Sunday, July 07, 2013

Review: Chameleon by Kelly Oram

Title: Chameleon
Author: Kelly Oram
Genre: Young-Adult, Paranormal-Fantasy
Series: Supernaturals #1

E-book, 356 pages
Publication: June 25, 2013 by Bluefields 
Source: I received a review copy from the author in exchange for a honest review. 

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For small-town rebel Dani Webber magic and monsters are no more real than the Easter Bunny… until the day she accidentally stops time.

Dani quickly discovers that not only do supernaturals exist, but she herself is one of them. This is great news for her life-long best friend Russ, who can finally come clean about his own supernatural status and his undying love for her. Before the two can start to enjoy the long overdue relationship, Dani is taken by a powerful council of supernaturals who believe she is the Chosen One destined to save them from extinction.

As if being kidnapped and expected to save the world isn’t bad enough, an ancient prophecy warns of the Chosen One’s dark nature: “Only the truest love will keep her an agent for good.” The council believes they know who this “true love” is and, unfortunately, that person isn’t Russ. The mysterious, powerful and devastatingly handsome Seer is the last person Dani wants in her life, but when she starts having visions of a horrific future, she has no one else to turn to for help.

Soon Dani finds herself torn between two very different boys with two very different opinions of whom she can trust. With the visions getting worse and time running out, Dani is forced to put aside her feelings and work with both the Seer and Russ before an ancient evil is unleashed upon the earth.

I am a big fan of Oram’s Being Jamie Baker, so when given the chance to read CHAMELEON I jumped on it because I really like Oram’s writing style and voice. CHAMELEON is about supernaturnals living amongst humans but in secret. There are every supernatural you can think of packed into this book from; warlocks, witches, werewolves, vampires, fairies, demons to seers and oracles. Dani, our heroine just turned sixteen and found out that her best friend Russ is a warlock, a supernatural…and apparently she is one too. Dani isn’t an ordinary supernatural though, she’s the chosen one that been prophesied to battle against a rising evil.  

As you can guess from the title, Dani’s power makes her somewhat like a chameleon. When Dani has skin-to-skin contact with any supernatural, she takes on their form/power…she literally becomes the supernatural she is touching. I found Dani’s power fun and unique, since the only time I read of a character with chameleon-like ability was in (Linda Grimes’s In a Fix) similar but still different.  This book is quite difficult to rate, there were parts I love and parts I really loathe. I’m going to start with the good points.  I love the world and supernatural aspects that Oram created. The mystery-plot had me engrossed the entire time, and the dialogue between the characters ensure there were never any dull moments.  I loved Dani at the beginning (she reminded me of Jamie Baker a bit but still her own character) she’s funny; snarky, and has kind of a rebel-troublemaker attitude.  I love her relationship with Russ, and right off the bat you can tell how close they are and how much they care for one another in the first couple of pages. They’ve been close friends since they were kids, inseparable and just their interactions with one another screams soul-mates (or at least I thought).  When Russ and Dani are about to move their relationship from friendship to the next level, supernaturals appear out of nowhere trying to kidnap Dani or kill her. She ends up getting taken away to the Consulate (like the central government for supernaturals) for her own safety.

Now, on to the things I didn’t like in the book.  If anyone has ever read my past reviews, there is one thing you know I dislike the most in books…love-triangles.  I extremely loathe them, whether I’m reading YA or Adult. While I’ve come across some real crappy ones, the love triangle in CHAMELEON takes the cake.  Dani went from being a smart and snarky girl to someone really na├»ve and annoying. I couldn’t stand Dani or her relationship with Gabriel the Seer. Dani arrived at the Consulate because the governing supernaturals thought it is best to keep her protected. They were worried that since she grew up with Russ and his father that she formed an unhealthy bond with the two and especially with Russ. They were afraid that she was intentionally starved from interacting with other supernaturals and therefore brainwashed by Russ and his dad. 

What does the Councilor (Highest member of the council) do? HE intentionally starves Dani from supernatural interactions for two weeks to the point of killing her, and then forced her to bond with Gabriel the Seer (which is like the councilor’s son).  At first Dani tries not to feel so attached to Gabriel but she’s in the ‘cravings state’ meaning she needs to be around people like herself or she’ll feel weak. Gabriel then breaks the news to her that they’re married! Married at 16!!! Dani freaks out but only for a few days or was it hours (sigh)? Then Russ comes to visit her at the Consulate and finds out that she’s married and he’s shocked because it was just two weeks ago that she said she loved him. When Russ attempts to physically and verbally attack Gabriel, Dani comes to Gabriel’s defense right away and tells Russ he can’t be a jerk to her husband (sigh). The way she says husband, is so weird and so natural that it bugged me. Dani is totally A-OK about being tortured, and married to a guy she barely knows. She was practically brainwashed because the girl at the beginning of the book is NOT the same girl towards the middle-end. 

Dani doesn’t help the situation when she’s married to Gabriel and she still has lingering feelings/thoughts for Russ, and in a few scenes she even snuggles and kisses Russ. Dani eventually realizes that what she has with Gabriel is like what she had with Russ…a forced bond. But no, she convinces herself that though it’s forced it still feels right to be with Gabriel. MY GOD, she known Russ her entire life and Gabriel for less than a month…like really, it makes no sense. Gabriel has got to be the blandest character I have ever read. He’s been sheltered his entire life and the way he talks is like a robot unlike Russ who is a jerk-wad but still has more life and personality. I really felt bad for Russ, he got the worst part of this whole deal.  

The love-triangle drove me nuts, and I still can’t believe how accepting Dani was of the entire situation. I honestly would have DNF-ed this book because of how the love-triangle was written but Oram unique concept kept me  invested in the story (let me tell you that is a feat in itself lol). Oram did a great job on the mystery element and the characters that I found myself reading till the very end. When I thought I knew who the baddie was, I was thrown for a loop when the real villain was revealed. CHAMELEON is the first book in a planned series, and though I am curious to see how the prophecy will play out, the ending revelation about Dani/Gabriel‘s relationship tells me all I need to know to continue or not and... I will probably not continue with the series. 

Since I did enjoy most of the book besides the love-triangle, giving the book anything less than a 3 would feel unfair. Truthfully, CHAMELEON had everything to make it a 4/5 stars book except the love-triangle killed it therefore making Dani an unlikeable heroine…and the most important element to me when reading a book is the characters. (this is the first time I dislike a character so much, but still felt invested in her story and the overall plot/ the need to finish the book.) 

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