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Chameleon Moon #1

Chameleon Moon

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The city of Parole is burning. Like Venice slips into the sea, Parole crumbles into fire.

The entire population inside has been quarantined 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.

Regan, silent, scaly stealth expert, is haunted by ten years of anxiety, trauma and terror, and he's finally reached his limit. Evelyn is a fearless force on stage and sonic-superheroic revolutionary on the streets. Now they have a choice - and a chance to not only escape from Parole, but unravel the mystery deep in its burning heart. And most of all, discover the truth about their own entwining pasts.

Parole's a rough place to live. But they're not dead yet. If they can survive the imminent cataclysmic disaster, they might just stay that way...

439 pages, Kindle Edition

First published October 1, 2014

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About the author

RoAnna Sylver

24 books262 followers
RoAnna Sylver is passionate about stories that give hope, healing and even fun for LGBT, disabled and other marginalized people, and thinks we need a lot more. Aside from writing oddly optimistic dystopia and vampire books, RoAnna is a blogger, artist, and singer.

RoAnna lives with family near Portland, OR, and probably spends too much time playing videogames. The next adventure RoAnna would like is a nap in a pile of bunnies.

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5 stars
184 (42%)
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130 (29%)
3 stars
77 (17%)
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32 (7%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 132 reviews
Profile Image for Laura (bbliophile).
791 reviews155 followers
July 9, 2017
Review originally posted on bbliophile.wordpress.com

Excuse my language, but holy fucking shit. This book. It’s so good!!!

I started reading this book back in April, and it took me 3 months to finish. I’m not exactly sure why, but I’m glad that it took me so long. I’m happy I got to spend so much time with the characters and in this world, because I had a wonderful time.

The characters are, in my opinion, the best part of this book. They’re all so real, wonderful, and shit, there are literal tears in my eyes right now because I’m trying to think of a way to describe how much I love them but it feels impossible. Every single one of them is just so loveable, strong, intelligent, kind, brave, and the way they all interact warmed my heart. And have I mentioned that I love them yet?

I also really adored the world and the story in general. It felt very unique and like something I’ve never read before, and it really sucked me in. I have to admit that it was a little bit confusing and that I had no idea what was going on 80% of the time, but that just compelled me even more to just keep reading.  And while this book is a dystopian, the city where the characters live in is in ruins, and it seems like their situation is hopeless, this story is so incredibly hopeful, which in turn gave me hope. And hope is the most powerful thing of all.

Now let’s talk about something in this book that meant the world to me: the anxiety rep. One of the characters in this book deals with really bad anxiety and panic attacks, and it was the best rep I’ve ever read. This was the first time I could really see this side of myself in a book, and it was so incredibly important to me, and it meant so, so much.

I swear I tried to make this into a normal review, but you know that feeling when you love something so much that you can’t quite put it into words and you just start rambling a bit? Yeah, that’s me right now. But I hope this somehow convinces y’all to pick this book up.

And in case I haven’t convinced you yet, I added three quotes from the book down here that I feel like perfectly capture the story, because if my words can’t sway you to pick this book up, RoAnna’s words will:

It made her want to mow down the whole damn city, ripping and screaming and defending until this violent, sick world was safe for sweet flower girls and little boys who tucked flowers into her hair and called her Mama.

“I don’t think you’re a paradox. But you might be asexual.” Regan’s mouth fell open. He looked up with wide eyes again but for a much different, much better reason. Slowly, the tension melted out of his shoulders and his frill dropped back down to hang loose. When he looked at her now she saw something else in his eyes. One of her favorite things to see. Hope.

Your voice is your power, and nothing and nobody can take it away from you. Love yourself, love the people around you, and never give up. If you need help, reach out. If you’re drowning, make some noise. There are people who love you, who will throw you a life preserver. That’s what it all comes down to, love. That’s how we’re gonna get through this. And we are gonna get through this.

That last quote is from the epilogue that I have now reread and cried over multiple times, and I feel like it really holds a big part of the message that this book wants to give you. No matter what your sexuality is, how you express yourself, how you feel or who you are, you’re okay. You’re valid. You’re good. You will get through this, and there’s always hope. And that’s why this book is so incredibly important.

I could keep on rambling about this book for hours, but I should probably wrap this up here. But please, pick this book up. You won’t regret it.
Profile Image for Mel.
648 reviews78 followers
April 2, 2017
Review of the first edition

I haven’t read a book that wasn’t a romance or at least had a romantic story arc in quite a while and usually, to be honest, they don’t really capture me and, um, I get easily bored. But not so this time. Right from the first page I was totally sucked in by the engaging writing style of the author, by the unusual– and also diverse– cast of characters, and by the mystery that is hidden in every pore of the book. Until the end, the reader is learning and discovering, and so I really don’t want to take away from your reading experience by telling you too much.
“But still, it must be so weird to you, to wake up in a city full of people with superpowers, who really probably shouldn’t have them…and hearing that any day we might fall into a fire.”

