Genre: Magical Realism, Young Adult
Published by Scholastic Press (10.10.2017)
Hardcover, 320 pages
Source: I own it
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.
Donated by an anonymous benefactor, for all the crooked saints.
I had been looking forward to this book ALL. YEAR. I was sure I’d love it because it sounded so interesting, but I was also worried for two reasons:
- The hype. I tend to be the black sheep on over-hyped books
- Maggie’s writing is very hit-or-miss for me. I loved the Raven Boys and Scorpio Races, and Shiver was okay, but I didn’t like the 2nd or 3rd Wolves of Mercy Falls books much at all
Sadly, this hit both of those categories of worry.
Don’t get me wrong, Maggie’s writing is beautiful and enchanting. But this book was so slow and filled with so much WTFery that it made it even slower. For only being 300 pages long this book took me FOREVER! Let me make one thing perfectly clear: This book is magical realism. A fact that I was totally not prepared for going in. Fun fact about me: I hate magical realism.
I think if it hadn’t been Maggie’s writing I may have hated this book. It speaks volumes for Maggie as a writer that I found some parts interesting despite it being magical realism. In the beginning I was very intrigued – I mean, the concept is super cool! I loved the idea of miracles, and darkness manifesting in physical form, and the fact that the owls were attracted to the miracles. It was awesome!
But sadly, that’s about where it ended. After the last half of the book, it really started losing my interest. The last half was rather boring and even more dry, and to be completely honest I was majorly underwhelmed by the ending (despite being told that the ending makes it worth it). It felt rushed – despite waiting the whole book for the solution (which was only 300 pages but felt like 600), it was over and done with very quickly.
My main issue with this book was the slow pace and how dry it was. I always have an issue connecting to books in 3rd person, but this one felt particularly detached. There was no feeling in it whatsoever. I felt nothing the whole time I was reading it. I couldn’t connect to the characters or the story, despite it being intriguing. I also had a really hard time telling the characters apart in the beginning. I loved the “a thing he/she wanted” and “a thing he/she feared” parts, but it really didn’t help to get to know the characters because there were far too many of them for this book being so short, so there wasn’t enough time spent on truly introducing them and building their character. I feel like after reading the book I still don’t have a feel for any of the characters or their personalites.
On top of being dry, this book was fucking weird, you guys. There were so many scenes where I was just like, WTF am I even reading? But alas, that is magical realism. (Hence why I don’t like to read it!)
If you don’t mind magical realism, or you are a huge Maggie fan, you’d probably love this one. Looks like I’m the black sheep yet again…
Writing style: 3.5/5
Overall rating: 2.5/5