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Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey

Santa Olivia

by Jacqueline Carey

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8106011,256 (3.91)62
  1. 10
    Adaptation by Malinda Lo (knotbox)
    knotbox: A story of girls in love, a military conspiracy, inhumans, and friends who stick with you.
  2. 10
    Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer (whitewavedarling)
    whitewavedarling: Though the writing styles and scopes are different, and Flight of Shadows is the sequel of Brouwer's earlier work Broken Angel, readers of one of these books will likely find the other worth diving into. Similar character types and situations make the books well-matched for each other as quick new-world reads that explore the ethics and moralities of a newer and more classed version of our familiar reality. It's worth noting, though, that while Santa Olivia is absolutely appropriate for young adult readers, Flight of Shadows contains graphic violence that you may or may not want to pass on to your teenager--certainly, I read far worse as a teenager, but you might not want your young adult to come across some of the material in Flight of Shadows without reading it first.… (more)
  3. 10
    Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For a different take on girls coming of age amid involvement in violent competitive sports.
  4. 00
    The Cage by A.M. Dellamonica (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Another story featuring lesbianism and werewolves, which is freely available online here.
  5. 01
    Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer (whitewavedarling)
    whitewavedarling: While the writing styles and scopes are different, both show a new world order as experienced through a strong and somewhat outcast female heroine. Fans of one should search out the other.
  6. 03
    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling (whitewavedarling)
    whitewavedarling: Santa Olivia is admittedly built for a more mature audience, but the themes, character types, and situations in the Harry Potter series and in Carey's work make me believe a reader who enjoys one will likely enjoy the other. Santa Olivia, though, is not a traditional fantasy, but more in the lines of speculative fiction, so that fantasy-only readers who enjoy Harry Potter for primarily the inclusion of magic may not enjoy Carey's work. I'm recommending it with this Harry Potter book in particular since, for me, this was the book when the series took a leap toward becoming more adult. Santa Olivia is also probably the beginning of a forthcoming series.… (more)
  7. 03
    Harry Potter Box Set (Books 1-7) by J. K. Rowling (whitewavedarling)
  8. 03
    The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (whitewavedarling)
    whitewavedarling: Santa Olivia is admittedly for a more adult-based audience, but themes, situations, and character types carry over between the works enough (plus a light integration of religion) that I think the readers of one work set would be well suited for the other.… (more)

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» See also 62 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
I liked this. A lot. (Skip the sequel.) ( )
  majesdane | Aug 8, 2017 |
Another very good page-turner story by Carey, somewhat reminiscent of Kushiel's series but in a post-apocalyptic setting. A bit too much emphasis on boxing for my taste, but overall very enjoyable. ( )
  Guide2 | Dec 29, 2016 |
Loup Garron has an inability to feel fear along with super strength and speed, all heritage of her genetically engineered father. However, she’s been born into the town that once was Santa Olivia, but which is now part of a militarized buffer zone between the United States and Mexico. The residents are trapped in a town ruled by the military and the gangs they allow. If she wants to stay safe, Loup must hide who she is and what she can do. But what if risking everything is worth it?

Going into Santa Olivia, I had the vague impression it was YA. It’s not. There’s certainly coming of age elements involved, but the tone of the book is much older. It’s a dark, gritty book. I think “grimdark” might be a good description for it.

As you might be able to guess from my description of it’s protagonist, Santa Olivia riffs off the superhero genre. However, I wouldn’t call it a superhero book. For a section of the novel, Loup dons a costume and enacts vigilante justice under the guise of the town’s namesake, Santa Olivia. But this is a limited section of the book, and there’s not a whole lot of acts of justice. The problem isn’t just the gangs or criminals, it’s the entire power structure where the townspeople are ruled over by the military. What can Loup really do against them? If she goes too far, the entire might of the army will come crashing down on the town. She can never be more than an annoyance, but she might be able to provide some form of hope to the townspeople.

