ARC Review: All the Crooked Saints

ARC Review:  All the Crooked SaintsAll the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Published by Scholastic Press on October 10th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 320

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via a Blog Giveaway. All opinions are my own.


All the Crooked Saints was my first time reading a Maggie Stiefvater novel so I wasn’t at all sure what to expect.  I’ve read tons of rave reviews about The Scorpio Races and The Raven Cycle though so I expected it to be a fantastic read.  All the Crooked Saints was actually one of my most anticipated fall reads because the synopsis just sounded so unique and intriguing.  With all of that said, it’s safe to say I really wanted to love this book.  While I definitely liked All the Crooked Saints, I unfortunately can’t say that I loved it.  It was a good, solid read with a focus on family that I really liked, but overall it just didn’t blow me away like I hoped it would.

All the Crooked Saints takes place in Bicho Raro, Colorado, which is shrouded in an atmosphere of dark saints, forbidden love, and so much more.  The novel follows the Soria family, a family where each of the members has the special ability to act as Saints and perform unusual miracles.  These miracles have become well known enough that pilgrims travel from all around in hopes of securing a miracle of their own from the Sorias to rid themselves of the darkness in their lives.  What they don’t know is that the miracles are two-fold, the Saint performs the first part of their miracle, which reveals their inner darkness, but then it’s up to the one receiving the miracle to somehow perform a second miracle, which actually rids them of that darkness once and for all.  What has started to happen over the years, however, is that people are having a harder and harder time figuring out the second miracle so the Soria household has started to accumulate an assortment of pilgrims that are caught in limbo between the first and second miracles.

Why can’t they just return to their lives and wait for the second miracle?  Well, because the darkness that is revealed by the first miracle sometimes manifests itself in strange ways.  For example, there is a young woman named Marisita who is wandering around with basically a rain cloud over her head.  It just rains on her all the time – when she sleeps, when she cooks, whatever. There’s also a man walking around that has the head of an animal and the body of a human. Needless to say, these pilgrims would prefer to hide out until their second miracle has been sorted.

So, why can’t the Sorias help them?  Well, that’s the catch.  If the Sorias interfere with any of the pilgrims, they unleash darkness on themselves and end up in exactly the same predicament as the pilgrims, if not worse.  Apparently the Soria darkness can be pretty dangerous and unpredictable when unleashed.

Although the pilgrims and their miracles are definitely a focus of the story, the heart of All the Crooked Saints truly centers around three Soria cousins — Beatriz, Daniel, and Joaquin — and the journey they are all forced to take when Daniel accidentally unleashes his own darkness and flees Bicho Raro to protect his family from it.  As determined as he is to keep them safe from him, they are equally determined to help him by figuring out a way around the rule that says they cannot help to get rid of the darkness. Will they succeed or will Daniel be lost to them forever?


Even though this was only an okay read for me, there were still several things about the book that I really did enjoy.  I really enjoyed Stiefvater’s three main characters, the Soria cousins. The relationship between the three cousins was probably my favorite part.  Beatriz believes that she has no feelings and therefore throws herself into science, technology, and examining her own thoughts.  She’s the brains of their operation and has helped Joaquin, who I’d call the Dreamer of the group, try to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a disc jockey.  She has built him an illegal radio station that they run out of the back of a box truck in the desert, and he spins records at night and calls himself Diablo Diablo.  Daniel is the designated saint of the group and so his focus is to grant miracles to all of the pilgrims who come to Bicho Raro.  I just loved each of their personalities.  They were all so complex, unique, and just really likable.  I especially enjoyed reading about how loyal they were to each other and how they were willing to risk everything to try to save Daniel.  Even though they were just cousins, the bond they shared felt like they were truly siblings.

I also enjoyed the overall plot of the story.  Sometimes magical realism is hit and miss for me but I liked how she incorporated it into this story and the way the various miracles manifested themselves with each of the pilgrims.  I liked the direction the story took when we move from showing how the Sorias create these miracles to what happens when they break one of their own rules and bring the darkness down onto themselves.

Lastly, I also thought Stiefvater’s writing was gorgeous, very lyrical and filled with vivid imagery.  Even though this story was just a ‘like’ for me instead of a ‘love,’ I wouldn’t hesitate to try one of her other series.


Slow pacing was an issue for me while reading All the Crooked Saints.  The story thankfully picked up a bit once Daniel got into trouble, but for the most part, it was just a slow read for me.

I also had some trouble keeping track of all of the characters. Between the various pilgrims, the three cousins, and all of the other assorted Soria family members, there were just a lot of people to keep straight.  With so many characters, it also made it harder for me to really connect with any of them as much as I would have liked to.  As I said above, I really liked Beatriz, Joaquin, and Daniel, but I still didn’t feel especially close to them because so many other characters were competing for my attention.


