Roni O’Connell’s Chameleon’s Spell was a fun read over all, but I did have some issues with things which I feel perhaps a bit of editing and re-working would fix. But again, in a complete “meal” this book was fun to read. It is a story about a girl who has grown up far to fast for anyone her age, which is just about to turn 18, because of her half-immortal race of a chameleon. The idea behind this fantasy read is this is a world after a great war between what the author labels Immortals and humans. Immortals being shifters; (there are were’s from bugs to wolves), Daemon’s in several different “flavors”; (which are different from demon’s mind you in straight mythology. Daemon’s, according to my OED, are benevolent spirits from the Hellenistic period and philosophy. O’Connell shows they are good over all but just as with human’s not all of them turn out as good on average) and we are also introduced to Chameleon’s; which our protagonist is half on her mother’s side. There are a few others discussed but these are the ones we are given the most info on.
The main protag, Juliet, is just trying to create a life for herself. She owns a cabin in the woods (liked this part) with a lake which she swims in and a forest which has no-hunting allowed. Immortals do not have full citizenship so she keeps her bloodline secret from everyone and the laws are not there for their protection as much as they are there because of treaties to keep the peace. For every immortal there are over a thousand humans, so immortals, mainly because of the war and because of their long lives (not really immortal) they do not “breed” as fast as humans.
I know I usually do not do this much explaining but I don’t want you, if you choose to pick this up, to get frustrated in the beginning like I did and not finish reading it. If I had I would have missed the best part of the book, which is the meat of it. This is why I think perhaps a bit of an edit or maybe some more fleshing out would benefit the complete experience of the read.
The only reason I think this can be labeled as mature young adult is there are a few aspects she has to deal with which are touched upon which would fit it into the young adult arena. It is somewhat of a coming of age story because Juliet is dealing with learning how to deal with her newly emerging immortal breed’s talents, she also has to deal with the fact she is so beautiful humans fall at her feet in adulation, which can be quite a pain in the ass when she just wants to be left alone, especially after a few horrific things which have happened in her past. Otherwise, I really wouldn’t call it young adult. It is more fantasy or post-apocalyptic fantasy even, just because it is happening in a post war world build.
The problem with labeling could be because the author doesn’t really give us a good info dump. Some of you maybe going yay, me? It is Fantasy, I need a bit of info dumping so I can get the lay of the land, especially when you are not using a typical fantasy creatures. Or you are putting your own spin on the creatures. Not enough time was given to flesh the immortals out, heck I just remembered there are angels in the immortal races. So we have Hellenistic Greek, Judea Christian Angels, paranormal were’s (though I know these were sprinkled throughout a lot of different cultures) and then Chameleon’s which are not Greek; because she would be associated with air and this Chameleon’s is associated with water and talks about how her immortal side was once confused with Mermaids.. see how it could be a bit confusing?
Perhaps I am being to over-analytical and I decided I was after tearing my hair out at 25% when I had figured out the main mystery already. It still meant there had to be more to it than the mystery, right? There was, much more and it ramped up about at the 40-45% mark and had me completely taken in. If I was to describe this as hamburger I would say the top of the bun was the beginning and was too thick but not dense enough (as in not enough information for me to fully grasp and get taken in), the majority of the rest of the story was a gourmet burger of good quality and the ending… was the heel left over from a loaf bread. I say this because I got to the end and didn’t realize it ended and kept trying to turn the page only to realize I was at 100% finished. It felt rushed and was not complete. I felt let down and almost cheated. I really do hope there is a sequel because to many things were left hanging.
But these are things which probably won’t bother most people because the main bit of the story was entertaining. I really did enjoy it and I loved Daniel and Juliet. I won’t go any further into my issues with the development of their relationship because I am not exactly one to have a firm grasp at today’s romance troupes. He kind of went from asshole to awesome in nine-seconds flat, hehe.
Over all because of my own issues I am giving this a 7 out of 10 (or a 3.5 stars). I do recommend this book for those who are not heavy fantasy readers and who like urban fantasy with a new twist. On thing I do want to stress is this does have triggers for those who have experienced domestic violence and or abuse from a partner. Just to keep that in mind, not huge ones but enough where it could be an issue. It was a little rough but entertainment wise? I truthfully could not put it down after I hit the 40% mark. I needed to know what was going what was going to happen next. What Juliet would do with her good intentions and how they would effect the world around her. Where Daniel would fit in, what would happen to the were pack on her land, what about past loves, what about damaged lives?!! The author caused me to to have a need, and I need a sequel…
The original review is on CABINGODDESS.COM and is a REVIEW & a RECIPE. I have a recipe for Vegetarian Smoked Porter Chili, which is to DIE for and even will have meat eaters tricked into thinking they are having a really good bowl of mean laden chili!