All The Crooked Saints
By Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: October 2017
Bang Bang Rating:
There’s been some talk on Goodreads about how racist Crooked Saints is and although I’m not Mexican, I don’t think it was racist or racially insensitive. As a Black person, I think a book is racially insensitive when the characters are stereotypes. Blacks and Mexicans have been stereotyped as lazy, gangsters, ghetto, ignorant, savage, poor, etc. When characters are brown and take on these attributes, it’s racially insensitive especially when the author is not the race they are stereotyping.
With that being said, onto the review of All the Crooked Saints.
The Soria’s from Mexico are a family of saints where people come from all over looking for them for a miracle. After they were run out of Mexico for their peculiarity, they settle in Bicho Raro Colorado in 1960. In this character driven plot, Joaquin, Beatriz, and Daniel are cousins and Daniel is the current saint. Joaquin is an aspiring radio DJ and he and Beatriz have created an illegal radio station where Diablo Diablo, Joaquin’s DJ name, “spins” contemporary music. Beatriz is an engineer, a thinker, and devoid of feelings. Daniel was a troubled child turned saint.
People seek out Daniel for a miracle. They are troubled and Daniel helps them by essentially making the pilgrims literally wear their problems on their sleeves. It is up to the pilgrim to figure out how to solve their own problems and all the pilgrims live nearby the Soria’s until they can resolve their issues and move on. The Soria family is forbidden to help the pilgrims and will be plagued by their own darkness if they interfere. There are about six pilgrims featured in the novel with varied demons that range from possessing a coyote’s head on a human priest to being a ten foot giant. Daniel violates the don’t-get-involved rule and runs away for fear of bringing darkness to the Soria family.
Once again remember that Saints is COMPLETELY character driven so don’t expect a fast moving high adventure plot.
I really enjoyed Crooked Saints, not as much as Raven Cycle, but I liked it a lot. I prefer a character driven plot and I thought all the characters (there were a lot of characters) were extremely well developed and likable. Beatriz is my favorite character because she’s complex and logical. This is a wonderful book for teen and adult book clubs because of all the themes and symbolism. EVERYTHING Stiefvater writes is significant and essential to the plot and that’s why I love her writing. Long after you’ve finished the novel, you get to look up meanings of owls and black roses and coyotes roosters. I like when an author challenges the reader to think and research and discuss and this is why Stiefvater is one of my favorite authors. I can’t say too much because it’s spoilerish so to see the spoilers, click here.
For me to give a book five stars, I have to have an OMG moment and didn’t have one with Saints. I was also a bit bummed by the ending.
After discussing All The Crooked Saints with my coworker/copodcaster and reread the ending, I did have an OMG moment so I changed my rating to 5 stars.
Spoiler Edition Podcast