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. (blurb taken from Goodreads)
The latest novel from one of my favourite authors Maggie Stiefvater is a bit shorter than I’m used to, it only has 300 pages but the cover is absolutely stunning. It’s probably one of the prettiest covers I’ve ever seen. Sadly (and it breaks my heart to say it) the story inside it wasn’t that great (I’m so sorry Maggie!). After reading The Scorpio Races I had really high expectations of this book and I think that’s probably why I was disappointed by it. Also, I think it needed more volume, at least 400 pages in total.
The language was of course beautiful (everything Stiefvater writes is beautiful) but I felt like the writing style was somewhat different than in her other books. I think she slightly adjusts her writing for each book – for example the Shiver trilogy is written in a very lyrical style and is similar to The Scorpio Races while The Raven Cycle has a different feel to it (but totally heart-wrenching *sob*). This book had yet another music to it and that really shows how versatile Stiefvater is and I love her for that.
The overall story was complex and it contained very interesting metaphors. I loved the character Marisita because she was always rained upon, she literally had her own rain clouds hovering over her head and her body was covered with butterflies who couldn’t fly away because they were soaking wet. This seemed like a beautiful portrayal of depression and I think that’s really hard to achieve. All the other characters were also unique and compelling, I only wish I could read more about them (300 pages just isn’s enough!).
The love story between Beatriz and Pete was really cute though I preferred Daniel and Marisita’s. I guess I have a soft spot for the impossible, die-for-you, intense-all-the-way love stories. Also, I really liked reading about Beatriz’s parents and their relationship, I think it was very realistic because although they were in love, they sometimes couldn’t stand being around each other.
As with every Stiefvater book, the atmosphere is sublime. She can create a world of sensations with her words in a way that makes you feel like you’ve just stepped onto a new planet! Only great writers can do that. And the feels, I had so may of them while reading this book. I highlighted like a dozen paragraphs along the way because they were so touching.
I realise that I’m only praising this book yet I gave it four stars on Goodreads. That’s mainly because I absolutely adored The Scorpio Races and The Raven Cycle and I can’t rate them the same. I really do believe that this story could be better if it were longer. Then again my head wasn’t really in it while I was reading the book so that could also be the reason why I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.
Still, Maggie Stiefvater remains one of my all time favourite authors and I would be so insanely happy if I ever managed to write half as good as she does. She is amazing and cool and funny and clever and a bit strange but all the best people are. I wish I’ll get to meet her one day and have her sign all of my books. That would be a dream.
“Do you have darkness inside you?”
“Yes,” Tony said.
“And do you want to be rid of it?”
This is a harder question to answer than one might think at first blush. Almost no one would think it’s correct to answer this question with a no, but the truth is that we men and women often hate to be rid of the familiar, and sometimes our darkness is the thing we know the best.
Maggie Stiefvater, All the Crooked Saints