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All the Crooked Saints Hardcover – October 10, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Pilgrims travel to Bicho Raro, Colorado, for a miracle from the Sorias, a Mexican American family of saints who can "cure" people of their darkness. When the pilgrims' darkness manifests, they have to overcome it on their own. If the Sorias interfere, their own inner darkness takes over. In 1962, Bicho Raro is overrun by pilgrims who haven't been able to complete the miracle, and the current saint, David, has fallen in love with one of the pilgrims. He helps her and his darkness manifests. His younger cousins, Beatriz and Joaquin, are afraid to interfere because of the curse. But two visitors, including a handsome teen who catches Beatriz's interest, might be the key to helping the Sorias. The desert setting, intricate family dynamics, and the power of love and music resonate in this lush but often overwrought tale. Subplots distract from the core story and character development is often weighed down by the convoluted language. The rules of the family curse are laid down just to be broken and remade for the convenience of the plot. The influence of Latin American storytelling is woven throughout, and the family's ranch's name can be translated in Mexican Spanish as "Strange or Rare Insect." But it also has a more explicit translation in other countries. Also, the family is saved by the machinations of the ingenious (and possibly neuro-atypical) Beatriz, but she's inspired to do so because of her white love interest. VERDICT This title will be popular with the author's fans, but for readers interested in well-crafted YA magical realism, turn to Laura Ruby and Anna-Marie McLemore instead.—Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal
Praise for The Raven King:
*"Expect this truly one-of-a-kind series to come to a thundering close." ? Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Readers will snap up the final installment the second it's available." ? Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "The prose is crisp and dazzling and the dialogue positively crackles." ? School Library Journal, starred review
Top customer reviews
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While I never felt like we really get the chance to know the characters here like we might if the book were longer or a little more emotionally driven, I did find most of them likable, and I enjoyed reading about them. Beatriz especially was a surprising breath of fresh air; I would love to see more ya characters like her. The plot, though a bit meandering, comes to a fairly satisfying, if bizarre resolution (this is, I think, to be expected from Stiefvater's books, and it's one of the things I like about them). There's a little bit of magic everywhere in the book; it's interwoven with the setting in clever, fantastic ways. Overall, I enjoyed All the Crooked Saints more for its heart than anything else: it's a very kind, very gentle book, but it doesn't shy back from making it's point. We've all got a little darkness in us, and even though we may need help to deal with that, it's still, ultimately, up to us to make the decision to do so.
"I do need to applaud Stiefvater for her facility and love of language. Some of her sentences would just stop me in my tracks. "Pete was from Oklahoma and had only loneliness as his second language" just works for me on so many levels. It was the overall narrative that just lost me at times. It was too over the top and lacked a counterweight."
That sums it up perfectly for me. So many bits and pieces of her prose is mind grabbing. I love reading her for those nuggests but in "Saints" I, as many. just couldn't feel much for it. And this new term? Magical Realism? If I am saying it correctly... if this is what it's about, I will remember to pass it by. But all that said, I will always be checking for what she has written next. She is incredibly diverse and always worth checking out.
But! I stuck with it and I'm glad that I did, because the book has a wonderful atmosphere of tall tale or even Roald Dahl-style allegory. Although the book is relatively short, the character arcs spin beautifully and subtly into each other. Stiefvater is especially good at building compelling, atmospheric, fully-realized worlds and this one is no exception. It's lighter than the Raven series (which at its best was so engrossing that you could not put the books down to sleep or eat or converse with other humans) but I found that pretty refreshing, actually. Humorous, original, and fun.