Friday, November 20, 2009
Review: Santa Olivia
This is a novel by Jacqueline Carey.
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.
This was an interesting read. :)
Santa Olivia is set in a town that once belonged to the state of Texas. Due to epidemic illness and war with Mexico, Santa Olivia was closed off completely from the rest of the world and is now occupied by the military. Everyone who was born in Santa Olivia after it was closed off - has never left - and probably never will. Unless they win a boxing match against the Army's champion boxer.
Loup (Lou) Garron and her older brother Tommy were born in Santa Olivia after the epidemic illness that killed almost all of Santa Olivia's residents. It is Tommy's goal in life to win a boxing match and a ticket out of Santa Olivia for himself and Loup.
Things don't go as Tommy plans and Loup winds up in the ring - fighting for herself and Tommy - hoping against hope to make it out of Santa Olivia alive.
I enjoyed Santa Olivia - it was a definite change from the usual 'were' read. But the main characters in this book are children - Loup being barely 18 by the end of the book. I wonder if Ms. Carey plans another book in the life of Loup Garron - I am interested to know what happens to her in the next phase of her life.
I give Santa Olivia 3 out of 5 stars.