“By relegating the things we fear and don’t understand to religion, and the things we understand and control to science, we rob science of its artistry and religion of its mutability.”
I’m starting with this quote because I really love it and wanted to share. Maggie Stiefvater has a relationship with the English language that I can only marvel at. How she is to spin, twirl her words to create her worlds is truly magical and is why I look forward to reading all of her books. It’s hard to describe her books because they are unique. I mean, who would think about rich white boys looking for a dead Welsh King with the help of psychics would be be so good? And yet, The Raven Cycle is a gift of a series. All the Crooked Saints has many of the Stiefvater hallmarks we have grown to love but this time taking us to a new time a place. The Soria’s grant miracles to all those who seek them but like everything worth having you have work for it. Cousins Daniel, Beatriz and Joaquin are as close as you can get. They are the youngest of the Soria clan. Joaquin, 16 wants to be a DJ and wants more then just being a Soria. Beatriz, 18 is logical and pragmatic. Known to others as “the girl without feelings” she is more interested in figuring out puzzles then her families miracles. Daniel, 19 is the current “Saint of Bicho Raro”. When pilgrims come to Bicho Raro, Daniel helps them to their first miracle but he has a secret. When pilgrims come to Bicho Raro they come looking for miracles and rid themselves of their darkness. Those coming for an easy solution will be disappointed. The Saint provides the first miracle that makes their darkness into flesh and it manifest in many forms. It is then up to the pilgrim to figure out what they need to do rid themselves of their darkness and perform the second miracle. The Soria’s are not allowed to help the pilgrims after the first miracle because if they do it will bring on their own darkness that is far more dark then anything the pilgrims have. The story begins with the three cousins sitting in their truck listening to their pirated radio show they started. Joaquin is the host and Beatriz the engineer and Daniel, just a listener. They are interrupted by new arriving pilgrims, Tony and Pete. Well Pete isn’t a pilgrim. He is just there to work for the truck that is currently their radio station. The next day, it’s discovered that Daniel has gone out into the desert because he helped a pilgrim named Marisita, who’s darkness manifested in her walking in a constant rain storm wearing a wedding dress covered in butterflies. Beatriz and Joaquin try to figure out a way to help Daniel without bringing the darkness on themselves. The central question to this novel is what are you willing to do for a miracle because really what is more frightening than facing yourself? There is nothing harder then looking at yourself and seeing what is actually there and then doing something to change it. We all have this idealized versions of ourselves that makes it herd for us to hear the truth. I’ve been going through this lately. I was recently up for a promotion at work that I didn’t get. I felt I was ready for it but when I was told it was going to go to someone outside of the company and the reasons why it hurt but also was truthful. The reasons why I wasn’t promoted were all things about myself that I needed to work on but to have someone else voice them out loud was kind of painful to hear. I have been grappling with this knowledge for a couple weeks know and what to do with it because in truth I didn’t really want to the job. I’m looking to change careers but the promotion would have looked better on my resume if I stayed for another year. Now that I didn’t get it, how do I go about improving myself so the next time there is no doubt then I’m the one for the job. As for the novel, the Soria’s are all forced to face their own darkness in a way when Daniel leaves because just because they perform the miracles doesn’t mean they don’t need miracles too. It’s not easy but then again anything truly worth having shouldn’t be easy and the struggles they go through it proof of that. So readers, implore you to read this book and ask yourself what do you want and what are you most of afraid. I’ll go first. What do I want. I want to make a difference. What I am most afraid of. That I have reached as far as I’ll ever go and this is the best I’ll ever achieve. What about you?