Regan aka Killer, one of the main characters, loses his memory after the first chapter and this not only allows for a natural revelation of the background story of Parole, but it’s also one of the most fascinating character developments I’ve ever read. Seriously, for this alone the book is worth it. I also, for some unknown to me reasons, love that he is a lizard.

From the larger cast of characters, I want to introduce you to the additional two I liked the most. Evelyn is a great trans character, one definitely not to be missed.
“I am strong,” Evelyn whispered to herself, eyes closed. “I am brave. I am a goddess who contains multitudes of galaxies. My spirit is infinite, my soul is towering, and my shoes are hella cute. I can do this.”

And my heart beats for this incredibly strong and burdened young man, Finn, who finds love with Zilch, a Zombie– whom he clearly can’t kill ;-)
“He’s just a kid that turns into a bomb when he’s sad. And you wonder why he’s a little off? Permanent state of shell shock—and forcing himself to stay happy all the time, to protect the people around him. Nobody can be happy all the time, eventually it gets to be torture.”

There’s also a kid with three moms, a mechanical dog, a control freak and coma patient, and an empath burning with emotion.

I sometimes don’t like huge casts of characters, especially when the POVs alternate, but this is not the case here. The auctorial narrator has everything in their sight and so it feels whole and complete.

The book is full of vivid imagery, of suspense and mystery, of people finding a family and connection. I loved this book very, very much and I hope there will be more someday, as the author’s bio indicates. Highly recommended.

Genre: dystopia
Tags: trans MC, multiple POVs
Rating: 5 stars
Profile Image for Shira Glassman.
Author 27 books507 followers
March 15, 2016
The setup for Chameleon Moon is that Parole, an American city of unspecified location, has been completely cut off from the rest of the country by government blockade in order to contain the chaos that ensued when a medication started giving everyone random and in some cases uncontrollable superpowers. For reasons that I assumed were either governmental/deliberate or accidental but turn out to be more complicated (spoilers!), the city's reserve of oil has also been ignited, meaning that fires are constantly burning underground. Water thus becomes a precious resource used as currency, and believe me when I say that it might be a good idea to have a drink beside you as you read. (I might have missed it, but what do people eat in Parole? Does the mutation make food irrelevant?)

I don't read much dystopian fiction so I might be off base here but to me that all seems pretty darn creative! And the underground fires thing plays on some very visceral, culturally resonant fears.

The cast is populated by lovable rebels, the most lovable (at least, to me) being the lounge-singer-turned-sonic-superhero Evelyn. Heads up because she's the "trans woman whose strength is still feminine strength" character I think a lot of readers have said they're looking for. Her co-star in the novel is a lizard-man version of Bucky Barnes -- who was he? What did he do in the lifetime he can't remember? Two of the most important supporting cast members are a lesbian couple raising a young son (who I suspect is also Evelyn's biological child but--was I reading too fast again?--I don't think the author ever came out and said.) One of them has plant powers and the other one can make metal machinery "come to life", by example building the family dog herself.

Add an overexcitable taxi driver who's little older than a teenager, an undead man, and a giant rambling Creepy House Full of Secrets and you've got your queer dystopian novel. So I'll warn you off the bat that the book "ends" but the situation with the city being fucked up doesn't get resolved because there are more books to come. But: you don't have to worry about queer women/trans women getting killed off (although: it's a dystopian. There is violence. Tread lightly.)

It's well-written and well constructed, and the plot twists and secrets, once they're revealed, are as satisfying as the buildup to them (which isn't always the case in twisty turny books like this, so I appreciate it when it happens.) There are similarities to Viral Airwaves, such as the secondary established couple, the clandestine radio station, the narrative's relationship with the sinister side of pharmaceuticals, and a character named Hans, but they're also completely different stories and I think if you liked one it's definitely worth reading the other rather than one able to stand for both.

Evelyn, with her persistent hope, is the character I think a lot of people would do good to be exposed to. I hope everything works out for the people of Parole in the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews190 followers
Shelved as 'dnf-lost-interest'
June 10, 2019

Acqua: *hates when people say "remember to breathe" and "it's going to be ok" while she has a panic attack*
this book: *half of it seems to be people having panic attacks and reminding each other to breathe and that everything is going to be ok*

this... wasn't going to work

next time, someone remind me that if something is described as "hopepunk", it probably means that I need to stay away from it. Here's the thing: I don't care about being told platitudes about everything being ok and humans being fundamentally good just as much as I hate edgy grimdark that wants to convince you that humans are terrible and that the world is Bad. I love hopeful stories, but the hope is something I have to feel, not something I want to be told about over and over
Profile Image for Claudie Arseneault.
Author 18 books399 followers
October 9, 2017
"What did you think?" asks Goodreads, but I am not sure I can properly put words on how much I adore this book.

