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All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater - Review

Monday, January 28, 2019

Where did I get it? The library! I hadn't even heard of it, it just caught my eye because it was by Maggie. 

What's it about? It's set in the Colorado desert in 1962. There, one night, we meet three cousins, and their pirate radio station. The cousins are all in the Soria family; the Sorias left Mexico and set up a small settlement, Bicho Raro, in Colorado. There, the Saint of Bicho Raro performs miracles for the pilgrims who arrive to the village. But, the miracles never quite work out how the pilgrims think they will, making a motley crew living in the village. The Sorias can't talk to the pilgrims for fear of 'interfering' with their miracles, something which they've done in the past and which has had terrible consequences. 

Anyway, the cousins. There's Daniel, who is the current Saint of Bicho Raro because he has a lot of magic, I think? He seems pretty sick of pilgrims and performing miracles, to be honest. There's Joaquin, who seems quite desperate to get out of Bicho Raro and out of Colorado completely; he looks east for his fashion inspiration. He is the host of the radio show the cousins are putting it, under his alter ego name Diablo Diablo. Lastly there's Beatriz, second choice for Saint, but who is said to have no feelings, and who is quite worried about her parents, who are falling apart. 

Into the village arrive Tony and Pete. Tony is a DJ who needs a miracle, and Pete is a high school graduate who has been promised a truck in Bicho Raro and who is hitchhiking there. Tony gets his miracle, which backfires, and Pete is set to work. 

It took me a week to read this book, and it isn't that I didn't like it, but I found it quite dense. It skipped about a bit in point of view, which I find odd and somewhat confusing. I liked Daniel and Beatriz and some of the pilgrims, but not everyone. It's filled with Maggie's usual mix of realism and magic, which I liked. I wish we'd seen more of Beatriz's personality, and less history, but that's possibly just personal preference. It's a good book. 

What age range is it for? 14+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, they're all Mexican Americans, except maybe Pete and some of the pilgrims? I think Maggie did a good job of incorporating this folklore, but I appreciate she is white and so am I. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes 

Is there any sex stuff? No 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, it's not graphic

Are there swear words? No 

What criticisms do I have? I just.... I didn't love it. I don't think it went deep enough. I'd have liked one storyline to follow instead of lots. 

Would I recommend the book? Yes 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? Library deadlines

What other books is it like? Maggie's other books!

How many stars? Seven out of ten 

Where is the book going now? Back to the library... I've already had to renew it once as I didn't get to it over Christmas!

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