I want to talk about a book that only came out in October and has been talked about non stop ever since!
All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater is a YA magical realism novel that follows the Sorias, a family of saints living in the dusty part of Colorado that regularly receive pilgrims and regularly perform miracles. Everything is going smoothly until the family’s current saint, Daniel, runs away and leaves his two cousins Beatriz and Joaquin in a difficult situation that may or may not result in his eternal doom. Stiefvater’s newest novel looks at the science behind magic, the impracticalities of falling in love when you have a hole in your heart and the importance of family.
Ever since I read the first paragraph of the Raven Boys I have had infinite respect for Stiefvater as a writer and ATCS could very well have damaged that respect- I’m glad it didn’t!
Despite possessing such a fantastical plot, All the Crooked Saints is really a book about people and the relationships they build and tear apart. This hit home to me very early on simply from my reading of the characters themselves. Each are uniquely displaced in their own worlds and yet each of them manage to come together and act as a unit when the time comes. This is what I mean when I say that this book is about family: It is as though through ATCS Stiefvater is trying to remind her young audience how important it is to respect and value your loved ones even at a time in life when everything seems to be about ones self. The conversation that is had in this book about parents and family is an important one that too many Young Adult books forget to include (why is it that no one seems to ever have any parents in YA? Amirite?).
The topic of miracles and sainthood is very dangerous to talk about when catering to a mass audience because it borders subjects that are personal, like religion. Stiefvater, in my opinion, balances the line between the spirituality behind Saints and the fictional attributes she gives them so perfectly that I don’t think it could ever be argued that she was attempting to encourage any religious sect through her narrative. Rather, I feel that ATCS is a book of whimsy that is constantly tip-toeing the line between reality and the otherworldly; It is like a experiment being carried out by the author in front of the readers eyes at how much magic she can find in our boring old world.
Lastly I want to talk about language. Stiefvater, similar to writers like Claire North and April Genevieve Tucholke, writes about people and events as though they are songs or poems. Her work feels like some sort of grimoire and you can see this massively in ATCS. Every chapter feels parabolical and every line feels ornate. This hyper sensitive and transcendental way of writing is something that always makes me love a book and is certainly something that I could never describe in just one blog post. You will just have to read one of these author’s books to find out what i’m talking about!
All the Crooked Saints was a massive delight to read and I thoroughly recommend it to all of you.
I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.
Keep on reading!
And thanks again Beth.