27 September 2010

Book Banter -- Santa Olivia

Title: Santa Olivia
Author: Jacqueline Carey
Genre: sci-fi
Length: ~340 pages
Where Word Nerd's Copy Came From: Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library

Plot Basics: The border town of Santa Olivia has been forgotten -- a place between the U.S. and Mexico permanently under military rule after a deadly flu virus runs rampant. Born into the town is Loup Garron, the daughter of a local woman and a mysterious genetically engineered soldier. As Loup grows up, she becomes the town's greatest hope for redemption. Leading a rag-tag bunch of orphans, she takes up the mantle of the town's patron saint showing the occupying force the power of a single girl to lead a people to hope.

Banter Points: I'm a big fan of Carey's Kushiel series so I was excited to read something from her that wasn't high fantasy. The amazing thing is how different her writing is in this book compared to Kushiel. The Kushiel books are long and lush and beautiful and her prose matches that. Santa Olivia is sparse and clipped and much shorter and the tone exactly fit the story. It's also a good story, a plausible future that could happen if a real pandemic hits the world.

Bummer Points: It was never really clear what happened to the rest of the world that trapped Santa Olivia as it was. The flue was mentioned, but there was no sense of the scope of the problem in the world at large and why cordoning off Santa Olivia was so necessary until thevery end, and then, even that explanation was a little scarce.

Word Nerd Recommendation: If you like sci-fi that doesn't feel like sci-fi, this is a great read. Also, Carey fans should read it to see just how versatile of an author she is.

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