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Santa Olivia

(Santa Olivia #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  8,170 ratings  ·  833 reviews
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
Paperback, 341 pages
Published May 29th 2009 by Grand Central Publishing (Hachette)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  8,170 ratings  ·  833 reviews

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May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
The thing about this book is...

Okay, I'm not actually sure what the thing about this book is. There's a couple of points where I felt the author was being weird and wrong-headed, but overall it was so fascinating that I forgave it almost anything.

I found the book fascinating because it was, to me, an indictment of the privilege on which the superhero story is constructed. Loup Garron has special powers; speed, super-strength, yer basic 'I am an advanced biological construct' lego set. But,
Feb 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: meh, blog
The town of Santa Olivia lies between the U.S. and Mexican border, but becomes a sort of present day leper colony when it is walled off from the rest of the world. Apparently the epicenter of a particularly nasty flu virus, the U. S. military builds a base there so the soldiers can keep the townspeople in line. And, as governments are wont to do, it decides, "Hey, while we have this super-secret base cut off from the rest of the world, how's about we take the opportunity for a little genetic ...more
Stacia (the 2010 club)
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stacia (the 2010 club) by: Buddy read with Anna and Ian
It's raining snakes - hallelujah?
Snakes fell like rain, twisting in midair.

It's probably wrong that this is the second Snakes on a Plane thought I've had in weeks (be glad I didn't post the pic of snakes falling from the plane), but when I think of falling snakes, it's either that or Indiana Jones.

I am review-lazy this week, so I'll give a fast run-down of why I REALLY liked Santa Olivia :

The story was dark. It was strangely apocalyptic and/or screwy militant who-knows-what in form. I don't
Tamora Pierce
Jul 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
This is a science fiction novel from Carey, about the daughter about a genetically engineered soldier who escapes the lab and passes through a border zone created between the U.S. and Mexico (in the wake of a plague that came up from Mexico--I wonder how Carey feels now, since the copyright date is April 2009, the same month reports of H1N1 virus became news, which means that Carey would have handed the manuscript in a year earlier!). Loup is born to her single mother when her father is forced ...more
5 awesome vigilante stars!

I wonder how many of the negative reviews for this book are based on the fact that, being a Jacqueline Carey book, people automatically expect "Kushiel style".

Well, this is definitely not "Kushiel style". It doesn't even resemble it. It is a totally different type of story written in an absolutely different manner. And I absolutely LOVED IT!!!

It's a light and engaging read about an unlikely heroine born in an isolated military buffer zone between Mexico and the U.S..
I LOVE this author. That said, it isn't my favorite of hers, but it was very enjoyable. I think the world was a bit confusing for me. I felt like the environment that the story was set in was kind of hard to grasp. The characters were interesting, but the world was not enjoyable to be in as others. That said, it sets up a GREAT sequel, so I can't wait to read it, like everything else by Ms. Carey! Huge fan!
Duffy Pratt
Oct 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is your basic dystopian boxing fable with a mutant lesbian werewolf superhero/saint as the main character. I know that sounds completely ludicrous. But Carey makes it work rather well, and the book was just a pleasure to read. She writes with such ease and clarity here. And I really liked several of the characters here. I also especially liked how she dealt with a main character who was simply incapable of feeling fear, or any of its related emotions. She treats it basically as another form ...more
Lex Kent
This is a really great book. I loved it. Really well written and engaging story-line. If you like stories with a dystopian feel, where the world is different due to war and disease.. Don't pass this one up!
The main character is likable and even though she doesn't have many of the same feeling we do, she's written well enough that you feel for her and root for her to succeed.
I know the second book didn't get as good of reviews (people says its a bit mushy between Loup and Pillar) but I'm
Paul Weimer
Mar 22, 2009 rated it liked it
(NB: I received this as an ARC)
Santa Olivia is the latest book by Jacqueline Carey, who is better known for, and much better known for the Sundering Duology, and much much better known for two Kushiel trilogies. While the former is a take on classic fantasy and the latter are milestone in dark, sensual fantasy, Santa Olivia is a completely different kettle of fish.