CHAMELEON MOON is everything I wish dystopian and post-apocalyptic worlds were all the day. I love my settings bleak. I love it when everything went wrong, shit hit the fan big time, and the one question on everyone's mind is "how am I going to make it through?"

And I love these because of the intense, selfless acts of compassion people do in ugly times. I love to see GOOD people holding fast, loving and caring and hoping, and winning despite the pain and odds.

And that's what CHAMELEON MOON is. Characters (disabled characters, queer characters, unique and profound characters) loving themselves and each others, despite the city literally burning and collapsing under their feet. Characters refusing to leave anyone behind, acknowledging that they are not alone, that they are together and must get through this way. It's just so ... refreshing.

"It's going to be okay" says the book, and believe me, it means it with all its heart.

SECOND EDITION NOTES: I had the pleasure of editing CHAMELEON MOON between its first edition and the second, and this story is still an absolute delight. Notably, it now contains a wonderful talk between Evelyn and Regan about his asexuality and the importance of labels, community, and belonging.
Profile Image for CrowCaller.
233 reviews30 followers
July 23, 2019
1.5? The faults are mostly/all plot/pacing/character/content, the writing is fine.

50% of this book is characters giving emotional counsolling to other characters, mostly by reminding them to breath or saying 'it's going to be okay'

The other half is introducing way too many effing characters.

Listen. Roanna is super nice, and I have nothing against her, I respect her, I respect her personality and effort. I really, really did not like this book, and it boggles me how universally loved it is.

I'm gonna try and bullet this out with headings.


This might go more in writing, but while there WERE bits of really nice description, good writing, nice tone/mood writing... most of this book is just dialogue, and a lot isn't explained. There's a lot of weight put on character emotion, and little on the setting. It all felt like a stage made of cardboard.

The setting itself- an isolated city at risk of falling into fire- didn't feel particularly 'real' either. The main characters spend most of the time in a safe house, and what little details we have about the city just make me confused. The worldbuilding is very fantasy, with ghosts, psychics, superpowers, etc. But it is set in the REAL world. The first time WWI was referenced, I was like, WAIT WHAT. Characters make a few jokes based on things I don't know they'd be able to know (there is a joke about taking a selfie made by characters who have lived in dystopia hell their entire lives?). How the city functions/still has any clean water/food isn't really clear, nor is the life situation of anyone besides the main crew.


So. The plot of this book is super slow. I guess a couple dramatic things generally happen at an even pace, but it is slowed entirely by the fact every single character is constantly having long conversations with every other character about their feelings. Beyond the initial action scene, most of the book has the characters in a safe house, and while there's some bigger plot questions, all of it kind of just happens to them. They don't have some big plan or thoughts, it's more like effface-mc-plot (hans) makes things happen and everyone has to interact with them. Technically there's a rescue and family drama and a poisoning and lost memories and a gddamn ghost and...

Technically there's a lot. Problem: there's too many plot threads, and they all put to one side for most of the book so characters can tell other characters to breath. The emotional comfort half of this book will get its own section.

Anyways, the last 20% of the book at least has a climax, but action is consistently quite hard to follow, and by the end I would skim most action scenes. I found them hard enough to follow early on in the book, but then the end is in a vaguely defined space we haven't seen before- and as mentioned, this book suffers from a lack of setting building.


Another section.

Later in the book, we finally get some insight on the 'main' mystery for our 'main' character, Regan. There's a solid two chapters were characters reveal information to other characters, and we start to solve the mysteries. It's not worthy of complaining, but it isn't like these are 'mysteries': they are things the reader would never be able to guess, as we have 0 information, so it's a relief when someone finally fills us in.

Who poisoned Hans? What is Major Turret up to? Who is Gabriel? Did Regan kill someone? Who shot Rose (and why)? What is up with Kassandra? Who is Radio Angel? What is Hans' deal? What is Zilch's deal? Where is Garrett? Is he evil? Why hasn't Skyeye just bombed parole and gotten it over with?

There are more plot threads than this, and most of them are treated as if we care. I wanted answers, I like knowing things, but the revelations aren't that satisfying, and most stuff is left in a vague ending promising 'more to come'. (And one big plot thing at the end? Hans and Toto? There's a short story at the end that shows that entire sequel hook had no relevance on the main plot. Cool thanks!)

