Mini-Reviews: Shiver & All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
Source: Borrowed

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Shiver was the first book I ever added to my TBR on Goodreads, way, way back in the day. Since The Raven Cycle ended up being my favorite series of 2018, I figured I should finally read some of Maggie’s other stuff. Shiver is, um… very different. It’s basically your standard late-2000s YA paranormal romance, much like Twilight if Twilight just featured werewolves.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, I loved Twilight when I was a teenager. But does it hold up in 2019 (and now 2020)? Not really. In this day and age, we’re much more skeptical of teenage boy (actually grown men) paranormal creatures who spy on unsuspecting teenage girls and those girls whose lives basically cease to exist while they’re in a relationship. There’s a lot of iffy stuff in this book. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a problem, but do I think it would be nearly as popular now? No.

As usual, the writing is good. Maggie’s created a really interesting backstory for the wolves complete with some present-day wolf conflict. It’s just very, very heavy on the insta-love and it uses a lot of the tropes that were common for the time it was written.

If you’re going to read one of Maggie’s books, I’d recommend The Raven Boys over this.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Source: Borrowed
From bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater, a gripping tale of darkness, miracles, and family. Saints. Miracles. Family. Romance. Death. Redemption.

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.

I read Shiver and All the Crooked Saints back to back, because why not. I ended up feeling pretty conflicted about this book, hence the three stars, because it goes from really boring to really interesting and right back again.

I think the main problem I had with this one was that I spent more of the book bored than interested. There are a lot of characters and there’s a lot going on, but it also seems, a lot of the time, that absolutely nothing is happening. The most vivid part of this book wasn’t the plot or the characters, it was the setting.

I usually love Maggie’s writing, and I can admit that it was beautiful in this book. But instead of being beautiful in that magical way I’m used to, it was beautiful in a very over-the-top way. It reminded me a lot of the writing in Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore. (If you liked that book, you’ll probably love this one.)

I can see why a lot of people enjoyed this, but it just wasn’t my kind of book.

Have you read either of these books? Do you like Maggie Stiefvater’s writing?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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