I want to love Maggie Stiefvater. I hear amazing things about her books, so I try them. Each time I get the same result. There’s some interesting bits in her books, but I mostly find them boring. They aren’t bad, just slow, and of course, boring.
It took me quite a few chapters before I understood, but here is the gist. People from around the world travel to Bicho Raro for a miracle, intended to empty the darkness from your soul. The miracle does this by transforming you into something to help you overcome that darkness. Most miracle-seekers don’t expect or understand that aspect of the process.
If nothing else, I appreciated the metaphorical nature of this book. Even if I find Stiefvater’s books to slow to enjoy, she is a master of the metaphor. The concept of overcoming darkness by encountering a disguised version of one’s fears is a really interesting and powerful message. The ending includes many characters finally overcoming their own manifestation of darkness, and that, from a character development point of view, is powerful. I enjoyed the ending even if I trudged through the parts that came before it.
But that is about where my interest ends. It’s shocking I didn’t like this more because I love character focused books. Give me a good character and I’ll power through the worst of plots. I guess I didn’t connect with the Soria family enough. For one, there was a lot of telling about romance. I didn’t watch characters fall in love. They either were in love already, or told the reader they were in love. Or sometimes omniscient narrator would tell us that the two characters would eventually fall in love.
There were many side anecdotes, and though I appreciate that all passively mentioned previous events became relevant again, there were too many stories like this. How many former failed miracles need to be discussed before I get the picture? Quite a lot, apparently.
The use of radio was odd. It was so important it brought stories and characters together, but it seemed to have too easy of a time doing this.
And what was with the truck? Did I miss something? I never figured out why Pete wanted it. There were bits and pieces of this story that I thought I should know, and never did find out. Motivations were murky and best, and always said rather than explained.
I want to like Stiefvater’s books. But, with this being my third attempt to love her books, it might be time to give up the chase. Sometimes readers are not compatible with certain authors, and it seems I am not compatible with Maggie Stiefvater. (Though, to add a bit of levity to this statement, I do love Maggie’s personality. She is great on Twitter.)