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on 10 January 2012
I loved Santa Olivia. It was a book that refused to be categorised. Part sci-fi, part fantasy, part werewolf story. Part freaking Rocky, for crying out loud. It made me cry, bawl even, on public transport. And yet this, Saints Astray, was such an overwhelming disappointment that I had to force myself to finish it.

Where Santa Olivia was something different, sort of edgy urban fantasy, this was just bog standard, maybe even sub standard, paranormal romance. The fantasy/sci-fi bit is negligible this time around, with Loup being the offspring of a genetically modified organism, giving her the characteristics of super speed, strength, etc. That's about it. The rubbish paranormal romance bit came in when, every few pages, Loup and Pilar were going all gooey and romantic. It just grated on my nerves as there can only be so many times you read the word `baby' as a term of endearment. And for all they were supposed to be having lots of sex, there was hardly any on paper! That sounds awful and slightly pervy, but if you are going to mention it that much at least show some. I don't even like sex in books that much, it's rarely well written and in the few instances it even vaguely cropped up here, I can't say my opinion has changed all that much.

Most of the plotline was ridiculous, involving Loup and Pilar becoming highly paid bodyguards to lots of rich people. This basically allowed them to travel around the world and was a way to keep the plot going forward. It got stale and repetitive very quickly.

And the characters? Ugh. Loup and Pilar were great in Santa Olivia, flawed and believable. They sort of morphed into Mary Sue's here. They were too perfect, too in love and with zero conflicts. Okay, you could explain that away as the honeymoon period of their relationship and the honeymoon period of their escape from Santa Olivia but every character thinking them awesome on sight or eventually after a brief period of dislike? No way. I couldn't get behind that at all.

The novel's saving grace was towards the end when Miguel Garza required help to get him out of a pickle he found himself in. Loup and Pilar, in order to save Miguel and therefore the Santitos and Santa Olivia itself, feel compelled to travel to the US. A series of events happens resulting in the capture of Loup and the resulting separation from Pilar. It was only then that I begin to feel like these characters were even at all in a bit of peril or that they were even at all connected to the characters I loved in Santa Olivia.

A disappointment.
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on 28 September 2014
A good story although a little unbelievable in places. I give it only 4 stars because it does not match the excellence of the Kushiel's series.
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on 4 January 2012
This is the sequel to Santa Olivia, so it probably won't make much sense unless you've read that first. For those that have, it's a great book. Loup and Pilar, escaped from the occupied and impoverished town of Santa Olivia, finally get to have some fun! The book is a lot lighter in tone than the first one, although there are serious bits too. There's lots of humour and I laughed out loud more than once.

The plot: (Don't worry, I won't spoil the ending!) Loup gets offered a job as a bodyguard, which she accepts on condition Pilar comes too. So poor Pilar has to go through military training! When they get out into the real world, they have some amusing (mis)adventures on a couple of jobs before ending up working for a British rock band. Meanwhile Miguel Garza has been testifying about how the US Army has covered up the existence of Santa Olivia and other Outposts. Then Miguel gets kidnapped. Loup has to decide whether she will go back to the US to rescue him, even though in America she is legally property with no rights, and is wanted for breaking out of a military prison. And will Pilar risk losing her again?
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on 23 September 2013
I was wondering how this one would follow on from the first book in the series, but it did. Very enjoyable although the premise on this one was a bit more far fetched (to me) than the first book. Still plenty of action, plenty of character development, and the quality of writing was as always excellent.

I really don't want to write much more since I'll end up giving the story away or comparing it to the d'Angeline novels - and it deserves neither. Just trust me - buy Santa Olivia and this one together. They're worth it!
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