The press information provided to me describes Santa Olivia as Jacqueline Carey's take on comic book superheroes and the classic
Nov 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is the post-apocalyptic gay superhero with soulbonds underdog sports story OF MY HEART. While quality may vacillate between three and four stars, it's, like, at least a six on my enjoyment scale. You got your apocalypse in my scrappy kids working together novel! You got your gay soul bonds in my underdog boxing tournament story! Ignore the description on the back; it's dumb. This is like Annie crossed with X-Men crossed with Escape from New York crossed with Rocky crossed with the ...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
My summary here is a little long, because the premise and set-up is a tad complicated, but I haven't really shared much more than the blurb itself does. I did want to explain the situation though, because I found it confusing at first. If you're leery of even mild spoilers (can't blame you), feel free to skip this review. It's mostly the background - the first, oh, three chapters - that I talk about here.

At some point in the near future, a devastating influenza epidemic sweeps over North
Buddy read with Anna & Ace.

Loup was born on Santa Olivia's day in a military occupied buffer zone along the Mexican border. Her mother was one of the citizens of Outpost, her father was a super soldier who escaped from the lab where he was made.

As Loup grows she witnesses the injustices perpetrated by the military overlords on the citizens of Outpost, until one day after a friend is raped and the military take no action she decides to take matters into her own hands. Taking on the guise of
Lasairfiona Smith
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: iown, havereadin2009
Are you looking for another Phedra? You aren't going to find her here. You aren't going to find the sex or the epic adventure either. If this is what you are in the mood for, you should probably go elsewhere.

However, if you are up for a quick adventure that is self contained and a bit more real than the fantasy that you are used to from Carey, this is worth a look.

Loup (pronounced Lou actually) has some crazy genetics. She is fast, super strong, and has no fear. Literally. This actually poses a
Santa Olivia was a reread, but it’s been a while — six (what?!) years, apparently. I never read the sequel, Saints Astray, so between getting that and having bought my sister the books for Christmas, it seemed high time to reread this and get stuck into Saints Astray. It was even more readable than I remembered — I’d have read it in a day if pesky life didn’t keep getting in the way. It takes a whole bunch of ideas — a faintly post-apocalyptic No-Man’s-Land in the Outpost, genetically modified ...more
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more
I loved this book.

I didn't know I loved it until somewhere between 66-75%. Before that, I had liked it. A LOT. But the love kinda sneaked up on me. That's the best kind of love, I think. The kind that lies quietly, waiting for you to come around to its inevitability.

Loup and Piral are like that too. Of all of the many, many things I love about Santa Olivia, I think it's the hopefulness that I love the most. Loup's world is not a happy place, and throughout the story it becomes increasingly
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read it in one sitting. Finished at 4am.

Enough said.
I last read Carey back before my GR reviewing days when my sexuality was still an unquestioned landscape and my career path a seemingly guaranteed if empty grind. Much has changed in the seven (or is it eight now) years since, but everything is still too much in flux for my tastes, which is perhaps why this bildungsroman of a bioengineered superwoman which cuts off at the spry young age of below 20 didn't take. I'm too old to read about children puzzling out their lusts and their strengths and ...more
Rachel Brown
Dec 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Given that this is about a lesbian Latina boxer who is genetically unable to feel fear, I have no idea why it took me so long to get to it. It is not only exactly up my alley, but is very well-written, gripping, moving, sometimes funny, sometimes sexy, and probably of wide appeal even to people who don’t find that premise instantly charming.

In the not-quite-post-apocalyptic near future, the town of Santa Olivia has been cordoned off as part of a gigantic effort to seal the border between the US
Jun 22, 2009 rated it liked it
The different sections of this book didn't seem to go together to me, genre-wise.

There's the first, shortest, section, really an introduction, which is a gritty, dystopian, very plausible near-future in which the border region between the US and Mexico has been militarized and the citizenship of the denizens revoked. In fact, in legal terms they no longer exist and their presence is forgotten by the general public, although the soldiers use the towns as bases and take advantage of the poverty of
*Sorry any grammatical error, English is not my native language*

Let me tell you ... I loved this story.
A solid 5 and if this plataform had more stars I could fucking give!
Starting from the beginning, the cover of the book ... Yeah, beautiful.
Not only the art itself, but the feel of the cover, I love covers this way. They are a differential.
One of the other things I liked was how the author describes the main character's bakcground, telling the story from her mother's life to the moment she meets
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
An entertaining dystopian/superhero novel that never reaches its full potential. I was intrigued by the description and the first few pages, but in retrospect the story itself is a bit of a letdown.

