Series: The Forest People #1
Published by Windtree Press on 5/22/13
My content rating: YA (Some suggestions of sex, but nothing really shown)
No identity. That’s what it’s like to be a human chameleon, and sixteen-year-old Camryn Painter wonders if she'll ever figure out who the real Camryn is—or should be. Just looking at someone else will cause her body to change into that person. Her parents called it her gift. She calls it her curse.
Then Ohar, a man with impossibly good looks and an ethereal manner offers her a way to claim her birthright by joining the Mazikeen as part of the Forest People. He says she is “the chosen” of the Forest People. The prophecy indicates her powers are beyond any others and she will save their world.
Camryn had always loved the Redwoods at her back door. The stories her mother spun of its inhabitants kept her entertained for much of her childhood. The problem is the stories are real. The forest people are real, human yet not human. They are faery and beasts, evil and angels, mutations of humans and animals over thousands of years. Then there's Dagger, a young man who distrusts the Mazikeen and Ohar, but admits to being a thief and only interested in his own pleasure. All of them want the Chameleon for their own agenda.
With the help of Ohar and Dagger, Camryn learns to control her identity so that she can walk among more than one world. Yet the more Camryn learns, the more she suspects there are too many secrets — dangerous secrets. There are no easy answers, and every decision she makes puts someone’s life in danger.
I thought that Chameleon: The Awakening was a unique and interesting fantasy. The story follows Camryn, who has lived with her adoptive parents in a remote setting in order to hide the fact that she has an ability she can’t control – Camryn physically changes to look like anyone she’s near. But Camryn eventually finds out that she is supposed to be the key to the forest people’s survival – and there are many people who are willing to use her to get the outcome that they want.
What I enjoyed:
- The beginning. The book caught my attention right from the very beginning with intriguing forest creatures and a mysterious birth. I was hooked from the start, wondering who these creatures were, and I was immediately moved by their circumstances and the obvious sacrifice that they were making for their unborn child.
- Unique worldbuilding. Faire came up with a unique and interesting world that had many subtle complexities. She obviously worked long and hard mapping out the people of her forest world – their magic, their customs and their societies. I also thought that Faire wove the story of the forest people into the modern world that Camryn lived in really well.
- The escape. Camryn finds herself running from humans who want to use her, but she soon realizes that they are not the only ones who want something from her. Camryn has to decide who she can trust and who simply wants to use her for their own ends – and the answer to that question is not entirely simple. Camryn may have escaped from one form of bondage, but she finds herself in others and she can never quite break free. I’m interested to see where Faire goes with this in the next book.
- The love triangle. I wasn’t exactly a fan of either guy in the love triangle. Ohar seems like he’s supposed to be an upstanding person, but he obviously isn’t right for Camryn – from the very beginning it’s established that he’s in love with someone else. I didn’t really ever feel like there was a true chance that Ohar and Camryn would fall for each other, but it still kept getting thrown out there, since Ohar believes he’s supposed to marry Camryn in order to save his people. On the other hand, I think we were supposed to root for Dagger, and I kind of did, but I was never fully on board with the romance between him and Camryn. I mean, out of the two guys, I guess he was better, but that was all I could really say.
- Sometimes a little confusing. Since the worldbuilding was really complex, there were times when keeping it all straight got a little confusing. For the most part, I was fine, but there were points where I wasn’t exactly sure why certain things were happening.
So, overall, I enjoyed this book. And I’ll probably read the next one because I’m interested to see where Faire goes with the story. I give this book 3.5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from NetGalley and the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
I am the oldest of nine children. This means I can always raise an army to fight off evil doers whenever they appear. It also means I’m a control freak and like to be the boss.
My childhood was spent writing stories, making up plays and musicals, and hamming it up whenever anyone would pay attention. From about the age of 9 or 10, I would gather the entire neighborhood and force them into servitude to produce and act in these entertainments, all the while charging their poor families to watch the shows. Did I tell you I’m kind of bossy?
In High School, I continued to write stories, poetry, and plays. I was in the Drama Club all through school and had dreams of being the next Julie Andrews. Fortunately, my parents convinced me to go to college and choose a “sane” profession that would put food on the table until I became a star.
College lead me to degrees in psychology, counseling, and education.
Firmly believing that fantasy and reality are not in opposition, I found that psychology was indeed a great foundation for everything: secretary, bottle labeler, business assistant, sales of both things and people skills, actor, computer programmer, teacher, wife, mother, friend, and of course for being a boss. (It all comes full circle doesn’t it?)
I’ve finally found the perfect profession. One where I have complete control of entire worlds and the people in them. One where fantasy and reality do more than coexist, they embrace each other. One where I can still force induce people to listen to me, to pay attention, and to give me money. Really, what’s more fun than that?