains sexual reference; (2) reference(s) to nudity; few scenes in which love is admitted or discussed; mention of character being a lesbian; sexual reference to breeding of animals; inference of character’s sexual arousal; extended scene (about 1 page) couple dance, embrace and share a kiss.

Mature Subject Matter:

Paranormal events.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

References to drugs and alcohol; adult(s) use drugs, tobacco and or alcohol; report of a drunk teenager.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I appreciate books of all genres, but my main squeeze is fiction. Depending on my mood it could be romance or suspense; lately I’ve been courting fantasy. When I don’t have my nose in a book, I am locating tasty paleo recipes, writing in-coherent poetry, and crafting with paper.