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Summary

From best-selling author Maggie Stiefvater, a gripping tale of darkness, miracles, and family.

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.

©2017 Maggie Stiefvater (P)2017 Scholastic, Inc.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • liltxtwister
  • 18-10-17

Disappointing

I had high expectations for All The Crooked Saints (I pre-ordered a signed copy for my library) but this one was not for me. I have loved all of Maggie Stiefvater's other books but I just did not care about any of the characters in this book or really the story either. There was a lot of telling and not as much dialogue and maybe that is why I could not connect to the characters.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • B.A. Wilson
  • 14-10-17

Not For Me.

This is more of a 2.5 for me. I suspect most people are going to either love it or hate it, with little middle ground.

I wanted to love this, but I really struggled. It could have been me, as I listened on audio and perhaps was a poor listener. However, I rewound and rewound and rewound and rewound. This would just not keep my attention, and about 70% of the time, I had no clue who anyone was or what was happening.

Typically, I love Stiefvater. I think I could read Scorpio Races and the Raven Cycle a thousand times and never tire of them. They are so unique, and I tend to love her unusual approaches and unexpected worlds.

Unfortunately, it took me almost 15 chapters to really get into the story at all. I had to just force myself forward (through the pangs of despair and haze of denial), and it wasn’t until that point that I really started remember who anyone was. There’s also not any real plot that I’m aware of up until about 3/5 of the way into the story, and it’s a pretty weak plot at that. Or perhaps the plot is there but I was so overwhelmed by the style that I couldn’t even recognize or follow it.

The writing is extremely stylized, which typically I find interesting. Unfortunately, it’s stylized telling, instead of stylized showing. So be prepared to be told, told, told, told, told, told, told, and told again who everyone is. You’ll be told what they think. You’ll be told what they want. You’ll be told what they fear. You’ll be told who they are, in the prettiest and most unique sorts of ways. You’ll be told what their struggles are, but you’ll rarely be shown any of this, particularly in the first half off the book, which means it may not stick very well. None of it really stuck for me.

Every scene in the beginning feels basically like a new list of facts about yet another character, and I wasn’t interested in memorizing any of it. Some of the sentences sound beautiful in the moment, but they lack impact, since I now can’t match any of those sentences to any characters. And since I don’t want to memorize a list of beautiful sounding facts about way too many different characters that don’t really seem to be helping the story along, it’s hard to make connections and keep any of the details straight.

Yep. This was a major struggle, when I just wanted to be captivated.

The reason this still gets 3 stars overall is because the last half of the book is significantly better and more interesting than the first half. There were some really fascinating characters, once I could finally figure out who people were and why they mattered. But at the same time, I’m still pretty confused by the world and world building. It could be a delightful, imaginative world, but instead, it’s more of a tedious and confusing world. I think depth was sacrificed to pretty sounding and stylized sentences in this case.

HOWEVER, I typically love Stiefvater, and there’s something here that was interesting to me, at least in terms of the concept and a few of the characters. In case this is just me being inattentive, or failing to get what is great about this, I may go back and listen to this again on a better day and see if that changes my perspective. If it does, I’ll be sure to update my ratings.

Now, I’m going to go hug my pillow and wallow, because I absolutely hate it when I can’t love a book.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ruth S. Rodenhauser
  • 04-12-17

Strange and compelling<br />

This novel is truly bizarre, but don't give up on listening to it! The truths embedded in the magical realism are worth it. Beautifully written and beautifully read, this novel has much to say to each of us. Don't be afraid of miracles, because "miracles" are a lot like happiness".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Monika Anderson
  • 21-11-17

Not my favorite

Maggie is one of my favorite authors, and I wanted to love this one, too, but it was difficult to follow and stay engaged. I was curious about other reviews and found agreement in "beautiful writing, no story" and "too wandering". I love Hispanic folklore, so wanted more from this. Maybe it was the distracting narration that was the disconnect. He was too comical like a Spanish novella overlay.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Call of Kthalia
  • 14-11-17

Wonderful stand alone novel from Stiefvater

I am a little sad to say that I don't think this is a series, because I became very fond of the town of Bicho Raro, CO., and its inhabitants.