Oh, and: at a couple times in the book, characters know something we the reader doesn't, and do plans on their own (Rose and Regan both do this). This is something I don't love, but don't mind, and am guilty of. I just laughed, since the editor of this book HATES it and... let it happen in this book? This is more a specific personal note, but Claudi! You took points off GA for the exact thing that happens more than once in this. I'm crying.




There are by my count 10 major characters we are meant to follow/care for the entire book, and then a supporting cast of like, 20? Who all come up/are mentioned like I’m supposed to remember who they are. The first few chapters were introducing more and more characters. And then near the end it happens AGAIN. and the ending also promises EVEN MORE NEW CHARACTERS (I know book two follows like five new people please. stop. adding characters.)

Characters show up in the beginning and are never seen again, or referenced way later. Characters are introduced near the end in order to solve a plot question perfectly. Characters come and go, but the book presumes we care about ALL of them. No characters are bad people except the faceless, comically over the top Major Turret. And Hans, who I hate, but the book doesn't want me to hate.

Now, I know more than anyone books are just an author's OCs, but CM really felt like an author with a lot of OCs they super loved, and just wanted to share. 'Oh! I know!! This would be cool, let's add this. And this. And more. And more.'

I know the sequel adds at least three new main characters. I know there's a goat Regan is also in a relationship with. I know there's more stuff about this library which we never see. I know there are too many characters.

Seriously. This is my biggest gripe, probably, besides the fact the book was kind of boring (see section next): it is hard enough to get invested in a cast of six, but then you expect me to care about ten characters? and twenty others? Personality wise, some had clear ones: I ended up liking Danae the most, because she was the character least likely to give on-the-spot therapy. But for a while, I couldn't tell what most of the characters were like. The book was nice in telling me (Zilch is shy, I hear, but I never saw that), but overall I STILL don't know what Regan is like.

The relationships were strange too. When Zilch and Regan kissed, I was like, 'oh ew'. I didn't really care about either of them, so throwing a kiss on top of that was a bit much. Rose/Evelyn/Danae probably had the nicest relationship, but the son Jack might as well have not been in the book at all.

By 25% of the book, there's a solid twenty main characters or so, and then you meet even more. As the story. Continues.


I guess people do get hurt in this book, someone loses an arm, there's pain, there's crying and getting shot, etc. Still, this book more than doubles down on the comfort side of things. There was scene after scene (at least once, three in a row) of characters sitting down and telling each other 'everything is going to be alright' and 'to breath'. Just over and over again. Any niceness I would have gotten from that wore off fast, and I just got sick of the repetitiveness.

Look, I love therapy, I have mad mental illness, I have wacko stuff wrong with me. I like emotional comfort. I don't like a book that is 50% emotional comfort without reason. There isn't character development (Regan changes the most, and is the only one to change, but it's still a switch flipped from 'I am scared amnesia' to 'oh I remember everything bye guys lol'). Comfort and reassurance is SICK, but it really should be saved for emotional moments. This book kind of... mass produces it and expects me to feel things every time.

Honestly, the book as a whole seems to really expect I care and am invested, and I can't really do that when I don't know much about any of these 60 characters, I barely understand how the world works, no one is really changing or doing things, and everyone is in established relationships anyways.

Basically, the same story beats keep playing character wise while the plot chugs slowly forward. It's really slow, and the dialogue is really boring- a lot of 'strong, brave, okay, fine, are you okay, power, good, bad' etc. like.... broad concepts and words.


I feel like everyone gives this book 5 stars because there's a lot of rep, and I feel like I see that often. Since I mildly revealed my secret identity above anyways, how come **I** never get lavish praise simply for having no straight characters???

Anyways, I guess it's fine. Diversity matters to me, but I don't tend to give brownie points for it. Regan's ace conversation was fabulously awkward 'hey lady I've never felt sexual attraction over the last two days I can remember while I've been stressed and on the run, what is wrong with me'.

I also keep noting how ro anna really only writes gay relationships, especially in her poly pairings- Zilch is nb, but was male in last draft and is more masc than fem. And Regan is also gay for a goat man, I vaguely know. Then in RoAnna's other books, there's poly-triangles, but they again are only all-male/all-ladies, and if there's any NB characters they present close to the gender of their partners...?

That's just me noting something. Anyways, I never really related or saw myself in the characters that shared IDs with me, but I guess there isn't anything wrong with them or w/e.


So. Much. Head-hopping.

This book switches from limited to unlimited perspective very freely. It also will follow a character in a limited way, switch to someone else next paragraph, and switch again a few paragraphs later. This is really annoying and hard to read. The switch then from limited third to omni is even worse. C'mon. This is basic writing, right?

...I think I've done it before too. But I'm talking multiple times in regular text, not just as a dramatic end-chapter hook of THEY WERE FOLLOWED. I can overlook that, okay. I can't overlook someone knowing something they shouldn't in the middle of a paragraph and then jumping to someone else.

