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Santa Olivia

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Santa Olivia Cover

ISBN13: 9780446198172
ISBN10: 044619817x
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Lushly written with rich and vivid characters, Santa Olivia is Jacqueline Carey's take on comic book superheroes and the classic werewolf myth.

Loup Garron was born and raised in Santa Olivia, an isolated, disenfranchised town next to a US military base inside a DMZ buffer zone between Texas and Mexico. A fugitive Wolf-Man who had a love affair with a local woman, Loup's father was one of a group of men genetically-manipulated and used by the US government as a weapon. The Wolf-Men were engineered to have superhuman strength, speed, sensory capability, stamina, and a total lack of fear, and Loup, named for and sharing her father's wolf-like qualities, is marked as an outsider.

After her mother dies, Loup goes to live among the misfit orphans at the parish church, where they seethe from the injustices visited upon the locals by the soldiers. Eventually, the orphans find an outlet for their frustrations: They form a vigilante group to support Loup Garron who, costumed as their patron saint, Santa Olivia, uses her special abilities to avenge the town.

Aware that she could lose her freedom, and possibly her life, Loup is determined to fight to redress the wrongs her community has suffered. And like the reincarnation of their patron saint, she will bring hope to all of Santa Olivia.

Review:

"Departing from epic fantasy (Kushiel's Dart, etc.), Carey sets this powerful near-future tale in Outpost 12, a small town trapped in a 'buffer zone' shielding Texas from pandemic-stricken Mexico. Two half-siblings chafing under General Argyle's military rule make very different plans to beat the status quo. Tom, the son of a soldier, lives at the gym, where he trains in boxing and hopes to win his freedom from the town by defeating the general's boxing champion. Loup, who has inherited her escaped father's oddly engineered genes, joins a group of church wards called the Santitos, a tight gang of vigilantes who masquerade as the local saint, Santa Olivia. Carey's fans will enjoy meeting another strong, fearless heroine with special powers, while new readers will appreciate the tight focus that intensifies the depth of character and emotion. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Carey's take on comic book superheroes and the classic werewolf myth, set in the near future, features the daughter of a genetically engineered wolf-man who uses her special powers to avenge wrongs.

About the Author

Jacqueline Carey is the author of short stories, essays, novels Banewreaker and Godslayer, and the New York Times bestselling Kushiel's Legacy series. Carey lives in west Michigan. http://www.jacquelinecarey.com/

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Max, January 7, 2013 (view all comments by Max)
Rollicking good fun. I was sick this week and was so glad to have some light incredibly engrossing reading. The political and cultural world are (for the most part) convincingly realized, and you just can't help but root for the main character. Loup Garron, trapped in an oppressive world, demonstrates resistance and inspires hope. Who doesn't like a good novel about a bad-ass girl fighting back? Buffy anyone?
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Christin, August 19, 2012 (view all comments by Christin)
What a delightful book! Loup, the daughter of an escaped genetic experiment, grows up in the small town of Santa Olivia in a militarized buffer zone between the US and Mexico. I really loved how this book focused on Loup building her own chosen family and how they bring hope, intentionally or not, to their oppressed community. The characters are vivid and endearing and the plot really pulls you in. Loved it!
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Jvstin, March 22, 2009 (view all comments by Jvstin)
(NB: I received an advance reader's copy of this novel)

Santa Olivia is the latest book by Jacqueline Carey, who is better known for, and much better known for the Sundering Duology, and much much better known for two Kushiel trilogies. While the former is a take on classic fantasy and the latter are milestone in dark, sensual fantasy, Santa Olivia is a completely different kettle of fish.

The press information provided to me describes Santa Olivia as Jacqueline Carey's take on comic book superheroes and the classic werewolf myth. However, what this novel is, I think, is far more nuanced and complex than that simple formulation.

The novel centers around Loup. Born in a future where a conflict and a disease has created such tensions between Mexico and the United States that a no man's land has sprung up between the two nations, Loup lives in the abject poverty and virtual prison that makes up the titular piece of land controlled by the U.S. Military. Born of a genetically engineered father, and a local for a mother, we follow Loup's life, from living with her mother and older half-brother, to her life as an orphan in the local church when she loses both of them.

