Imagine living in a world where the state you live in suddenly becomes a buffer zone between two countries. If you decide to stay in the state that has always been your home you are no longer a citizen of the United States (or your country), now you are someone who lives on a military outpost that is totally dependent on the Army for necessities. That is the world created by Jacqueline Carey in her novel Santa Olivia.
Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey is a unique dystopian novel with a superhero genre twist. Following a plague like super flu the United States military has disfranchised the town of Santa Olivia and created a military outpost designed to protect what is left of the United States from Mexico. Loup Garron, the daughter of an orphaned young woman and a genetically engineered man who was treated as government property, must learn to live within the confines of Santa Olivia. When Loup Garron is given the opportunity to confront injustices caused by the military occupation she must choose between protecting the secret of her existence and avenging those she loves.
After reading (and loving) both of the Kushiel trilogies and the Naamah trilogy I was curious about Santa Olivia. The book description was interesting the story was unique sounding enough to capture my attention. I was expecting something similar to Jacqueline Carey’s previous works and instead I got something different and amazing.
The world of outpost is carefully developed and Carey creates a unique coming of age story set in a town that the world has forgotten. Everything from the sad lives of the freedom stripped people of outpost to the bittersweet love story are refreshingly real and something that anyone who went through those “awkward” teen years can relate to. The characters were well developed and given real problems and in many cases depressingly simple life goals within their limited confines.
I could not stop reading Santa Olivia once I started and even though I could not wait to find out how the story ended I was sad when I closed the book. The ending was satisfying and a little surprising since it was not remotely what I expected. This book is perfect for anyone who enjoys, romance, adventure, comic books, or dystopian fiction since it has a little something for everyone.