as you may know from existing on tumblr, there is an embarrassment of white straight cismale superhero stories. And I don’t mean that just insofar as the superhero is white/straight/cismale, but also that his narrative is incredibly invested in maintaining his privilege. Because not only does he have an incredible power (technological genius, superhuman strength, oodles of cash) that gives him more agency than anyone else, but he has the unbiased insight that enables him to act on behalf of everyone less capable and less wise. It’s some pretty intense White Man’s Burden shit. 
And that is the first thrilling thing about Santa Olivia (Jacqueline Carey), is that not only is the superheroine Latina, but also, she exercises her power in service to her community and her family, a vessel for their frustrated and helpless rage rather than deciding for them what they need. Loup is instinctive, frank, loyal, and not really interested in politics. She’s raised in a church with other orphans in a small formerly USAmerican border town occupied by US troops. And she acts with the other (superpowerless) orphans to become a symbol for her town— Santa Olivia, its patron saint.
There’s also a lot of boxing— BOXING FOR JUSTICE.
And the second exciting thing is that LOUP IS QUEER, which I DIDN’T KNOW, which shocked me right out of my pants, UNEXPECTED QUEERNESS, TEN POINTS FOR LOUP. She is also gray-asexual/demisexual! She explicitly does not have sexual interest in anyone, male or female, except this one girl, doesn’t take pleasure from sex until this girl, is shocked out of her skin by her attraction to this one girl. (Note: I know fairly little about demi & asexuality, so please let me know if I’m misrepresenting it.)
And that brings me to the last thrilling thing, I mean not really last, this entire book is thrilling and revolutionary and feelingsfeelingsfeelings, but the third specific thing that slayed me dead was its treatment of the girl Loup likes, Pilar. Pilar is a gold digger and a flirt and a bartender, and her only skills are domestic/feminine, and she’s scared of being with Loup. She’s exactly the girl that tumblr hates, and oh my god but this book forces you to love her:


I know you all think that I’m shallow and vain because I’ve got a pretty face and great tits and I want to marry a rich guy, but you know what? I don’t care. It’s what I’ve got to work with.


And Pilar/Loup forever, Pilar/Loup unto death, they will kill you, they are perfect
But even more perfect is how this book is secretly all about family, about Loup’s big gentle responsible brother, about the fake nun who raises the town’s orphans, about how the town screams as one at the boxing rink for Santa Olivia’s champions. About how you will too, and also you will cry, and also you might pee a little.
trigger warnings for offscreen rape, pedophilia, and domestic violence, as well as onscreen non-graphic torture (hosing)

as you may know from existing on tumblr, there is an embarrassment of white straight cismale superhero stories. And I don’t mean that just insofar as the superhero is white/straight/cismale, but also that his narrative is incredibly invested in maintaining his privilege. Because not only does he have an incredible power (technological genius, superhuman strength, oodles of cash) that gives him more agency than anyone else, but he has the unbiased insight that enables him to act on behalf of everyone less capable and less wise. It’s some pretty intense White Man’s Burden shit. 

And that is the first thrilling thing about Santa Olivia (Jacqueline Carey), is that not only is the superheroine Latina, but also, she exercises her power in service to her community and her family, a vessel for their frustrated and helpless rage rather than deciding for them what they need. Loup is instinctive, frank, loyal, and not really interested in politics. She’s raised in a church with other orphans in a small formerly USAmerican border town occupied by US troops. And she acts with the other (superpowerless) orphans to become a symbol for her town— Santa Olivia, its patron saint.

There’s also a lot of boxing— BOXING FOR JUSTICE.

And the second exciting thing is that LOUP IS QUEER, which I DIDN’T KNOW, which shocked me right out of my pants, UNEXPECTED QUEERNESS, TEN POINTS FOR LOUP. She is also gray-asexual/demisexual! She explicitly does not have sexual interest in anyone, male or female, except this one girl, doesn’t take pleasure from sex until this girl, is shocked out of her skin by her attraction to this one girl. (Note: I know fairly little about demi & asexuality, so please let me know if I’m misrepresenting it.)

And that brings me to the last thrilling thing, I mean not really last, this entire book is thrilling and revolutionary and feelingsfeelingsfeelings, but the third specific thing that slayed me dead was its treatment of the girl Loup likes, Pilar. Pilar is a gold digger and a flirt and a bartender, and her only skills are domestic/feminine, and she’s scared of being with Loup. She’s exactly the girl that tumblr hates, and oh my god but this book forces you to love her:

I know you all think that I’m shallow and vain because I’ve got a pretty face and great tits and I want to marry a rich guy, but you know what? I don’t care. It’s what I’ve got to work with.

And Pilar/Loup forever, Pilar/Loup unto death, they will kill you, they are perfect

But even more perfect is how this book is secretly all about family, about Loup’s big gentle responsible brother, about the fake nun who raises the town’s orphans, about how the town screams as one at the boxing rink for Santa Olivia’s champions. About how you will too, and also you will cry, and also you might pee a little.

trigger warnings for offscreen rape, pedophilia, and domestic violence, as well as onscreen non-graphic torture (hosing)

138 notes
santa olivia. jacqueline carey. book rec. books. ALSO IT HAS A SEQUEL WHICH I JUST BOUGHT SO TEN POINTS TO ME. loup and i are now tied for points.

  1. mumblemob reblogged this from delladilly
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  10. freegladelancer reblogged this from pyroclast-hasanewblog and added:
    I loved this book for so many of the reasons listed above! AND BOXING SERIOUSLY HOW COULD IT BE ANY MORE AWESOME
  11. argyleredhead reblogged this from delladilly
  12. makireblogs reblogged this from pfdiva and added:
    Adding this to my Christmas list~~~!
  13. queenofzan reblogged this from lizardfaery and added:
    Santa Olivia has quickly become one of my “reread it for comfort” books, because QUEER SUPERHERO LADIES OF COLOR AND...
  14. aid-me reblogged this from delladilly and added:
    A very good pair of books when you include it’s sequel Saints Astray, but I pretty much love everything by Jacqueline...
  15. lizardfaery reblogged this from delladilly
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