At the start of this Audible, I wasn't sure if I would like the book or the narrator. It started a little slow, and I wasn't sure about the narrator for some reason - probably just the start of the book - but within a couple chapters I was hooked. Both the story, and the reader, really draw you in.

You can read the synopsis yourself, and I don't want to give out spoilers, but the story is very character-driven - with quite a few players to keep track of - and also a bit sad. However, keep in mind that it is a &quot;sad&quot; with a whole novel's worth of redemptions and resolutions. By the end you are really rooting for all the characters to solve their mysteries and triumph, in whatever small way possible. The end ties up most loose strings and leaves you satisfied - or at least it satisfied me plenty - all without any sappiness.

The narrator? He is awesome. He does every character in a unique and recognizable way. He does an array of amazingly believable accents - male and female alike. He is one-man ensemble cast production. He is probably rivals my all-time favorite narrator: Luke Daniels (Iron Druid Chronicles are ah-mazing!). I will look up his name after this review and see what else he reads - yes, he is that good!

So, should you listen to this book? Do you like a slow burn? Do you like deep characters that grow and learn? Do you like magical realism? Do you think you would like a tale of the Colo-Mex town of Bicho Raro, and its very odd inhabitants and &quot;tourists&quot;? Do you like the Raven Boys? If you answer yes to most of these questions then - use your credit or buy this book already!

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Johanna
  • 08-11-17

Breathtaking and absolutely fantastic!

I loved the narrator's accent and story-telling ability. Very well done!

Stiefvater creates and develops characters so masterfully; they are all so different while all feeling fleshed out. The inclusion of the &quot;one thing a character wants and a thing they fear&quot; was so strong and really brought a huge amount of development for that character with such a simple tactic.

The miraculous Sorias were so insanely interesting to read about; I wanted to slip in this world and stay there forever. The casual magic of the story outside of the Sorias really helped build a higher level of believability in the simplicity of the Soria miracles.
Learning how the Soria family functions was so interesting and felt very authentic.

I loved how Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, really thought about what it meant to be holy and the general richness of his character. The simple miracle of the painting was so interesting!
His devote love for the pilgrims and the miracles he gives them juxtaposed with his young age and love for his family, specifically his cousins, was so authentic feeling.

I loved how Joaquin was so different from his cousins and his family yet still such an integral part of the story and so compassionate to his family. The descriptions of his hair and clothes were so vivid. I really loved seeing how Diablo Diablo and Joaquin combined- it felt very real to see him mouthing the way someone had said &quot;love&quot; to practice and use on the radio, as well as reminding the reader that he is still just a teenager.

I loved Beatriz. Absolutely and completely. Seeing a character being told she was &quot;a girl with no feelings&quot; and watching her realize that she has very strong feelings, just more privately, was very meaningful to me as I went through the same thing. It's so lovely to see so many different types of characters, and I loved how logical and loving Beatriz was.

Tony and Pete's friendship was so great to watch. I loved how both of their characters evolved and specifically how their friendship was meaningful, which is one of my favorite tropes ever to see in novels.

Overall just absolutely incredible and my only complaint is that I immediately want to read more.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • K. Booms
  • 19-05-18

Fun. sweet. miracles. family.

An engaging and fun story to listen to. Great accents. Magicky desert setting. The mystery of how to do and survive miracles!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous
  • 02-05-18

Not for me.

I tried desperately to get hooked on this book. I’ve read a series of books from the same author and could not put them down, but this was nothing like that. I could not follow the plot in the entire first half, and wasn’t very interested in the rest of the book after that. Would not recommend.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • HOPE M.
  • 14-04-18

Great

the narrative story telling reminds me of a telenovela. Funny and intriguing. the voice acting as on point.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa
  • 13-04-18

High Hopes

Where does All the Crooked Saints rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I would say in the middle. I have read everything by Stiefvater and I really wanted to like this book. While it was good I would not say it is one of her better stories.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

It was a slow book. It took for ever to get the story set up.

What does Thom Rivera bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The accents and the voices were great.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. It was too confusing. I found myself going back to listen to something that I thought I missed, but did not.

Any additional comments?

I had high hopes for this book. While it was enjoyable, it is o=not one of my favorites.