Loup has a hard life in a hardscrabble world, but she does have her secret--the genetic heritage of her father. Her father's special gifts of strength, fearlessness, paranormal senses, and speed have been fully inherited in Loup. What first starts as a secret to be held tightly for fear of discovery by the military turns into a opportunity to exact justice, and later still, an opportunity to escape...

While Loup does take up the mantle of a disguised superhero, and hints and nuances (including the very name given to her) suggest werewolves as an inspiration for the genetic manipulations which inadvertently created Loup, this novel is much more than a novel about a werewolf-powered comic book superhero.

Carey's interest in Christian saints and iconography get play here in the identity that Loup takes in her retributive acts, the titular saint of the compound, Santa Olivia. The novel runs from before her birth to her ultimate escape and freedom, and so we follow her as she grows up, grows into her abilities and learns to use them as a symbol of hope and strength for herself, and for the people around her that she touches. There is a love story in the novel as well, and while the love story itself follows a relatively familiar pattern, the identities of the participants, and the development of the characters give it its own unique stamp.

I don't think that the novel quite works as well as I had hoped. There are an awful lot of loose ends left unanswered by the denouement (not ones that really would be answered in a sequel, either). It's difficult to do "near future" worldbuilding well, as any of the top lights in science fiction can tell you; Carey's worldbuilding is much more assured in her other novels than here. I never really bought the Macguffin that the head of the camp holds as a potential means of escape, although I recognize its dramatic necessity as a device to propel the characters, Loup included, a chimerical banner to chase after. I was also surprised at first at the coarseness of language of the characters of all ages. It took a shift of perception on my part to go from the beauty of courtly language in Terre D'Ange to the salty, expletive filled language of the residents of Santa Olivia.

Overall, though, on the balance, I am happy that Carey wrote the novel. Not only on its merits, which, upon reflection do outweigh its drawbacks, but because I am a firm believer in author diversification. I don't want Carey to write *only* endless Kushiel novels, just like I don't want Stross to only write Merchant Prince novels. I want authors that I like (and Carey certainly has her place in there) to do well--but I'd rather not have them turn into one-series wonders, with each successive volume in the series groaning under the weight of the previous ones. Writing different things, I think, is a good way for an author to remain fresh, inventive, and keep me coming back for more.

So, if you come to this novel hoping for a rocking comic book superhero who changes into a werewolf at night, you are going to be very, very disappointed. This is really a novel about a little girl, born in a cage, who grows, learns to love, and learns to be free. And in the process, she learns to be an inspiration for all of those around her.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780446198172
Author:
Carey, Jacqueline
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Subject:
Fantasy - Paranormal
Subject:
Fantasy fiction
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
General-General
Subject:
Small town life; Werewolves; Genetic mutations; Vigilantism; Siblings; Boxers; Hope
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8 x 5 x 1 in 0.65 lb

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Santa Olivia Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Grand Central Publishing - English 9780446198172 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Departing from epic fantasy (Kushiel's Dart, etc.), Carey sets this powerful near-future tale in Outpost 12, a small town trapped in a 'buffer zone' shielding Texas from pandemic-stricken Mexico. Two half-siblings chafing under General Argyle's military rule make very different plans to beat the status quo. Tom, the son of a soldier, lives at the gym, where he trains in boxing and hopes to win his freedom from the town by defeating the general's boxing champion. Loup, who has inherited her escaped father's oddly engineered genes, joins a group of church wards called the Santitos, a tight gang of vigilantes who masquerade as the local saint, Santa Olivia. Carey's fans will enjoy meeting another strong, fearless heroine with special powers, while new readers will appreciate the tight focus that intensifies the depth of character and emotion. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Carey's take on comic book superheroes and the classic werewolf myth, set in the near future, features the daughter of a genetically engineered wolf-man who uses her special powers to avenge wrongs.
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