I was so looking forward to this novel. Maggie Stiefvater does this thing each time she releases a book with one of her local bookstores, where she doodles in each hardcover. I paid £40 so I could have one shipped over here. I was so excited for this book, so was so damn disappointed when I got it through the post and read it.
What really upset me most about this book is I know Steifvater can do so, so much better. If I’d read it before I’d read any other novel by Stiefvater, I would have written it off as gibberish and been astounded as to how she’d done so well for herself. This novel, in a word, was absolute crap. There were so many things wrong with it, I could probably write an entire essay about it.
Steifvater’s writing is normally so beautifully written, with wonderful imagery and metaphors woven in throughout such a lyrical narrative. This was complete and utter rubbish. Steifvater was trying too hard to be clever, and trying too hard to be literary fiction. ‘All The Crooked Saints’ was a mismatch of complete and utter nonsensical prose which fell flat on its face. You would be sat reading, and then realise halfway through the page that you hadn’t actually taken in any of what you’d just read, and it didn’t really matter anyway because absolutely nothing was connected. There was a really naff ‘Alice In Wonderland’ feel to it which I absolutely hated, because it just didn’t work.
There was a milder version of this nonsensical prose to ‘The Raven Boys’ trilogy, but it worked there because it wasn’t in your face all the time as it was in this novel. Plus it was much more toned down! As such there wasn’t really much plot to it, and the minimal plot that was there, was dressed up in all this frilly nonsense which detracted from anything Stiefvater was trying to achieve. A lot of the useless description was really random and just way too weird, but most importantly served no purpose whatsoever. There would be a paragraph with some weird analogy describing why something in a single sentence in the next few paragraphs’ time was supposedly important, such as where a barn was built or something – but the things that Stiefvater wasted words explaining in great detail had absolutely nothing to do with the plot.
One thing Stiefvater normally excels at is her characterisation. However these characters were really two dimensional, and weren’t interesting in the least – basically, they were really lazy versions of what her normal standard produces. As my friend Reviews Between The Lines pointed out, everything was just really under developed. It’s a real shame because I know Steifvater is capable of so much more, and you can see from the original idea the novel that this could have become, but it was just absolutely dire. It makes me so sad to see such talent wasted!
I get this was meant to be a palate cleanser for Steifvater after ‘The Raven Cycle’, but it was something I think she should have just kept for her eyes only because it was awful compared to what she normally produces as a novel. I’m really struggling for what to give it, because I normally love Steifvater’s writing, but this doesn’t deserve the same rating that I would give other novels that I would just describe as ‘an alright read’. As much as it pains me to say it, I’m going to have to give it a 2/5!