Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver: 5/10 Stars

 

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The city of Parole is burning. Like Venice slips into the sea, Parole crumbles into fire.

The entire population inside has been quarantined, cut off from the rest of the world, and left to die – directly over the open flame. Eye in the Sky, a deadly and merciless police force ensures no one escapes. Ever. All that’s keeping Parole alive is faith in the midst of horrors and death, trust in the face of desperation… and their fantastic, terrifying, and beautiful superhuman abilities.

Regan, stealth and reconnaissance expert with a lizard’s scales and snake’s eyes, is haunted by ten years of anxiety, trauma and terror, and he’s finally reached his limit. His ability to disappear into thin air isn’t enough: he needs an escape, and he’ll do anything for a chance. Unluckily for him, Hans, a ghostly boy with a chilling smile, knows just the thing to get one. It starts with a little murder.

But instead of ending a man’s life, Regan starts a new one of his own. He turns away from that twisted path, and runs into Evelyn, fearless force on stage and sonic-superheroic revolutionary on the streets. Now Regan has a choice – and a chance to not only escape from Parole, but unravel the mystery deep in its burning heart. And most of all, discover the truth about their own entwining pasts.

They join forces with Evelyn’s family: the virtuosic but volatile Danae, who breathes life into machines, and her wife Rose, whose compassionate nature and power over healing vines and defensive thorns will both be vital to survive this nightmare. Then there’s Zilch, a cool and level-headed person made of other dead people, and Finn, one of Parole’s few remaining taxi drivers, who causes explosions whenever he feels anything but happy.

Separately they’d never survive, much less uncover the secret of Parole’s eternally-burning fire. Together, they have a chance. Unfortunately, Hans isn’t above playing dirty, lying, cheating, manipulating… and holding Regan’s memories hostage until he gets his way.

Parole’s a rough place to live. But they’re not dead yet. If they can survive the imminent cataclysmic disaster, they might just stay that way…

 

 

Add it on Goodreads or buy it on Amazon.

 

Overall Rating: 5/10 stars

Arthur’s Review: 1/5 Stars

The rep in this book is exactly what I want. Casual queerness. Non binary characters, binary trans characters, gay characters. Just. Characters who HAPPEN TO BE QUEER and it’s NBD. It’s exactly what I want, especially in speculative fiction.

Unfortunately the book itself fell flat for me. I could not immerse myself in this world. I was bored from the start and I couldn’t get into it the entire time. I don’t know if it’s the POV-shifting – so much head hopping – or what but as much as I wanted to like this book because yes please give me casual queerness…I couldn’t.

 

Leigh’s Review: 4/5 Stars

Part of me wants to take this book, wrap myself up in it, and roll around squealing. Queer superheroes! Strong female characters! Happy polyamorous relationships! Yay! I’m a character-focused reader, and this book has a beautiful diverse cast of likeable characters with all different identities, abilities, orientations, and appearances. Everyone is so understanding of everyone else’s traumas and struggles and pronouns and feelings, it’s like some kind of perfect dream world… except it’s been on fire for ten years and the ground is collapsing beneath their feet.

I’m not a big fan of dystopian fiction and tend to get bored with it, but the setting here felt new and unique. This is not just another ho-hum post-war/zombie apocalypse/alien invasion kind of setting. I am not sure how a city can stay alive and functioning on top of a giant pit of fire, but I’m willing to suspend disbelief because it’s cool and I like the idea.

That said, another part of me feels a little bit confused. I enjoyed the mystery and the twists and turns of the plot, and I loved the characters, but something didn’t click with me. I didn’t leave the book with that satisfied-yet-curious “what happens next?!” feeling. I know there’s a sequel, so there should be questions left at the end of the story, but some of the more basic questions never got the answers they should have. I occasionally felt like things were happening Because Plot, and couldn’t follow the progression of logic or events. There were some editorial errors that irked me as I read, as well.

I wavered between three and four stars for Chameleon Moon, because “confused” is not how I want to feel at the end of a book, but I loved the characters so, so much and the whole concept of the book makes me happy, so in the end it turns out I’m willing to overlook some of my qualms

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