Since Santa Olivia is largely about oppression, it’s fitting that Loup exists at the intersection of multiple marginalized identities. She’s the child of a Texan Latina women and a black Haitian, she’s female, and she’s either bisexual or lesbian as well. I think the inability to feel fear is also important here, but it’s interesting that it creates a whole different set of problems for Loup. She doesn’t have the emotional incentive to make the “smart” choice.

Loup’s major romantic relationship is with a girl named Pilar. I think Pilar’s existence was important, as she gave Loup something to lose. She now has a stake in staying safe. However, I don’t know how much I buy into Loup and Pilar’s relationship or them being in love. The relationship presented on page was mostly physical. When they were together, it felt like the majority of their scenes were sexual. It was hard for me to get a sense of them having an emotional connection. Loup in general could feel emotionally distant to me, so that could be part of it.

The plot and construction of the book could have been stronger. The novel starts with how her parents met, and Loup herself isn’t born until after forty pages in. There’s not a strong overarching plot, and the book sort of slides from one thing to another. The structure could have worked if the characterization had been stronger, but as is it didn’t really do it.

I’m not sure who I’d recommend Santa Olivia to. It’s distinctive enough that I can’t really give it a subgenre, and it’s hard to pick out specific elements to recommend it upon. Perhaps the focus on oppression and power structures? A female lead who’s either gay or bisexual? If either of those interest you, you may want to try Santa Olivia.

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Apr 11, 2016 |
That was probably one of the best books I've read in quite awhile. What a good writer! It wasn't what I expected at all (won't give spoilers, but if you're expecting classic supernatural/paranormal genre style, it's not here) but thoroughly enjoyable. ( )
  emblue | Jan 3, 2016 |
The story takes place in a US Government instituted DMZ sort of place in Texas between the US and the Mexican border. The Outpost. Loup Garron is born into the place. But like all the other residents she's not a US Citizen and because of that the Outpost is sort of Lord of the Flies crossed with the Wild West (with a bit of the 60s through 80s thrown in). It's a place where strength of spirit, and more importantly strength of fists matter. Boxing is the central thrust (or job) of the story. The General in charge of The Outpost has a deal, win a fight against one of his Olympic champion (now in the military) fighters and get a ticket (or two, that's never made totally clear) up North.

Loup and her brother Tommy both get involved in the boxing, and it eventually touches all the main characters in town in some way or another.

I thought the characters were the best part of the novel. Each of them were all wicked interesting with even more interesting relationships between the characters. They were real characters and relationships as well, not glossed over and always happy, but with bumps and bruises.I mean it' snot often that you read about something along the lines of Anna/Father Ramon/Sister Martha in a mainstream novel.

Unfortunately, a lot of the descriptions in the book sorta fell flat. When I read them I knew what the author was talking about and could picture it, but I couldn't see it, I didn't feel like I was there.

Also, a lot of the history of the place and the history of the characters that we had to know for the rest of the story to make sense sorta made the beginning of the book drag on a bit. After we got into the meat of the story though, it flowed much better, but, the beginning was hard to get through in places.

Overall it was a fun and yet depressing book to read because of how easily I could see the fiction turning into fact in the world we live in. ( )
  DanieXJ | Mar 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 60 (next | show all)
Jacqueline Carey's new novel is set in a near-future DMZ between America and Mexico - and her new heroine kicks ass. Superstrong and unable to feel fear, Loup is a genetic experiment gone right.
added by PhoenixTerran | editio9, Annalee Newitz (May 16, 2009)
I highly recommend Santa Olivia, not only to Carey's current fans, but to anyone who enjoys an outstanding, gripping, and in many ways credible near-future thriller.
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They said that the statue of Our Lady of the Sorrows wept tears of blood the day the sickness came to Santa Olivia. The people said that God had turned his face away from humankind. They said that saints remember what God forgets about human suffering.
After you, it's all cheap tequila.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 044619817X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:43 -0400)

"A SF/fantasy novel set in the near future and featuring a young woman with special genetically engineered 'wolf-like' powers"--Provided by publisher.

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