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.