Like I said, I guess the writing is fine, the action is pretty sloppy at times and descriptions, when they exist, are pretty nice.


Man, this wasn't even a case of 'this book isn't for me'. I think I'm right in the intended demographic, and while there's some wiggle of 'I'm clearly not into hurt/comfort fanfics', I really am confused how praised this book is. It's a mess. The plot is a mess, there's so many open questions, too many characters, the writing is okay but still, messy.

I don't think I'll be reading the sequel, even if I'm still curious on some plot things. I can't take any more new characters.

forgive me ro ann a


How old is Regan if he's at least ten years older than rose/hans/danae. What. Is he just a middle aged man?
Profile Image for Elle Maruska.
232 reviews90 followers
August 3, 2017
I loved this book so much.

I've been attempting to read more indie books and authors, and as I follow Sylver on Twitter I thought this would be a good place to start and I'm so glad I took the chance. I love this book, I love it in so many ways that it's hard to describe. But I'll try!

I love that this book is fearless.

When you read a lot of genre (like I do) you get used to a set of tropes and borders in stories. There are certain things you know that different genres will do--whether it's SciFi or Fantasy--you know the edges, the general outline. But "Chameleon Moon" is so much different. It's so BRAVE, like...I suppose you could classify it as a SciFi or dystopian story but it's more. There are elements of fantasy, of superhero fiction, romance, even a healthy dose of gothic imagery and storytelling. And you'd think it'd be a mess, right? But it's not! Sylver doesn't seem to believe in borders or genre outlines and it's so amazing to read a book that isn't afraid to tell its story with whatever tools are available.

I love that this book is soft.

By that I mean, I love that the characters in this book speak gently to one another. Even when things are bad, or scary, or hopeless, the characters are never cruel. They're never snappy or snarky just for the hell of it, they're never needlessly morose or macabre. They're people and they love one another so strongly and it actually comes across that way. Sylver is unafraid to show her characters deeply and gently caring about each other--whether romantically, platonically, or as family (or all three!). I love that I could read this book without wincing once at something a character says to another character. I love that I felt safe with the people Sylver creates.

I love this book because it's diverse. Of course. I love how many different types of love are portrayed. I adore the various ways sacrifices are presented, how love is at once selfish and selfless, personal and universal. I love that the relationships don't exist to cause drama, or that plot is unnecessarily propelled along by hatred or intolerance. I love that this book exists as a model for the many ways we can fall in love or be with other people. It's amazing and natural and wonderful.

I could probably go on forever tbh but I'll leave it at this: read this book. It has everything I wanted and things I didn't even know I wanted but I'm so glad to have. I want more books like this immediately. I'm so happy that it exists.
Profile Image for B.R. Sanders.
Author 24 books108 followers
December 5, 2015
Notes on Diversity:

The book follows a tight-knit group of erstwhile superheroes--and most of them are dealing with mental and/or physical disabilities. A number of them are clearly people of color. The main character is a trans woman, and she's basically the best!! There is am interracial queer poly family that is sweet and functional.

Diversity is firing on all cylinders here. A toast to that.


What if there was a magic cure-all drug that could fix what was wrong with you?

What if that drug had....side effect?

What if that drug was addictive?

Parole is a city filled with people who, for one reason or another, took a drug to make their lives better. Maybe it fixed something, and maybe it broke something else. Everyone in Parole has a story to tell, and everyone in Parole has their secrets. Everyone in Parole also has powers from the drug they took. Some of those powers, like Jenny Strings' ability to make the dolls dance, are eerie but harmless. Some of those powers, like Finn's tendency to accidentally cause explosions when he's upset, even the slightest bit upset, are...less harmless.

As much as Parole is a city it's also a prison--walled, fenced, monitored constantly. There are kill lists and secret police. And living in Parole isn't easy with the constant broiling underground fire. The underground fire threatens to swallow the city whole, and everyone in the city knows that the forces outside Parole won't step in to save anyone once it goes. But someone in the city has a plan to save it.

The story hinges on the histories of the characters and their present relationships. It's a character-driven story masquerading as a thriller. Yes, there are fight scenes. Yes, there are epic Walks Though Fire.

[caption id="attachment_2563" align="alignnone" width="500"]giphy1 like this basically but awesomer[/caption]

But, really, the tension in the book is derived from character after character coming to terms with their own pasts. What's beautiful here is how Sylver mines the characters for different narrative arcs. One central character gets redemption. Another gets closure. Another gets to make an admission of love. Still another character's arc develops beautifully over the course of the book--she has to confront her PTSD, unravel her assumptions about another character, reconfigure her life--but the ending of the book places her in a position that sets up the second book rather than giving her resolution.

