Author: Zoe Kalo
Review: The opening chapter to Chameleon was very intriguing, it begins 1973 where two sisters; Paloma and Sara. Paloma is being dropped off at a boarding school of some sort. The reasons for them being taken there are clear yet but it is clear that neither girl wants to be there. The school is a convent which only seems to irritate Paloma as they have been sent here as punishment and she knows right away that she isn’t going to like this place but her sister seems to be warming to it. When her family leaves Paloma feels completely alone, the only person she wants is her real father who died some years prior and she hates her step-father with a passion. As a character I didn’t immediately warm to Paloma but I am hoping she will grow on me as the story progresses.
Paloma meets one student first Rubia and they almost immediately get along and not in a friendly sense but they seem to understand each others’ mannerisms and body language really well.
Rubia seems to have a sixth sense especially when it comes to the building and Palmoa also picks up on the weird vibes, cold spaces and flickering lights. Paloma seems to fit in with a small group of the girls but she seems determined to get herself into trouble, all the while there is an ominous feel to this seeming normal scene. The teenage talk quickly turns to the seance Paloma supposedly participated in and the strange ghostly face she saw upon her arrival. As we reach the 1/4 mark in the novel, one of girls wants Paloma to conduct a seance to summon a ghost but this disturbs Paloma to no end. Strange things begin to happen to Paloma especially during her detention in the cemetery where she begins to hear a voice calling to her. It turns out that Adelita can also hear the mysterious voice coming from the forest just beyond the convent, and after a crazy scene in which Adelita loses Paloma’s necklace she agrees to do the seance but pleases Rubia greatly.
Much to Paloma’s surprise Madre Superiora doesn’t punish her for being in the forest and also agrees for one of the other nuns to accompany her into the forest to search for her missing necklace. As we approach the half way point in the novel, everything is becoming a lot darker within the convent from a piece of music to a simple story, its all very ominous and may point at things to come. During the seance the spirit Adelita can hear comes forth and identifies herself as Madeline and some really scary things happen but the other girls with the exception of Adelita don’t believe anything of what Paloma saw despite being there, was it an hallucination? Or is Paloma more in touch with the spirit world like Adelita? As we cross into the second half of the novel, we begin to feel like something dark is lurching within the convent itself especially when one of the nuns is murdered and Paloma starts seeing the ghost of her father and Madeline everywhere within the building. Paloma also learns that she isn’t the only one in the convent hiding a dark secret almost everyone is, but she feels there is something dark and dangerous about Rubia and is very cautious around her.
Rubia is a devilishly complex character who seems to be an angel one minute then completely insane the next and she seems to enjoy tormenting Paloma. Everything begins to spiral out of control with strange behaviour and even stranger events, all eyes seem to be on Paloma when they should be directed elsewhere. Rubia tells Paloma that Madeline died in the convent – drowned – not claimed like the nuns had told her and both feel that Madre Superiora was covering up for someone within the convent at that time and has been every since. By the time we reach the final section of the novel the deaths within the convent are mounting up and fingers are beginning to point at Paloma but Madre Superiora is trying to point her in what she believes is the right direction. Everything is constantly changing especially the girls, Paloma thinks Silvy is involved in Maria’s death but Silvy may just be acting in self-preservation. As we race towards the end of the novel will the mystery finally be unravelled or will it end with another death?
As the lies are revealed and the truth comes to the front we for the first time see the real evil lying within the convent and the reasons behind it. Once all is revealed about Rubia’s and Paloma’s past there is only one thing left to do but whether Paloma will succeed isn’t known as the novel ends there. It leaves a perfect cliff hanger for the reader to conjure up their own ending or an opening for a sequel. While I felt this novel was very well written it was very confusing in some places and required quite a bit of effort to follow the story line. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy psychological thrillers and horror novels.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by YA Bound Blog Tours
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