ARC Book Review: All the Crooked Saints

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Synopsis:

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.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Book Depository

Review

*I won a free advanced reader’s copy of this book at Brooklyn Book Festival. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel is released today.*

If you’ve been following me for a while you know that although I really enjoyed The Raven Cycle series, I wasn’t all that enthralled with the plot, because it didn’t make any sense to me. Thus, I wasn’t sure how to feel about this new book by Maggie Stiefvater. It didn’t help that the book quickly came under fire for it’s representation of Mexican Americans after it was first announced. Despite all these things, I ended up really enjoying this novel.

The story is told in the third person, with the same kind of magical realism voice that I loved in the The Raven Cycle books, and looks at a Mexican American family, the Sorias, living in Bicho Raro, Colarado in the 1960s. The Sorias have been done throughout generations to be saints that can give people miracles, which help them overcome the darkness inside of them. Although this novel is definitely about the Sorias as a whole and the pilgrims that travel to get their miracles, it’s really about the three young Soria cousins: Beatriz, Daniel, and Joaquin.

Daniel is the current Saint of Bicho Raro and it’s his job to give the pilgrims their miracles, but because this is a Stiefvater book the miracle isn’t something simple. Instead there’s two parts to the miracle. First, Daniel brings out the darkness in the pilgrim, which can manifest into pretty much anything, and then it’s the pilgrim’s job to figure out how to get rid of their darkness. Until they do that, the pilgrims don’t leave Bicho Raro and the Sorias don’t kick them out because they believe a pilgrim might find success later and return the favor. Also, the Sorias don’t engage with the pilgrims because they believe they can “catch” a pilgrim’s darkness.

I really enjoyed all the characters in this story. I liked how they each handled miracles and how it affected their perspective on the world around them. Additionally, I was actually interested in all of their histories. This story gave me The Sun is Also a Star vibes, because it gives the background for almost every character. It was also interesting seeing this divide between the Sorias and the pilgrims, since they all lived in the same place, but at times it felt like they were in two very different worlds. I also enjoyed the little bits of romance in this story as well. They were subtle and cute and I would’ve loved more, but the amount given was sufficent.

Lastly, in terms of the representation of Mexican Americans, since I’m not Mexican I can’t speak for how a Mexican person will feel about it. I thought it was well done, though I’m confused as to why Stiefvater named the town Bicho Raro when that means weirdo in Spanish. Perhaps because this story is a bit weird? Who knows? Besides that though, I thought the characters were well thought out and not stereotypical. Therefore, I highly recommend picking up this book today and giving it a read.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“Always take blame for your own actions but never take blame for someone else’s.”

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The Raven King Book Review

Book Review: The Raven King

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Synopsis from Amazon:

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

*WARNING: This review contains minimal spoilers for the first three books in The Raven Cycle series. Read at your own risk!*

I have mixed feelings about this book. I loved the characters, especially Henry who entered a more starring role in this novel, and the demon mixed with Piper was interesting. I also really liked the relationships and they gave me all the feels. What I really had a problem with was the plot. I wish I could say I understood the ending or the last 100 pages in general but I didn’t. The book kind of went way left in my opinion. Basically everything I suspected to happen didn’t happen and typically I’m happy to be caught by surprise but in this instance nothing made sense to me.

I’m not going to spoil it but I will say that to me the ending just made Gansey’s whole search for Glendower seem kind of meaningless. Similarly, I was really confused about Noah’s role and honestly I forgot about him multiple times during this book. I had to keep reminding myself who the fourth Raven Boy was and it felt like the reason Henry got a bigger role was because he kind of took Noah’s place. And I really did like Henry and thought he was a great addition, it just seemed strange to me that Noah was kind of phased out.

Also, the whole “Gansey’s going to die,” thing seemed very anticlimactic to me. We were told from the very first book that Gansey was going to die and then how everything played out just seemed kind of lame to me. I expected more. A lot more. If something’s going to be built up for four books I expect it to be a big deal and not what it turned out to be.

But despite these things I also genuinely loved this book, which is why I’m confused. Honestly if you’re a person that loves characters more than plot than you will enjoy this book. If you care more about the plot than you will hate this book. My favorite parts about this book were the relationships honestly. I could reread those scenes over and over again. Everything else I didn’t really care about to be honest. The magic stopped being interesting to me when I no longer understood it. The end just felt too random and it felt like the rules of magic I began to accept from the series suddenly changed.

Have you read The Raven King? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments! I’m dying to discuss this someone!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“Adam smiled cheerily. Ronan would start wars and burn cities for that true smile, elastic and amiable.”

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'Blue Lily, Lily Blue Book' Review

Book Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue

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Synopsis from Amazon:

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.

Mothers can disappear.

Visions can mislead.

Certainties can unravel.

*Note: There will be minor spoilers for The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves in this review. Read at your own risk*

So far Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the most action packed book in The Raven Cycle series. While everyone is looking for Blue’s mother, Maura, new characters show up in town causing even more havoc. It feels like the Raven Boys and Blue are being hit on all sides and they still haven’t found Glendower. The stress and anticipation is building because just as the group discovers more answers they’re also left with even more questions.

