Chameleon by Zoe Kalo
An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…
17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia. When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…
Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?
While this book wasn’t my favourite of Kalo’s, I liked the potential here.Paloma is sent to an all-female convent where she meets a group of strange girls. While she tries to figure out the secrets of this school, she’s also dealing with the grief over losing her father and keeps trying to find ways of being reunited with him. The story is set in Puerto Rico and though this setting is directly referred to in the story, I liked the uses of Spanish phrases in some of the dialogue and description to show that these characters were speaking Spanish.
I definitely got The Craft feels from this – new girl joins a group that likes to play with the rules, led by someone with a dangerous love of excitement. I thought at first that it would focus more on witchcraft, with the seances, ghosts, and hallucinations, but it actually turned into more of a thriller. Not that this is what impacted my rating but I found it surprising that the ghost story seemed to be backgrounded to focus on the psychopath aspects of the story.
The main reason I didn’t enjoy this one as much as Kalo’s other books is that I don’t think it played to its length. It was a relatively short novel and while you can do a lot in that space, I felt like the way this story was written was more suited to a longer book. For one, I never really connected with the characters. While they did have some depth, it never became personal so it was difficult to get into the story.
It also felt like a rather anticlimactic ending after all the suspense of the plot leading up to it. I think the thriller aspect worked really well and all the twists kept me on edge, but the ending felt weak in relation to the rest of the book. There were also a number of things that felt unanswered by the end, and I don’t know if there is a series that will follow to answer these. While some of these questions felt natural to the “thriller” genre, others were just about what the use was of certain characters.
All that said, it was an interesting book. It just felt like it left a little to be desired but I still enjoyed the underlying story and direction.
About the Author: A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…
A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.
This Review is a part of the Blogger Outreach Program by b00k r3vi3w Tours. All opinions are my own