Review: Chameleon Moon

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.

“Words are important. They let you know it’s real, you’re fine, more people like you exist. They let you know you’re not alone.”

“Holy crap…” Regan whispered, awed and sick and proud at the same time. “She punched it in the face.”

Why I picked it up: I was told there was a f/f/f polyrelationship and also ace character(s)?

Let me tell you how absolutely wonderful this book is.

The Cast

Chameleon Moon’s strongest aspect is its characters. Wonderful, colourful, diverse cast of characters. There is indeed a polyamorous marriage between three women, a main character who is a trans woman, a character who uses ‘they’ pronouns through the entire novel, disabled characters, representation of anxiety, and lots and lots of validation for mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. And many more, that my tags on this book can’t even cover.

I am so incredibly excited about a certain relationship other than the polymarriage, but I feel like that would be a huge spoiler, so I’m just going to put this here for anyone who’s already read it: I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.

The Plot

I have to admit, it took me a while to get into this book. The prologue pulled me in, but then the first half of the book felt… slow. It was mostly about getting to know the characters for me, and hinting at the big mystery without any real answers. Not that getting to know the characters is bad – as I said, they are the greatest thing about this book -, but the first half often felt a little boring to me, and there were a lot of conversations that went on too long, or infodumps that were a little too much at once.

The second half, though? I read pretty much the entire second half in one sitting. The twists just kept coming and the secrets kept pouring out. And plenty of questions remaining for the sequel.

There are some things I don’t like about the ending that would be spoilery, but I understand how they are necessary. I was originally going to give this 4.5 stars, but as I typed this review out, I realised that it fully deserves all five.

Trigger warnings

I would like to put a warning for suicide (mention) here, and also, the descriptions of anxiety can be triggering to anyone who also experiences it.

My rating: ★★★★★

~ Alexa 🦔


Review: We Awaken

Link on Goodreads

Why I picked it up: I was promised great asexual representation. (note: I am a biromantic asexual woman, so this was kind of personal for me.)

What I thought: It definitely delivered on the representation. It was refreshing to read about characters who outright said they were asexual, and it also included someone figuring out their sexuality by researching, and addressed several stereotypes. All in all, it handled asexuality, and exploring your sexuality very nicely.

I have to admit I had mixed feelings about the book as I read it, but I came out with mostly positive feelings in the end. The writing was clumsy at times – the phrasing sounded a little forced, or the timeline of the events felt rushed. There wasn’t really a story as such, but somewhere halfway I realised that there didn’t have to be. It was enough to get lost in the magical romance of these two asexual girls who love each other very much.

I kinda wish we had seen more of Reeves, and his ending didn’t go the way I expected it to go, but I think I like it? I think? A little conflicted, but I’m leaning towards positive.

Also, the cover is beautiful.

Do I recommend it: If you want a light read about girls in love, exploring your sexuality, and mending your relationship with your best friend, then definitely. If you’re looking for a quick-paced story, then no.

My rating: ★★★★☆

~ Alexa 🐬


Review: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

Review on Goodreads

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: an ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one. – Goodreads

Why I picked it up: This book was recommended to be a friend, and basically all I knew is that it has mermaids and positive friendships.

What I thought: This is the absolute best book I have read this year, and definitely up there in the Top 10 best books I have read ever. Magical atmosphere, likeable characters, cute romance (I was a little worried because straight romances often bore me, but I was anything but bored while reading this), female friendships, and an adorable little brother.

A magical fairytale retelling

Before starting this book, all I knew was that it had mermaids, but it soon turned out that was an understatement – this is a modern retelling of The Little Mermaid, revealed by clues such as Elyse’s loss of voice, and some character names.

I was already hooked by the introduction, the very first few pages. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids has an absolutely magical aura, and it truly reads like you are experiencing a fairytale. The introduction also immediately grabs the reader’s attention with an element of mystery.

Likeable main cast and posivity

This book is proof that I am absolutely willing to ship straight couples if they aren’t lowkey toxic. Though Elyse’s and Christian’s romance has some cliché elements, it is ultimately a positive relationship based on friendship, and the two of them are nothing but supportive towards each other for the entire book.

There is also a big focus on Elyse’s relationship with her two female friends, and her relationship to her twin is also a central element that is constantly lurking in the background. It would have been so easily to have Vanessa and Elyse fight over a boy, but there is no catty jealousy or unnecessary drama between the girls.

Without giving away any spoilers, the book also has sex positive talk, calling out sexism, and (cis characters) changelling gender norms in a beautiful way.

A note on diversity

The main character of this book is a mute woman of colour. This is not an #ownvoices book – the author admits in a note that she is writing about a culture she’s not part of. As a white person, it is not my place to judge whether Elyse is good or accurate representation, but if there were any racist elements, I have not noticed.

There is sadly a complete lack of LGBT characters, but I enjoyed this book so much, and I was so happy to see a positive straight romantic relationship and positive friendships that I am personally willing to give it a pass. (This might or might not be because I, as a useless bi person, fell in love with both members of the main couple anyway…)

My rating:  ★★★★★ 💖

~ Alexa 🐙