I have to say this book was my favorite so far. We learned a lot more about each of the characters and it really feels like the Raven Boys and Blue’s friendship is super solid now. Also the addition of Gansey’s friend, Malory, to the group was really funny and interesting since he’s an old man. It was cool seeing how Ronan and Adam bonded over their annoyance with Malory, and Malory’s dog was also an interesting addition.

The ending of this book really took me by surprise and once again I absolutely loved it. I definitely understand now what Maggie Stiefvater was saying about how she always ends her books on a cliffhanger. She really does. I’m so glad I already have The Raven King because if I had to wait to get it from the library I would’ve been very upset. I don’t know how people waited years to know what happened next. I would’ve lost it.

I’m super excited and also very nervous to now be on the last book in the series. I don’t want it to end but I also really want to know what happens. If you haven’t picked up the Raven Cycle series yet make sure to do so ASAP. It’s definitely worth a read.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

There was something unfamiliar about him. Something ferocious about his eyes, some sort of bite in his faint smile. Something altogether hectic and unsettled. She stood on the ledge of his smile and looked over the edge.

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'The Dream Thieves' Book Review

Book Review: The Dream Thieves

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Synopsis from Amazon:

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys – a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface – changing everything in its wake.

*WARNING: If you haven’t read The Raven Boys yet DO NOT read this review. There will be spoilers.*

This novel was really centered around Ronan and the Lynch family and I loved that. It was interesting to learn more about Ronan and his ability to take things from dreams and where it came from.

As usual, I also really love the raven boys dynamic as a whole. Adam is struggling with his new relationship or bonding with Cabeswater, which effects his relationship with Blue. Meanwhile, Ganesy is in denial that Adam went behind his back to Cabeswater and Noah is fading in and out along with the ley line. This group in five are just hilarious together. They’re so witty, snarky, and full of sass. Similarly, all the ladies of 300 Fox Way are crazy in the best possible way. They somehow all manage to work together and move each other, while still have these very different personalities.

In this book we also got a new character, Mr. Gray, who I was really intrigued by. He’s kind of strange but honestly in this series, who isn’t? Besides him we also see Kavinsky who may have been in the first novel (I don’t remember) but he wasn’t as relevant as he is in this book. Kavinsky plays a big role in this book and it was interesting to see how he messed with the raven boys dynamic.

Overall, I really liked this book and the cliff hanger at the end. Thank God I waited until all the books were out before diving into this series because I don’t think I could’ve waited a year to know what happens next. Also, on that note, I met Maggie Stiefvater at Book Con over the weekend and when I told her I was reading the series now she said that was probably a good idea because she heard the author tends to end her books on cliff hangers, which I thought was hilarious.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! I plan on buying all the books in this series once I get a new book shelf. I got The Raven King when I was at Book Con so now I just need the other three.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them.
Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness.
Her raven boys.”

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The Raven Boys Book Review

Book Review: The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys Book Review

Synopsis from Amazon:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

This book came out almost four years ago and I’m upset it took me this long to finally read it. Seriously, this is why I need more book nerd friends because who let me go this long without reading this series? Then again maybe this is a blessing in disguise because now I get to binge the books instead of having to impatiently wait for the next book (the last one comes out in five days).

Seriously though, this book was amazing. First, the characters are fantastic. I loved Blue and her dry humor as well as all the women who live at 300 Fox Way. They’re all incredibly quirky in the best way. And the Raven Boys! I loved them all, even Ronan. Actually, especially Ronan. Give me a bad boy who has a troubled past and I instantly fall head over heels. Ronan is perfect and I’m excited to see how his character will grow and change through the series. The other boys, Adam, Gansey, and Noah were also awesome although my feelings for Adam definitely changed from the start of the book to the end. I won’t say how because I don’t want to spoil anything.

And not only did Maggie Stiefvater create amazing characters but the plot was so well written. She wrote a twist that actually caught me by surprise. Let me tell you that after reading for so long I am rarely caught by surprise and she got me which I loved. I love the unexpected and this book was definitely unexpected. I also like that I still don’t know everything and that Maggie is slowly giving us answers but there’s still SO much mystery in the series. I have my suspicions and ideas on how everything will play out in the end but the fact that I don’t know makes this so fun.

Lastly, I really like that Blue can’t really be involved with any of the guys. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely romance but nothing crazy because Blue is very limited based on the warning about what will happen to her true love. I’m also pretty sure a love triangle is brewing there but I also like that there’s just a genuine love between the Raven Boys and Blue and this won’t turn into a Peeta/Katniss/Gale (The Hunger Games) situation. If anything there may be a Jem/Tessa/Will (The Infernal Devices) type thing but I don’t even think that would be the case here. I think Maggie has put so much into this series that a love triangle would just feel so inconsequential that it couldn’t be the focus.

In summary, The Raven Boys was great and I’m now Raven Boys trash and proud. Definitely check out this series if you haven’t already. Also if anyone wants to fangirl over this series with me (no spoilers please!) let me know in the comments.

Borrow or Buy: Buy immediately!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“My words are unerring tools of
destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”

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