Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Santa Olivia packs a powerful paranormal punch

Loup Garron was born in the border town of Santa Olivia,long after it became isolated from both America and Mexico by the army due to the outbreak of an unstoppable disease and threats from a mysterious band of militant agitators. Renamed Outpost,the town has become a haven for soldiers at the nearby base and it's few remaining citizens wind up making due with whatever is on hand.

Loup's father was thought to be a deserter,but he was more of an escapee. One of the "Lost Boys" taken from an experimental group of children near Haiti,he had a set of genetically enhanced skills that made him(along with others like him)of interest to the powers that be. Loup's mother and older brother both tried to keep her unusual abilities from catching the eyes of the wrong people who would be glad to find out what made her tick.

When Loup's mother died,her brother Tom had no choice but to send her to live with the orphans of Santa Olivia church,one of the few safe places in town for young people with nowhere to go. Loup managed to make new friends,who also were let in on her secret powers of super strength,speed and not being able to feel fear.

Her fighting prowess was hard to hold back as she got older and her outlet for that started as an impromptu vigilante avenger who took on the persona of Outpost's former namesake saint. At first,Santa Olivia was a Zorro type that gave many of the desperate locals something to believe in,but when Loup lost a loved one due to a rigged boxing match run by the army,with false promises of freedom from Outpost as a reward,her quest for justice went to a higher level:

While Santa Olivia doesn't have the epic scope of Jaqueline Carey's Kushiel titles,it is a compulsively engaging read. Part of the appeal of the book is the uncanny touches on current concerns happening in the news right now,but that only makes the setting and situations the characters find themselves in that much more relevant to the reader.

Santa Olivia does share with Carey's other works her strong character development and wonderful knack for creating solid imaginary realities. The paranormal part of the story is more in the vein of X Men rather than Buffy,yet there's a sensitive feminine warrior edge to Loup that makes her as hardy as any Joss Whedon developed leading lady. This is not the first stand alone novel that Jacqueline Carey has written,however it may have the power to not only bring in long time Kushiel fans but draw new readers into the Carey fold as well.

Santa Olivia is due out in paperback at a bookstore near you,and it's as entertainingly tasty as any big summer popcorn movie heading to the multiplex this season. Even if you prefer to wait for Naamah's Kiss in June for your Carey fix,it would be a wise move to have this book on hand for your vacation reading.

I don't know if there are any plans for a sequel but one would be most welcome. Santa Olivia is satisfyingly complete yet,there does seem to be more story to tell. Hopefully,this will not be the last we hear of this nearly futuristic fantasy fighter:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

This sounds like it would be a really good story! Love the pics :)