diverse december: LGBT+ in SFF

And here we are! I’ve reached bingo – and WHAT A BOOK to finish with!

Santa Olivia is a dystopian science-fiction novel by Jacqueline Carey. It follows Loup Garron, a young queer girl who also happens to be the daughter of a Wolf-Man – a soldier who has been genetically engineered to stronger, faster, and utterly without fear. (This is literal – and hugely interesting.)

This novel starts off slowly, I’m not going to lie. We begin with Loup’s mother and quite a lot of general worldbuilding. In retrospect, this was absolutely crucial, because there are lot of different facets to this world that I can’t even begin to summarise here. Basically, the only way out of the town of Santa Olivia, which is occupied by the military, is to win a boxing match. The only problem? The opponent is a Wolf-Man. Now, boxing is not my thing. I never thought I would be bouncing up and down on my bed, desperate to hear the outcome of a boxing match. But Carey’s writing made it one of the most exciting fights I have ever read in my life. Seriously, this book is worth it just for the last 50 pages and its CRAZY ASS SHIT.

At first, I really wasn’t sure what I thought about the LGBT+ representation. It isn’t clear whether Loup is bi or gay, which I know isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but she does have sex with men. It is a personal pet peeve of mine when a character’s sexuality isn’t made clear. I also wasn’t a huge fan of Loup’s main love interest, Pilar. However, as the novel went along, I was swept up in their doomed romance, and really found myself empathising with the two of them.

I love this take on classic werewolf/superhero myths. The fact that Loup is a young, queer, Latina woman makes every aspect of it take on an extremely political and powerful message. Bicep-flexing masculinity can’t win here. But a small young girl can. I’ve already downloaded the sequel, and I cannot wait to read it.

I’m gonna end this with a quick thank you to everyone who created the Diversity December Bingo, and the Diversity Bingo 2017 (which I am 100% doing). They’ve done an amazing job with organising everything, and I’ve had a fantastic time reading and discovering new blogs.

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15 thoughts on “diverse december: LGBT+ in SFF

  1. Read Diverse Books says:

    I’ve had this book on my Goodreads TBR forever!! I think I saw it on a list of LGBTQ or Latinx rep in SFF, so I added it. Glad to hear you liked it! My interest in it has suddenly resurfaced 😀 I had forgotten about this book entirely because I have never seen it in the blogosphere until now. Thank you!

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  2. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    Insightful review, Wendy. What a fascinating premise. I imagine I would go into this thinking that it might not interest me, as I am not particularly interested in boxing or well, fighting in general. But your review intrigues me! I love Science Fiction and Fantasy… I might need to check this out!

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    • whatthelog says:

      Thanks! There’s so much that I had to leave out of the review as well – there’s a whole episode where Loup impersonates the saint that her town is named after (Saint Olivia) and there’s some really great stuff about religion and the power of small girls. 🙂
      Awesome, I hope you do!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Liam @ Hey Ashers! says:

    Oh, I’m intrigued!

    But the whole “doomed romance” thing really puts me off, doubly so if Pilar is female. I did a super-quick search through reviews and Google, and I still don’t know Pilar’s gender, though. Help me out?

    I’ll be looking forward to your review of the sequel! =)

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    • whatthelog says:

      Pilar is female – I should have mentioned that! And yeah, I get that. It doesn’t feel like a stereotypical doomed romance though, because their separation after Loup’s boxing fight is narratively inevitable. It doesn’t feel forced, which is my main problem with that trope.
      Thanks!

      Liked by 2 people

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