I especially loved the rootedness of the characters' diversity and arcs given that the worldbuilding and conceits of the Parole as a setting were wild. Regan, one of the main characters, is a lizard-man. Rose, another main character, is a plant-woman with prosthetic legs built for her by her wife. The book features a sympathetic zombie named Zilch. Truly weird shit happens in Parole, but the emotional lives of the characters rang very true for me all the way through.

I loved this book. I love that, for once, I as a trans, queer person with disabilities was precisely, squarely the target audience for a book. Holy fuck how cool is that!

[caption id="attachment_2574" align="aligncenter" width="500"]giphy2 me when I realized All The Things about this book[/caption]

And the book works. Sylver's writing is tight and quippy. The characters have chemistry with one another. The plot has tension and stakes.

I can't wait for the next book.
Profile Image for Devann.
2,434 reviews134 followers
August 27, 2020
DNF @ 25%
actual rating: 2.5

I liked the idea of this book and also that there were so many great queer characters just casually populating the world, but I just could not get into the actual plot and at over 100k it was just waaay too long for me to put any more time and effort into it. Honestly I think the character interactions were just too cutesy for what I've been wanting to read lately. Genre fiction that has a diverse cast AND a grimdark plotline when?! I hate that I always have to choose between one or the other I'm sure this will be great for a lot of people and I have enjoyed some of this author's shorter works but this one just wasn't for me.
Profile Image for Chasia Lloyd.
699 reviews58 followers
September 21, 2017
A wonderful read I never wanted to end. So much queer love and comfort. Now, there is a lot of pain and hurt, too, but lots of love and comfort to balance it out. There is hope in a dystopian society, a message my bruised heart needed to see.
10 reviews
October 6, 2016
I read the first edition of this book when it first came out, in one day. I couldn't put it down to be frank, and now, a couple years later, I found myself reading Roanna Sylver's short story Runtime and read it again. I loved it the second time too.

Now I'm here to review the new edition, nearly a full rewrite of the original book, same plot, same characters, all new life to the story. I will say this: it is better. If you read the first edition of the book, read this one and you won't regret it. If this is your first introduction to the book, you are getting an amazing ride, strap in and get ready. This review got long but here's why Chameleon Moon is worth your time:

The dystopia has received a lot of attention in the past few years, with new books cropping up in the genre seemingly every other week, or faster. They all have their own rules for their societies, their own ways that the world has become a living hell for the people that have to live in it, and their own specific take on how to fix it. One thing that tends to be the same though is that these societies are generations in the making. We meet characters who have never known another life, whose parents never knew another life. Things happen the way they have for years.

These tend to be social commentaries, an extreme look at some aspect of human nature or Modern American Culture, something that is supposed to make us think. But one thing lacking in many of these is a sense of possibility. No matter how badly we may run the world into the ground, we or even our children would never live to see a Hunger Games being run or have to choose a faction to join for life ala Divergent.

Chameleon Moon is different. It shows us as true a dystopia as any, the city of Parole is plunged into ash and smoke, watched over by a military force every hour of the day. Quarantined off from the rest of the world, they live every day knowing it may be the last before the city is engulfed by fire or the Eye in the Sky picks them off the street to an unknown fate. But where other dystopias tend to show societies ten generations or more in the making, the world of Parole was created in just ten short years.

Our main cast is made up of people that lived a normal life before it all went wrong, people who before the drug that turned a good portion of Parole’s population into several varieties of superhuman were just… normal people. They lived normal lives, they went to high school, possibly college if they were old enough at the time, they had average lives and plans for their future.

There’s an immediacy to Chameleon Moon’s society that just isn’t there in most dystopias, this is a world that, while it has its fantastical elements, still holds a core of realism and fear. You may never live to see people grow scales or wings or gain the power of sonic screams, but the concept of an armed force taking over, imposing martial law, taking the carefully planned life you’ve created and ripping it all away to force you into a very near literal hell on Earth? That’s something that can happen. It’s something that does happen.

The characters are deeply relatable because the characters are much closer to representing the audience than most of dystopian fiction. Our main character, Regan, before he became the lizardman he is, was a normal teen faced with a sudden, terrifying change in circumstances. Many others in the main cast were only children, forced to contend with having to grow up in months instead of years to survive. These are people that could be us, could be our children, could be the people that we know and love. The world of Parole is not a far off social commentary, it’s a dark and terrifying glimpse into a future that could very easily happen.

But this immediacy, this huge emotional realism isn’t the only draw of Chameleon Moon. In a world that could so easily become completely hopeless, the author strives to create a book that is actually about hope. It’s not about the fear and the pain, though those of course are prominent features of the story, it’s ultimately about the love of friends and family and how people can work together to overcome the worst of situations. Chameleon Moon is a book about fear and loss but, most importantly, the fact that even when things are at their lowest, people can hold together. The cast survives and climbs out from the hell they live in and set themselves to making their lives together.