Santa Olivia is set along the U.S.-Mexico border in what's implied to be the not-so-distant future. The book starts strong, the first 40 pages following a young woman named Carmen living in a militarized outpost, before moving on to the real protagonist, her daughter Loup. Loup has superhero powers
Shan( Shans_Shelves) 💜
CW: Rape(off page but discussed in detail), alcohol abuse, death, grief, murder, violence, misogynistic language, ableist language, attempted sexual assault, physical violence, death of a dog, drugs mentioned, cheating.

Rep: Queer main character, sapphic characters, side polyamorous relationship, f/f romance, Poc.

Santa Olivia was basically what happens when Stranger Things meets Rocky, only a whole lot gayer and it was glorious!

This was a unique take on a book that shouldn’t have worked so
Jun 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Despite the description that surrounds this novel, it isn't a superhero/werewolf novel, so don't think you're going to read about werewolves.

It's better than that. Much better.

While the novel isn't about werewolves, it is about superheros, or at least what makes a heroine. Carey is playing with the superhero genre for much of the book. There are references to X-Men, Wolverine in particular, and Superman. Many of the plot points are similar to those used in comics - the outsider with superpowers,
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is not the American superhero story you’re used to.

Santa Olivia is the soul of Zorro in the body of Logan.

There’s a reason this story is titled after the town, rather than any of the other characters. This story is about the power of hope and humanity fighting to arise against immeasurable adversity. While the stories prime focus, especially by the end, is Loup the story of her parents the place where she grew up are just as important because they are part of who she is.

I’m not surprised
Jun 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: urban-fantasy
One thing that amazes me with this novel is Carey's scope as a writer. With the Kushiel sextuplet she was graceful and highly engaging with her intelligent main characters, spinning sentences like colorful and erotic thread; with this book, her main character is more physical and so her writing takes on a greater physicality and brevity. Parsed phrases create intense moments, highlighting the fearless nature of her heroine, the simplicity that she brings to bear in her worldview.

Unlike the
rating: 4.5/5

A superhero novel that takes the typical superhero origin story and mixes it up into a surprisingly deep novel. While contemptuously regarding power structures with an analysis of the power of sexuality (and the role of women within power structures), it creates an understated, but relatable, superhero.

The diversity and depth of characters made this a page turner. Additionally, although Loup may be the offspring of a genetically modified rogue soldier, she isn't "the hero" but a
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks, 2017
Count on Carey to write excellent characters.

I didn't really read the description when I checked this one out on Overdrive, I just saw it was a book 1 from Carey I hadn't read yet, so when I started listening to it, I was a bit surprised. I'm not entirely sure whether Carey is prescient, or whether the jokes about the present world becoming a dystopia are now entirely accurate, but this prominently features a wall between the United States and Mexico, and a no-man's land near it.

The main
This was slow to start for me, but I ended up being really invested in the plot and a few of the characters, although others frustratingly remained enigmas when I don't think Carey intended them to be. Honestly, the writing in here isn't anything to write home about, which doesn't bother me for a plot-driven book like this, but I have to admit it REALLY irked me how Carey used "could/should/have of" when she meant "could/should/would've"throughout the entire book. HOW DID AN EDITOR NOT CATCH ...more
Rep: Latina-Haitian bi mc, bi li

the only problem i had with this book was the author's describing the mixed race characters as having 'caramel colored' and 'milk chocolate' skin. please. stop.
Nov 20, 2009 rated it liked it
I liked this even more upon rereading it. On to book #2!
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Jacqueline Carey (born 1964 in Highland Park, Illinois) is an author and novelist, primarily of fantasy fiction.

She attended Lake Forest College, receiving B.A.'s in psychology and English literature. During college, she spent 6 months working in a bookstore as part of a

Other books in the series

Santa Olivia (2 books)
  • Saints Astray (Santa Olivia, #2)
“After you, it's all cheap tequila.” 50 likes
“Hear, hear.' Sister Martha hoisted her water glass. 'Let the rigid stick of self-righteousness be dislodged from her very uptight ass.'
Father Ramon coughed.
'A-fucking-men,' Loup supplied helpfully.”
More quotes…