Author: Zoe Kalo
Publisher: Independent (Published on Kindle)
Publication Date: February 2017
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Quick Summary: Puerto Rico, 1973 – Paloma is sent to an isolated convent after she conducts a seance so she can talk to her dead father, in an attempt to set her straight. Inside, she meets four other girls and arranges another seance with them. After the seance, though, people start dying left and right. Is there a ghost on a killing rampage, or is Paloma growing delusional?
Hey there, beautiful bookworms! Xpresso Book Tours recently arranged to provide me with a free copy of Chameleon by Zoe Kalo in exchange for a review, and I’m pretty glad that I got to read it. Chameleon has a mysterious, gothic horror feel and reminded me a a bit of the movie The Craft, and I loved the characters and the setting so much that I finished it within a day.
Before I continue though, I need to put some warnings here: This book deals with triggering issues such as rape, mental illnesses, drugging, and psychological manipulation. Please proceed with caution.
Pros: Creepy gothic setting, interesting & unique characters
I was immediately enamored by the mysterious, misty setting from the first few pages. The convent is located in the middle of the woods and next to a waterfall, which made every scene dark and eerie. It helped a lot with the creep factor and the mystery kept me interested and invested in the story.
I also adore the characters. If you’ve been following my Goodreads updates about this book, you’ll know that I was taken in by Rubia the moment she first appeared. She was smart, a bit odd, and as the novel progressed her many facets were revealed more and more. There’s never a boring scene when she’s around and I was impressed that she caught me in her snares the same way she did the people around her. She’s just super interesting!
Paloma is also a decent protagonist, troubled and impulsive but trying to do what she believes is good. There were some instances where I wanted to scream at her because she was being too stupid/impulsive, but overall I liked her narration. Rubia definitely outshone her in my opinion, though.
The supporting cast were all also multi-dimensional and had their own secrets, and there were various twists about them that I didn’t see coming!
Cons: Anti-climactic ending, confusion abound
Unfortunately, when it came to the last few chapters I found myself generally confused. I didn’t even realize the climax was actually the climax of the novel because it was written in such a strange, disjointed way. I get that the narration is because of Paloma’s state in that particular scene, but it threw off the pacing a lot.
That contributed to the rushed feel of the last parts of the book. I read past the most important moment but it didn’t feel like that at all, and for a few minutes I didn’t understand what happened next. There was also that end chapter when Paloma finally pieced together what was happening to her and to the convent and what she needed to do, but when I turned the page it just stopped. I believe it was supposed to be open-ended, and I’m fine with open endings when done right. Unfortunately, this one felt too rushed, like it was missing entire paragraphs before the concluding sentence to sort of ease into the ending.
There are also some aspects that I’m not sure how to address, such as the rape of one of the characters by her father, slipping in substances to unsuspecting people, and mental illnesses of several of the girls, not to mention the, you know, mysterious deaths and stuff. If you do decide to pick up the book, please be warned of its content as it has the potential to harm you!
Conclusion: A scary, enjoyable read in a unique setting
Despite its flaws, I greatly enjoyed Chameleon by Zoe Kalo, especially the characters and the setting. The scary moments did give me chills and I had to sometimes stop and look around to see if someone was watching me lol! I was so immersed that I jumped at sudden sounds inside my house, and I could clearly picture the dark, misty forest and hear the sound of the ever-present waterfall.
I would recommend this to people who love gothic horror and mysteries. Again, please be cautioned to the content (all mentioned in my intro pagragraph) before proceeding!
My Rating: (3 / 5)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.