In my opinion, Maggie Stiefvater, the author of "All the Crooked Saints," is a really cool person. She's a pretty famous author, she loves cars that drive fast (and writing about them), she can play a variety of instruments including the bagpipe, she lives on a kind of farm, and she's an artist. She's had a variety of careers that include portrait artist. She also dresses like a badass. She's a role model of mine for these reasons.
On top of being one of my favorite people that I don't know, Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favorite authors. This is because she combines realism with fantasy in a way that is as magical as the contents of her stories. I've read almost everything she's written (don't worry, the rest of her novels are on my to-be-read list), and I have yet to be disappointed. My absolute favorite is "The Scorpio Races," but "All the Crooked Saints" is an extremely, extremely close second. This is saying something, as both "The Wolves of Mercy Falls" and "The Raven Cycle" both seriously impacted my life, the latter definitely ranking up there as one of my favorite series of all time.
"All the Crooked Saints" has made a place among my favorite novels.
One of my favorite things about her writing is how she reinterprets particular fantasy aspects. With the "Wolves of Mercy Falls" series she re-imagined werewolves; with "The Scorpio Races" she gave readers a new take on kelpies; "The Raven Cycle" taught me about lore from the British Isles and lay lines. "All the Crooked Saints" showed me a new take on a kind of magic. Without Maggie, I wouldn't have realized just how much I love reading and writing about magic.
As an aspiring fantasy writer, her writing is a huge source of inspiration for me.
I looked forward to "All the Crooked Saints" for a very long time. I follow her on Tumblr, and I noticed when she started tagging interesting photos as 'dark novel.' These pictures tended to be pictures of owls (my favorite bird/animal!) or derelict looking places in the desert. At the time, I was hoping that the novel was going to be a continuation or spin-off of "The Raven Cycle," because I figured that 'dark novel' was an accurate descriptor of a book related to the series, but I was equally excited when I found out that it was a stand-alone novel because, historically, I have adored her standalone novels. Also, luckily for me, she is writing a spin-off to "The Raven Cycle," (it has a different Tumblr tag) which I couldn't be happier about.
"All the Crooked Saints" does a lot of talking about the title: saints. The novel sets up the rules of the world that the novel takes place in very quickly, establishing that the central family is "saints" who can work different kinds of "miracles." The Soria family is intricate and complex, and I found the theme of fate to be quite interesting and it is subtly weaved throughout the story. I would say that the entire novel is relatively subtle, but that has a big payoff, in my opinion. "All the Crooked Saints" is a book to pay attention to as you read, which isn't a problem because the book demands your attention to every detail as you read, and it isn't a burden on the reader.
I found that the novel had a slow beginning, but the characters more than made up for the slow start.
Each character was wonderfully unique, which I find to be a characteristic of Maggie's writing in general. It's normal for her characters to be so developed that they have a weird quirk that reflects how individualistic people in real life are, which is one of the things that gives her novels the gritty feel of real life. Real life, if there was magic, of course.
I love Maggie Stiefvater's books and the way that she writes them, and I hope she has the best of luck writing her future novels. With her imagination, I'm sure the ideas don't stop coming.