You can hear a miracle a long way after dark.
Year: 1960's.
Place: Bicho Raro, Colorado.
The Soria family are no ordinary people, no sir. They have been blessed (or cursed?) with the special ability to perform miracles. But all these miracles do is unleash the darkness hidden in every pilgrim that comes in Bicho Raro asking for them. The pilgrim has to find a way to overcome it but needs to do it alone, without help, especially the help of the Sorias. But what happens if a Soria, a Saint, falls in love with a pilgrim?
Let's start tonight's review by saying that Maggie Stiefvater has a way with words that nobody has.
As I've already said many times before, I would gladly read her shopping list and I'm sure I would find a whole world of magic in between the words: milk and tomato sauce.
All her books are SO WEIRD and yet you keep reading them with that desire of belonging, that constant wish to BE a character inside her novels.
All the Crooked Saints was no different.
Although it was not my favourite Stiefvater book, I still LOVE the way she keeps pushing herself and us readers to other worlds and befriend new amazing characters and places we definitely want to live in (anyone fancies a trip to Colorado?)
If you didn't get it already, I LOVE Maggie Stiefvater. I love her weird worlds and fun adventures and amazing characters that always steal the scenes (and my heart).
But this book had flaws. (Yes, you can slap me now, I already have, writing this review. Multiple times.)
I don't know how to put it because finding flaws in a Stiefvater book is basically a crime but I have to be honest and say that this wasn't my favourite book she wrote. And that is fine.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it, it's a Stiefvater masterpiece, believe me, but I didn't actually fully loved it like I did way back in the Raven Boys era.

Everything lies in the plot, or better, in the lack of it. Although you know something about the book, you basically jump on it completely blind and stay this way throughout the first half of it. I loved the writing style but the fact that I wasn't really into the book from the very first page was a let-down for me. It was like you already knew the facts and the characters and I felt lost not knowing what was going on. The world Maggie Stiefvater created is amazing but very complex so I felt like I needed answers from the very beginning. I felt like I needed a miracle. And that miracle presented to me in the form of Joaquin Soria.

Maggie Stiefvater's books are very characters-driven. This one was no different. Even if the whole plot was very complex and really hard to get into from the beginning, the characters where A+
In every single Stiefvater book there's at least one character that steals my heart (Gansey, is that you?) and although I loved Beatriz, Joaquin stole the whole scene for me.
I did like Pete, in fact, if you ask me, he is THE PERFECT CHARACTER of any YA novel but Joaquin is THE PERFECT STIEFVATER CHARACTER. Hands down.
The only hard thing about these characters is that they were SO MANY!
I didn't need to know the whole Soria family. I forgot all their names and honestly, I could have lived just fine without three or four of them. Confusing. I felt like I was watching an episode of "Keeping up with the Kardashians" (I never watched it, really), all those names. No, thank you.
I know, I know, The Raven Boys books were filled with characters to build up a whole city but every one of them was serving a purpose and yes, I DO REMEMBER ALL OF THEIR NAMES. They were useful. All those Sorias? Not really.
But Joaquin. He was THE BEST. Whenever he is with his family and cousins, he's a very taugh guy, like nothing could break him, but whenever he is Diablo Diablo not only he changes his name but his whole personality, becoming more himself.

It's an enormous sky out there with a lot of stars above it and a lot of folks underneath it, and all of us, stars and human, are missing someone in the dark.
The fact that it was way too character-driven, also took something away from the plot. You completely forget about the whole plot until you reach the "wait a second" moment when you remember there's a story going on and you don't really care about black roses, who is cooking what or some beasts that they keep calling dogs. 
Don't get me wrong, again, I LOVE Maggie's way to describe the whole scenery and actually, this is what makes her books so interesting, but in this one, it was just too much. I feel like it was very descriptive when the story actually needed to get somewhere and it didn't because it got stuck in Marisita's dress, among the butterflies.

I know a lot of Maggie Stiefvater's fans will scream at me (rightfully so! I'm screaming at myself, too) but I can't pretend I felt a bit let down by this book that, although beautiful and weird and like nothing I've ever read before, was missing something. But right when I got to the bottom line, read the acknowledgments and closed the book, I realised something funny: I basically dog-eared the entire thing, put sticky-notes EVERYWHERE and that's because apart from the obvious flaws, All the Crooked Saints was a really good book. The writing was PHENOMANAL and the whole setting was just incredible. Although very character-driven, the main ones were SUPERB and the world building just so CREATIVE and NEW and yes, I'm very aware of the fact that I basically pointed out all the things I didn't like and that didn't work for me, but folks, this book was great and you should read it because it was so magical and weird and a proper Stiefvater book.

All the Crooked Saints was filled with magic but somehow, managed to feel human thanks to the not-so-hidden- messages floating around. The pilgrims with their obsession of living miserably with their darkness instead of finding a way out of it, a clear advice for all human readers to look inside of us and find the courage to face our own darkness.

"Do you have darkness inside you?"  "Yes," Tony said.  "And do you want to be rid of it?"  This is a harder question to answer than one might think at first blush. Almost no one would think it's correct to answer this question with a no, but the truth is that men and women often hate to be rid of the familiar, and sometimes our darkness is the thing we know the best. 

If you love stories about magic, love, family, faith and sacrifice, this book is definitely for you. 


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.

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