Santa Olivia
ISBN: 9780446198172

If it weren’t for the catalogue record, I wouldn’t have known this was a Military Scifi work.

Synopsis and potential PLOT-SPOILER!

Santa Olivia is the name of a saint in this town near the US-mexican border. The US army has isolated the town for some barely hinted reason. A superhybrid human (crossbred with dunno what) slips into town one day. Taken in by a fiercely independent woman, who eventually bears his daughter. She inherits her father superhuman strength, reflexes and agility. Her elder brother (whom their mother conceived earlier with a normal human/ soldier) and her eke out a living, with her brother training to be a boxer (winning the army-organised boxing matches will grant the winner a ticket to civilisation) while she is raised by the town church, along with a few other orphans. She grew up careful not to reveal her power. Her inherent weakness is that her kind knows no fear (and hence needs to be trained to be cautious).

Eventually she tells her fellow church orphans. When one of their fellow orphan was assaulted and unable to extract justice from the army, they decide to punish the guilty under the guise of the town saint appearing and delivering acts involving inhuman/ saintly feats.

When her brother dies from a fight (unfairly matched with another superhuman), she decides to secretly train as a boxer, knowing full well that the moment she reveals her true abilities, the army will not let her go free. True enough, she is taken into army custody (read the book to know if she wins the boxing match!).

As for what happens, read the novel!

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. Something suitable for a YP readers too, as the characters (developing from pre-teens to teens, to young adults) would be something YP readers might be able to relate to. The writing is tight and well-paced, and direct enough (don’t expect sophisticated plot and sub-plots).

As an adult reader and military Scifi fan, I enjoyed this as well. Not too heavy going. The author manages to make me turn and read the pages all the way till the end.