Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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.
Excellent read, though the blurb is a bit misleading. This is in no way a Paranormal Urban Fantasy and really has absolutely nothing to do with werewolves. I would classify it more as a dystopian or even more of a sci-fi type book, although those don't really classify it correctly either. It is set in the near future in a place that could easily exist.
Loup is the offspring of a genetically altered humanoid. We never really learn how exactly he was altered or even the full extent of how Loup is affected. The town it is set in is caught between the border of Mexico and the United States and has basically ceased to exist as far as the rest of the world is concerned. But really the story is about so much more than that. It is about survival and hope. It is about being different and fighting for what is right even when it is against all odds.
I am very much looking forward to the sequel as I think that we will learn a lot more about Loup and her kind. I hope that we will learn more about life outside of Outpost and learn about what the world has become. What will become of the Santitos that we have gotten to know and love? Can not wait to read the rest of the story!!
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