Chameleon Moon, by RoAnna Sylver
Publisher: The Zharmae Publishing Press
Release Date: October 27, 2014
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The city of Parole is burning. Like Venice slips into the sea, Parole crumbles into fire. Trapped inside is an entirely unlikely population of people with bizarre, beautiful, and terrifying abilities. When Regan, an anxiety-ridden hit man with the peeling skin of a lizard, meets Evelyn, a singer, revolutionary, and unofficial superhero, it’s up to them to get to the heart of the mystery of Parole and its quarantined inhabitants. Along with a diverse group of misfits, they will evade a deadly totalitarian police force, uncover the truth about their entwining pasts, and fight to survive a cataclysmic disaster.
Diverse Character Cast
I haven’t read a book that wasn’t a romance or at least had a romantic story arc in quite a while and usually, to be honest, they don’t really capture me and, um, I get easily bored. But not so this time. Right from the first page I was totally sucked in by the engaging writing style of the author, by the unusual– and also diverse– cast of characters, and by the mystery that is hidden in every pore of the book. Until the end, the reader is learning and discovering, and so I really don’t want to take away from your reading experience by telling you too much.
“But still, it must be so weird to you, to wake up in a city full of people with superpowers, who really probably shouldn’t have them…and hearing that any day we might fall into a fire.”
Regan aka Killer, one of the main characters, loses his memory after the first chapter and this not only allows for a natural revelation of the background story of Parole, but it’s also one of the most fascinating character developments I’ve ever read. Seriously, for this alone the book is worth it. I also, for some unknown to me reasons, love that he is a lizard.
From the larger cast of characters, I want to introduce you to the additional two I liked the most. Evelyn is a great trans character, one definitely not to be missed.
“I am strong,” Evelyn whispered to herself, eyes closed. “I am brave. I am a goddess who contains multitudes of galaxies. My spirit is infinite, my soul is towering, and my shoes are hella cute. I can do this.”
And my heart beats for this incredibly strong and burdened young man, Finn, who finds love with Zilch, a Zombie– whom he clearly can’t kill 😉
“He’s just a kid that turns into a bomb when he’s sad. And you wonder why he’s a little off? Permanent state of shell shock—and forcing himself to stay happy all the time, to protect the people around him. Nobody can be happy all the time, eventually it gets to be torture.”
There’s also a kid with three moms, a mechanical dog, a control freak and coma patient, and an empath burning with emotion.
I sometimes don’t like huge casts of characters, especially when the POVs alternate, but this is not the case here. The auctorial narrator has everything in their sight and so it feels whole and complete.
The book is full of vivid imagery, of suspense and mystery, of people finding a family and connection. I loved this book very, very much and I hope there will be more someday, as the author’s bio indicates. Highly recommended.
RoAnna Sylver is passionate about stories that give hope, healing and even fun for LGBT, disabled and other marginalized people, and thinks we need a lot more. Aside from writing oddly optimistic dystopia books, RoAnna is a blogger, artist, singer and voice actor.
She lives with family and a small snorking dog, and probably spends too much time playing videogames.
Chameleon Moon is the first book in a series, and the latest in RoAnna’s extensive short-fiction publishing history. RoAnna has worked as a contributing fiction writer, concept artist and voice actor for videogame company Phoenix Online Studios, been a background actor on several episodes of NBC’s Portland-based TV series Grimm, and now writes for entertainment news website Moviepilot.com.