Which brings me to the biggest draw of Chameleon Moon, this cast I keep talking about. The reader will get a good look at the lives and motivations of everyone, from the main protagonist to the book’s major antagonist. It’s a story that concerns itself with how people react to the obstacles in their lives, how they change and mold to terrifying circumstance. Everyone is real, everyone is defined, and everyone – no matter how seemingly minor – can be important to the story.

In a similar vein, the readers themselves can get a sense of this with their own identities. This is not a cast of straight white men doing all the important things while everyone else sits to the side. The target audience of these novels – and indeed, this author – is those that never get to see themselves in stories at all, or at least not as triumphant main players. The cast spans a range of sexualities, gender identities, and races, with many disabled characters playing major roles rather than being limited to inspiration porn. People who so rarely see themselves in anything but minor roles if they exist at all in fictional worlds can see themselves here, something the author has very much dedicated themself to.

In short, Chameleon Moon is a story about hope and triumph in the face of a terrifying and very possible situation. It’s a story where everyone has a role to play and everyone is important to the tapestry of the plot, where diversity is anything but an afterthought, and everything is going to be okay. It’s a bumpy journey into the Chameleon Moon universe, but it’ll be a beautiful ride and well worth the read.
Profile Image for Kayla Bashe.
Author 32 books85 followers
October 12, 2014
Chameleon Moon is about a bunch of superpowered misfits trapped in a dying city. The book has an attention gripping cinematic opening, cool unique dialogue, and hella style.
For all its flaws, like the fact that it's kind of on fire from the bottom up a la that one Russian sinkhole full of gas that somebody decided to torch, the city of Parole is one of those places you'd want to visit, like Weetzie Bat's LA or Transexual Transylvania or Narnia, except with dystopian surveillance and hot chicks. Everyone has fantastic outfits and even cooler hair and they're so much more rad than anyone you've ever tried to be. Think cyberpunk Bordertown with a hint of X-Men. You can really picture what's going on, and the characters have really cool designs- Ro started out with the visual arts before turning into a writer, and diggity-dang-dang does it show. Also, there's a lot of representation (trans girl! lesbians! lizard-person with an anxiety disorder) and that's a pretty rad thing. Plus, there are some really neat twists, including one that had me putting my phone down so I could spend a few seconds nodding in appreciation, and one that made me go HOLY FREAKIN SHIT. No wonder Ro managed to predict all the twists in my book. They are the frickin queenking of twists.
However, Some antagonists throw some nasty transphobic language at a character, and that harshed my buzz. Also, I didn't like Regan, aka Killer, as much as I liked some of the other minor characters- I felt like he was supposed to be a character the audience could identify with, but I didn't always understand why he did the things he did. Finally, I would have liked the writing style to be a little bit more poetic. Other than that, though, I really liked the book, especially the epilogue. It moved my heart.

If you like books with aesthetic and ambiance- books that make you feel like, yeah, I want to dress like that, talk like that, organize my look like that- if you've read Bordertown for the millionth fucking time and want a new read about liminal cities and the people trying to survive and live and love in them- if you've read the Wild Cards series and want more superhero dystopias-then you should absolutely check this book.
Profile Image for Eloise.
594 reviews238 followers
August 4, 2017
This was a joy to read.

The plot was interesting and developped quite well, but the heart of this story is the characters.
They are all so loveable in their own way. All different, all flawed in some way but well rounded enough that you can't help but feel part of their family. They all love each other and want to protect each other and that is so beautiful.
It was also great to see an asexual dragon-scale-skinned guy filled with anxiety as the main character, along side a brilliant cast of polyamorous married women who love each other and their child to bits, with agender and transgender rep too. These representations aren't forced or explained to the other characters, they just ARE. Many of the characters are disabled in a certain way but all heroes nonetheless.

I got a little confused at times reading it because there isn"t one POV per chapter - it's an all-seeing type of narration where one phrase could be one character's feelings and the phrase after is another's. Sometimes my mind struggled to juggle that, but that is one tiny detail in the grand scheme of things.
I am one of those readers who seems to be more interested in the characters than world-building or plot. So based on that, I enjoyed it so much, and can't wait to get book 2.
Profile Image for Léá.
207 reviews37 followers
March 14, 2022
What a fantastic and unique concept.

Set within the quarantined walls of a burning city that is slowly crumbling into ruin ‘Chameleon Moon’ is a fast paced and visceral story of survival and superpowers. I was so intrigued by this strange, bleak story that, despite the dystopian world-building and dark storyline, is so very warm and heartfelt, deeply human and inclusive. It is very much a character driven story, featuring a delightfully diverse cast of beautiful, compassionate and complex individuals.