All the Crooked Saints is a book about love, family, miracles, darkness, and how to overcome that darkness.  Even though I had some issues with the story, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who enjoys magical realism or who just enjoys books that focus on family and the trials they go through together. I would also, of course, recommend it to Stiefvater fans.




Here is a thing everyone wants: A miracle.

Here is a thing everyone fears: What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

Maggie Stiefvater has been called “a master storyteller” by USA Today and “wildly imaginative” by Entertainment Weekly. Now, with All the Crooked Saints, she gives us the extraordinary story of an extraordinary family, a masterful tale of love, fear, darkness, and redemption.


About Maggie Stiefvater

New York Times bestselling author of The Shiver Trilogy, The Raven Cycle, and The Scorpio Races. Artist. Driver of things with wheels. Avid reader.

All of Maggie Stiefvater’s life decisions have been based around her inability to be gainfully employed. Talking to yourself, staring into space, and coming to work in your pajamas are frowned upon when you’re a waitress, calligraphy instructor, or technical editor (all of which she’s tried), but are highly prized traits in novelists and artists. She’s made her living as one or the other since she was 22. She now lives an eccentric life in the middle of nowhere, Virginia with her charmingly straight-laced husband, two kids, two neurotic dogs, and a 1973 Camaro named Loki.

18 replies
  1. Lily
    Lily says:

    I picked up The Scorpion Races , I have not read anything by her yet myself. Glad I am not starting with this one I guess. Still the plot sounds interesting, maybe someday

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I’ve read a few reviews from people who have read a lot of her books and they’re saying this one is different from her other series, so I’m curious to see if I enjoy The Raven Cycle or The Scorpio Races more.

  2. Resh
    Resh says:

    Thanks for the honest review. I will keep the pacing in mind when I pick it up. I love magical realism; so I think I would enjoy the book.

  3. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    Aww I’m sure to hear that you didn’t love this one 🙁 However, I can see why having so many characters to keep track of could be a negative. That’s happened to me before with other books, and no matter how much I enjoy the story, it always has left me feeling somewhat frustrated. I am curious about the three cousins, though. They all seem interesting, and I always love a good family dynamic. Great review, Suzanne! Hopefully you’ll find a different one of Maggie’s books to outright love someday! 🙂

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yeah, it was a little frustrating in the sense that it took me a while to figure out who I should even be focused on because so many of them ended up just being secondary characters. The family dynamic is handled very well though.

  4. Lee @ Rally the Readers
    Lee @ Rally the Readers says:

    My first Maggie Stiefvater read was The Scorpio Races, and I had a similar issue with slow pacing with that one. I was a little hesitant to try any of her other books after that, but I fell absolutely in love with her Raven Cycle series. I have All the Crooked Saints on pre-order and am curious to see where it ranks among her other books. I also highly recommend her Wolves of Mercy Falls series! 😀

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Everyone keeps telling me I need to read The Raven Cycle so I’m pretty sure that will be my next Stievater read. Hopefully it will work better for me than this did. I’ll have to keep Wolves of Mercy Falls in mind as well. It sounds intriguing.

  5. Ann Marie
    Ann Marie says:

    Great review, Suzanne. I’ve been seeing this book making lots of appearances. Based on your review, I’m not sure it’s a great fit for me but I certainly appreciate your thoughts.

  6. sydneyeditor1
    sydneyeditor1 says:

    I think from what you’ve described, it would hte family relationships that would draw me in here — the family intself and everything they have to deal with in regards to their powers, totally, but also the cousins — they sound like three very unique characters, and I love LOVE that Beatriz built Joaquin a radio station, because that is totally what you’d do for family!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yes, the family relationships definitely made the book for me. If they hadn’t been so interesting, I probably would have given up on the book because of my early issue with the pacing.

  7. Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads
    Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads says:

    Great review! I read and loved The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, so this one has been on my TBR. It’s a pity to hear that the pacing was a bit too slow, but at least the characters, plot and writing style are great! They are what made me fall in love with TRC, so hopefully I will too with All These Crooked Saints 🙂

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      And from what I’ve read, it sounds like this book is a lot different from mot of her other works, so now I’m more eager than ever to start The Raven Cycle and see if that one works better for me.

  8. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    I thought I was the only one who hadn’t yet picked up a Maggie Stiefvater book, so it’s nice to see that I wasn’t alone. I was really excited about this one, until I saw a lot of readers comment on the pacing on this one. I’m not one for slow pacing, so I don’t know if I would pick this one up right now. I do have the first two books in the Raven Cycle series, so I might read those first before I read any of her other books. This was such a great review – thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      From what I’ve been hearing, this book is quite different from her other series so I’m hoping The Raven Cycle will be more to my liking than this was.

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