Book Review: "All The Crooked Saints" by Maggie Stiefvater

"All The Crooked Saints" Maggie Stiefvater

Maggie Stiefvater is one of my most recommended authors. Every time I mention that I`m a fan of magical realism elements, people recommend her books. Every time I say that I want to read unique and whimsical stories, people tell me to pick up "The Raven Boys" quartet. The problem with hyped authors is that a lot of times you end up disappointed. Sure, there`s queen Leigh Bardugo who can do no wrong. But there are a lot of other names that leave me unmoved. And no, I`m not going to mention Cassandra Clare again because you know of my complicated relationship with her books. I kinda accepted that they`re my guilty pleasure reads, even though I don`t rate them higher than 3 stars (I mean, the main characters suck -sorry, not sorry). And yeah, I know I mentioned her again, but her books are gold compared to the atrocity that was "Caraval" or the snooze-fest "Miss Peregrine`s Home for Peculiar Children". Anyway, what I was trying to say in a very long paragraph, is that I was scared to read "All The Crooked Saints". And I wish that I can say I had nothing no worry about, but it`s not the case.

I don`t consider myself an expert on all things magical realism, but I`ve read my fair share of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende. Haruki Murakami is my favourite authors, so I`m familiar with quirky and magical stories. "All The Crooked Saints" focuses on the Soria family, who`ve been performing miracles for generations. People from all over the world come to the ranch where the family lives, in order to have their darkness removed. What they don`t know is that a Saint can only reveal the darkness, not cure it. The Soria`s can interfere with the miracle at all or otherwise they will have to confront their own darkness.

Maggie`s writing is absolutely superb, and I was hooked from the first line. I was especially intrigued by the miracles, and the way darkness affects everyone differently. Some people take an animal shape, others are followed by rain, etc. Every time I read books in this genre, I`m fascinated by the way extraordinary elements seem to infiltrate basic, everyday aspects.

Like most magical realism books, there is not a big plot going around. When Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, brakes the rules and decides to help a pilgrim, his darkness takes over him. Despite the family warnings, his cousins Beatriz and Joaquin are desperate to find a solution to bring him home, even if they`ll be confronted with their darkness as well. Family relationships play a big role in the story, although there are some cute romances thrown in as well.

My main problem with this book is that I could not get invested in the story at all. There are so many characters, and somehow I did not care about either of them. The book changes POVs a lot, and it`s really hard to connect with anyone. Also, despite their quirks, the characters seem to lack real personalities. Daniel`s the Saint, Joaquin`s the DJ and Beatriz is the girl more interested in mechanics than feelings.

Overall, I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. Maggie has a mesmerizing writing style,
and her imagination knows no limits. But the book lacks substance. And someone to root for, or at least hope they get a happy ending. In the end, I gave this book 3/5 stars and although the reading experience was disappointing, I will definitely pick up "The Raven Boys".


  1. Maggie's writing is kind of hit-or-miss for me. The Raven Cycle is my favourite series of all time and I hope you like it. It's not quite magic realism, but it is wonderful. The first book was hard for me to get into and it's still my least favourite of the series, but it gets so much better from there. But I tried The Scorpio Races, and I put it down twice before attempting the audiobook. Even then when I managed to listen to the full book, I found I didn't connect to it at all and I was kind of disappointed.

    I have definitely heard mixed reviews for All the Crooked Saints. I'm glad you liked the writing style and the genre, but I'm sorry you couldn't connect to the characters. I hope you enjoy her other books if you choose to pick them up :)

  2. Great review. I struggled with this book as well for many of the same reasons you mentioned.


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