Review: All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

11:12 PM

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater | Rating: ★★★☆☆

She had still been learning how to live with the hard truth that the most interesting parts of her thoughts usually got left behind when she tried to put them into words.

A quick recap to those who don't know me: this review may, perhaps, appear unfavorable. This is not directed towards Maggie Stiefvater in any way--I adore her writing and almost every book she has penned in her career thus far. Not everything is going to be my cup of tea. All the Crooked Saints, firstly, was not my cup of tea. Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say that  I hated the novel because I didn't. It has her suggestion writing; detailed, haunting, full of that hypnotic prose that makes her stories so brilliant. But at its core, there was so much about it that simply did not strike a cord within me quite like other releases have in the past.

I had a similar problem with the conclusion to The Raven Cycle, which is one of my favourite YA series. What brought me down about All the Crooked Saints (aside from its obvious flaws and previously mentioned critiques from other bloggers, re: problematic) was that despite all its stellar prose and fascinating characters and unique worldbuilding, there was just a lot that didn't feel... there. This isn't to say that the story itself was empty. It was merely lackluster to me in all the points that really and truly mattered.

Did I have too many sincere, out of reach expectations that merely let me down? Perhaps. Perhaps that is what made the book less enjoyable. I felt like a good chunk of the story was at a standstill. Slowly, slowly, slowly unraveling without much development and it just wasn't at all something I fancied from the middle onward. There were so many parts of the narration that were good--I have a list of flaws but none of them extend to how easy it is to highlight passages for the future--it was just everything else that kept... ah, getting in the way and messing about with the pacing.

That being said, here are some of the things that I did genuinely enjoy in All the Crooked Saints.
  • The writing for the narration. Maggie Stiefvater just has prose goals, okay? I love her. It's a testament to how much I love her that I finished this book to begin with. Instead of succumbing to my frustration, I road it out because it still had some solid parts that gave me the chills. 
  • Pete, Beatriz, and the other inhabitants of Bicho Raro are fascinating. I liked that the characters were predominantly different that the other characters in her past publications (although I am sure some o you would disagree with me) and prove that her fantastical elements and parallels only extend to her writing; not her characters and worlds. I wish we had gotten more of Daniel.
  • Did I mention I love Beatriz? I may relate to her on some levels. On some levels, I probably do not. That's besides the point. I really did love her. 
Based on my lack of a list--and explanations--you can see that my feelings towards the book are luke-warm at best. For the most part, the novel didn't work for me because I was constantly feeling the loss of something. As if something from the book was missing, as if I had missed something, etc. 

That's not a good sign for a book and it's as simple as that. While All the Crooked Saints didn't do it for me, I think that a good chunk of diehard Stiefvater's fans will find appreciation in the story and it's a total must-have for them. Overall, it wasn't the worst book I've read all year but it is far from Maggie's best work and I found myself underwhelmed.

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