“But I, Diablo Diablo, think that if we’re all out there missing someone, that means that we’re all really together on that one note, aren’t we? So none of us are really alone as long as we’re lonely.”
Basically: The Soria family has been helping travellers make peace with their darkness for as long as they can remember, but when their current Saint, Daniel Soria, succumbs to his own darkness, everyone in the town will need to face both what they want and what they fear in Maggie Stiefvater’s All the Crooked Saints.
Maggie Stiefvater begins her first stand alone novel since 2011 by pulling us straight into the extraordinary world of the three Soria cousins. The youngest is moonlight radio DJ Joaquin, who dreams of leaving his small desert town for big lights. Next is Beatriz, who loves solving puzzles but fears looking inward to solve the puzzle of herself. And then there’s Daniel Soria, the eldest cousin and the orphaned Saint of Bicho Raro. He’s tasked with helping pilgrims, people who travel to Bicho Raro specifically to see the Saint, looking for a magical solution to defeat their inner darkness. Things take an interesting turn, however, when Daniel helps a pilgrim he has fallen in love with.
This novel is interesting because it turns the magical realism genre on its head. All the Crooked Saints does not simply feel like a tale that has magical things in a worldly location, but is so detailed and mystical that it feels as if the desert actually is part of this world. Stiefvater is exceptional at creating characters and develops Bicho Raro, Colorado as if it is another character we can’t help falling in love with. She also pushes the boundaries of magical realism by blending culture, music, and religion to create an entirely unique mythology. We were amazed as owls filled the sky, rabid for the darkness of pilgrims, and when Joaquin’s music worked in ways that he never expected.
All The Crooked Saints follows the wants and fears of the people of Bicho Raro in a way that asks them why they are living in the past and how they can move toward the future. This novel shows that your darkness is not something you should fear, but something you must stop holding onto in order discover yourself, and find the things that you long for.
Read It, Get The Cliffnotes, Wait For The Movie: Read it! Stiefvater has a way of making you fall in love with places you’ve never been and all the new people she writes for you to meet.