Saints Astray

Saints Astray  - Jacqueline Carey Saints Astray by Jacqueline Carey is the follow-up to 2009's Santa Olivia and follows Loup and Pilar as they adjust to life outside Outpost 12. The first place they land after their daring escape is in the backseat of a car for a near cross country drive to meet with representatives of the Mexican Government, a U.S. Senator sympathetic to their plight, and a mysterious third party. While there the girls get treated to a posh (one of Carey's favorite descriptors, apparently) hotel and a major shopping trip, courtesy of the mysterious third party, who it turns out, wants to offer Loup a job as a body guard to high-profile, supremely wealthy clientele. Before either agrees, they decide to head down to the little beach town where Loup's cousins have been living freely as GMOs. After a few weeks spent in quiet freedom, the girls decide to accept Magnus's (mysterious third party) offer of a job at Global securities on the condition that Loup and Pilar work as a team. Magnus agrees as long as Pilar passes the physical test at the end of six weeks of boot camp.I don't feel I'm giving too much away to say that they both pass, as anyone reading the novels would know that Loup and Pilar can't be separated for very long. After passing, they get various jobs, hijinks ensue, confidence is gained (for Pilar), and the girls make a nice bit of money. Eventually they end up doing security work for a band, which leads them to a full-time contract with the band (named Kate, after Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew). Loup becomes quite a thing and gains almost as much notoriety as the band. This whole while, Loup and Pilar have been keeping Outpost's secrets (mainly the means of their escape). The U.S. government denies the existence of the outposts and considers Loup government property. As such, she would be taken into custody the moment she set foot on U.S. soil using her real name. (Conveniently, Magnus has supplied them with fake Canadian passports, which have allowed them to galavant across the globe). Loup finally reveals everything to the band, and they take her and GMO rights up as a cause. Because of this and their stellar personalities, all gets right in the world.Pilar and Loup's relationship issues are the main underpinning of the novel, and we have to deal with it on almost every single page. The get it on almost every night the narrative spends with them, and they deal with insecurities, past and present, just as frequently. This got old very quickly. I'm not complaining about the amount of discret sex; just its repetitiveness. I am complaining about how whiney Pilar is and about how often she rehashes past mistakes and subsequent guilt. I know that they are both teenagers, so that's part of it. Another part of this is that this a light novel for Carey, and she has to stifle her self-described naturally baroque voice. As a result, the teenage voice she conjures for Pilar mostly (because Loup is pretty damn deadpan) sounds false.These complaints aside, the novel is pure wish-fulfillment fun. They get out of hell, get some new clothes, some money, get famous and become general badasses who break decades-long government silence on wide-spread injustice. How cool is all that, right? The allegory for illegal aliens is obvious without being too heavy-handed, and the narrative moves at a fast enough pace that while it might be easy to get annoyed by the aforementioned issues, you don't get bored. These books are good light reading, as Carey intended them to be. I'll give it 3 1/2 stars, and stick to her more serious stuff (The Kusheline Legacy series) while I wait patiently for the new series to come out sometime next year and hope that she sticks to what she knows best; her own unique voice, which is what drew me to her writing in the first place.