“Bicho Raro was a place of strange miracles.”
I am so grateful to have been given an ARC of this by my friend Julie! Thank you again! ❤
The synopsis for this book sounded so good, and the cover is gorgeous, and there are owls, and I had to have it. I was not disappointed in the slightest.
In the desert of Colorado, there lives a family – the Sorias, who have been blessed with a generational ability to perform miracles. These miracles are unusual, though; they draw a person’s darkness out of them, so that it might form a physical entity or trait to be defeated. The only problem is this: once the miracle has been performed, it is that person’s own responsibility to defeat their darkness, and no saint can help them, for fear of creating the vastly stronger and more frightening darkness of the Sorias.
When Daniel Soria is forced to face his darkness, he retreats into the wild to keep his family safe, but his family knows there is a puzzle to be solved if they are ever going to save their beloved saint.
This book is brimming with amazing, complex, lovable characters. There are the cousins – Beatriz, Daniel, and Joaquin – who are each so different, but so attached to one another they might as well be siblings. There are the adult Sorias, each of whom is cursed with their own difficulties and griefs that they must overcome. Last, there are the Pilgrims: those who have been given their first miracles, but have not yet vanquished their darkness.
I loved the way Maggie took the time to delve into the back stories of so many of the characters. I don’t really feel like there was ever just one main character, because so many different individuals felt so important and crucial to the story, even among the older Sorias and the Pilgrims.
How can I review a Maggie Stiefvater book without talking about her writing? I know it isn’t for everyone, but I loved it in The Raven Boys, and I loved it even more here. Every line is lyrical or metaphorical, and she constantly hides little gems in her words. You can’t skim a book of Maggie’s, because you’ll miss half the beauty that lies simply in the way she writes. I wish I could share all of my favorite quotes with you, but half of them would be spoilers, and really, they’re just words that you should read in the context of this beautiful story she created.
I know this book has been a bit controversial, and I don’t want to say much on that, but I didn’t feel right leaving it out altogether, because I know a lot of you guys will be curious about it. I did not personally feel as though the Hispanic culture was being represented poorly in this book. Maggie threw in tidbits here and there about historical figures in the Latinx community that had done great things, and from these tidbits, I actually learned some really cool, positive things!
HOWEVER, I am not Latinx and can not speak for an entire group of individuals that I do not belong to. I would be extremely open to hearing opinions from Latinx reviewers who have read this book, and would encourage all of you to open your minds and hear their viewpoints on this as well! Nobody can ever give you as well-formed of an opinion on a piece of “diverse” art as the marginalized groups that the author is trying to represent, especially when it is not an own-voice piece.
✘ FINAL VERDICT
I loved this book. I was delighted to have the opportunity to read it ahead of its release, and I thought it painted such a beautiful story about this family and how much they loved one another. The magical realism aspect of it was portrayed in such a fun and unique way. Plus, owls are some of my favorite creatures on earth, and I loved the idea that they were attracted to the miracles and so massive groups of them constantly inhabited Bicho Raro.
I would highly encourage anyone who enjoys Maggie’s writing – or beautiful, lyrical writing in general – to pick this up, especially if you’re a fan of magical realism.