Publisher: Grand Central Publishing/Hatchette Book Group, 2011
Book Blurb: Fellow orphans, amateur vigilantes, and members of the Santitos, Loup Garron – the fugitive daughter of a genetically engineered “wolf man” – and Pilar Ecchevarria grew up in the military zone of Outpost 12, formerly known as Santa Olivia. But now they’re free, and they want to help the rest of the Santitos escape. During a series of escapades, they discover that Miguel, Loup’s former sparring partner and reprobate surrogate brother, has escaped from Outpost 12 and is testifying on behalf of its forgotten citizens – at least until he disappears from protective custody. Honor drives Loup to rescue Miguel, even though entering the U.S could mean losing her liberty. Pilar vows to help her.
It will take a daring and absurd caper to extricate Miguel from the mess he’s created but Loup is prepared to risk everything… and this time she has help.
My Opinion: This book took me so long to read. I was not invested in it at all, and I was waiting for it to be over. If it wasn’t such a short book, I would have given up on it.
It shares nothing with the first book except for the flaws. There is gratuitous sex, profanity and overuse of the word “baby”. I was so tired of all of the fade-outs on Pilar and Loup having sexy-times by page 50. It felt like every 5-10 pages there was some mention of it. We get it. The two of them are in love. They like having sex. I have no issues with sex in books, but it was overkill.
In my review of book one, I was very happy with Jacqueline Carey’s character development. The selfishness, the anguish. Even though we never got a really good look in Loup’s head, the characters still felt solid. That aspect was severely lacking in Saints Astray. None of the characters had any substance to them, Loup especially. I know that being fearless would make her different, but for someone who is supposed to be essentially human, she was exceptionally blank.
Then we have the story. I think rather than Saints Astray, the title should have been “Saints Adrift”. Loup and Pilar set off on an adventure as bodyguards. Technically, the writing is great, but story-wise… the writing was severely lacking. Their being bodyguards was so unrelated to Outpost that it just made me sit and stare at the book for a minute. Then when Outpost-related things happened, they happened so fast. The worldbuilding remains thin, and even when Loup and Pilar are asked to explain their exploits, they respond with “That is a bit of a weird story”. If your characters don’t even know why they did what they did… it probably wasn’t a good choice. Overall, not worth the ending and having everything tied up for the series.
Also, for people being one-in-a-hundred to find Loup appealing rather than repulsive… there sure seemed to be a lot of them in the book.
Bottom Line: Jacqueline Carey remains strong technically, but Saints Astray is so glaringly different from book one that I found it to be jarring and unsatisfying, not to mention a little boring.