Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saints Astray by Jacqueline Carey

 I summarily panned the first book in this series - didn't realize Carey was going to write a sequel - I thought it was just something from her early work she'd capitalized on her newfound fame to publish. This one seemed a bit better, though it seems she has a problem deciding whether she's writing for a young adult or a true adult audience.

In Saints Astray we pick up the tale of Loup, a genetically modified organism (basically human, with enhancements to strength, speed, etc.) who used to live in an Outpost or military compound where she and other residents were permanently exiled. She won her freedom in a boxing match against another GMO who was a member of the military, but was thrown in jail after her victory, tortured for a while, but helped to escape by her erstwhile opponent. She and her lover, Pilar, escaped through a tunnel at the end of Santa Olivia, and are now stateless persons.

There's a hint of Pygmalion in this tale, when the head of Global Security, Magnus Lindberg, offers Loup a job working for his company. He feels that some celebrities and other wealthy folks will enjoy the novelty of having the one and only free GMO playing bodyguard for them, and expects to make a tidy profit selling her services. Loup insists that Pilar be hired, as well, for her bartending and administrative skills, and the two end up going to Scottland for six weeks to be trained by former special forces types in the nitty gritty of the protection business.

They are given several opportunities to earn their pay after they are trained, and swiftly turn out to be a fantastic team, or addition to normal human security teams.

The threat of being exposed as a GMO, who have been determined to have no human rights (in the USA, anyway, not sure of their exact status elsewhere in the world), and imprisoned again, or worse, is still hanging over Loup's head. In their final assignment, they develop strong friendships with the members of a pop band called Kate, and when Loup shares her story with them, the band decides that it's time they got involved with the GMO cause, politically a la Bono.

The tale moves pretty quickly, and has some good action scenes, some mildly risque sex scenes, and some extraordinarily maudlin sentimental whining by young and often star-crossed lovers Loup and Pilar. I still think Carey's best work was with the Terre d'Ange novels, and I'm not thrilled with anything else she's done.

1 comment:

Sally Bibrary said...

I've been curious about her work outside the Terre d'Ange universe, but it doesn't seem to have the same edge or passion.

Like yourself, I thought perhaps the first book in this series was either an old manuscript she dusted off, or an attempt to cash in with the YA crowd.

Maybe her new urban fantasy series will buck the trend and get us back to what she does best.