There is such focus on intersectionality and good representation in this story, which features an asexual protagonist, transgender and non-binary characters, neurodiverse and disabled characters, a polyamorous F/F/F relationship and positive depictions of mental illness. It’s hard not to fall in love with these characters, who would normally, at best, be sidekicks in a narrative – if present at all – but here get to take centre stage. Who get to be their own superheros.

Well written, intense but so much fun. Definitely recommend.
Profile Image for Mercurybard.
446 reviews4 followers
May 6, 2017
Jack has 3 moms. If that bothers you, proceed no further because this is a book about heroes who come in all shapes, sizes, genders, colors, and sexualities.

The setting of Parole, the quarantined city of mutants, is literally on fire and is fantastic. Think Battery City + Centralia, PA + District 13. The plot is well done, and the big reveal towards the end was not what I was expecting but satisfying and true to the story.

My problem with this book is that the writer's skills aren't quite up to the story they are trying to tell, and the editing needed to be harsher. There were quite a few places where I thought "Why are these characters having this conversation now? And why is it veering off in this direction?"

Like I said to a friend while expressing my frustration in a text, I want to see this book--the ideas, the plot, the setting, the characters--rewritten in a decade when the author has had the time to really hone their craft.
Profile Image for Olivia Waite.
Author 16 books829 followers
August 3, 2017
This book starts with a long slow burn, and ends with a bang. Fans of N. K. Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms will enjoy the complex site-specific worldbuilding, the balanced blend of fantasy and science. Mostly, though, this book is a cry from the heart -- it is about found families, being strong for those you love, and letting loved ones help you when you need it. Trans singer (and local superheroine) Evelyn Calliope is warm and comforting on the page: her love for her wives and her son steadies the first part of the book while Regan copes with the loss of his memories, and the loss of a love he only halfway remembers. Betrayal, revelation, and the ever-present menace of fire add an edge of fear, but despite the risk the story is far from grim.
Profile Image for Lia.
340 reviews93 followers
April 3, 2018
After all the hype, I was expecting to love this book! However, though I loved the characters, it was very confusing to me. A lot was happening, there were a lot of characters, different POVs and it all felt like someone gave me a bunch of puzzle pieces but didn’t tell me how they were supposed to fit together.
Profile Image for Tasha.
220 reviews567 followers
Shelved as 'on-hold'
July 1, 2017
I'm finding it very hard to get into this so I'm putting it on hold and I'll give it another try at some other time.
Profile Image for Amber.
215 reviews6 followers
March 27, 2020
Outstanding, so full of love

I've never read a book like this before, and now all I want is more. There's so much - so much love amid pain, hope amid fear, family amid a broken world - and the celebration of all people, everyone, diverse and LGBTQ and all beautiful and strong and vibrant and so deeply human. This is what every book should be like.
Profile Image for Sarah.
832 reviews231 followers
February 14, 2017
I loved Chameleon Moon so much, and I think it would hold a strong appeal for fans of Welcome to Night Vale.

Patrol is a true dystopian – a city where the sky is chocked with smoke and ash and the ground is just one step away from crumbling into the fires below. And above everything the helicopters of Eye in the Sky survey the super powered citizens, making sure no one can escape. But within this hellhole, the citizens of Patrol have found love, families, and the will to resist. Among them is Evelyn Calliope, a singer with a sonic voice who is the heroine that Patrol needs.

But in the beginning of Chameleon Moon, our main window into the world of Patrol is Regan, a lizard like man with the power to become invisible. Regan’s looking for an escape from Patrol, and a ghostly boy named Hans claims to be able to provide it. But when Regan balks at Hans’s stipulation – murder – Hans takes his memory, leaving Regan with no idea who he is or how Patrol functions. Luckily for him, it isn’t long before he finds help from Evelyn.

Chameleon Moon is wonderfully, fabulously diverse, with a cast that’s particularly impressive from a queer representation stand point. A large part of the cast is people of color, many of them have disabilities, and I’d say the vast majority are queer. Like, our protagonists are an asexual man with anxiety issues and a transgender superheroine in a polyamorus marriage with two other women. You have no idea how excited I was that Regan is asexual. And it’s even discussed on page! And it’s asexual representation from an ace spectrum author. This makes me so so happy. Oh, and it took me an embarrassing length of time to realize that Regan’s an asexual character with invisibility powers. The invisible asexual. How did I not get this sooner?

I honestly love these characters so much. I can’t chose a favorite, it’s just too hard. I relate to Regan in a way that I usually don’t. He’s asexual and has anxiety issues, aspects of myself that I rarely see reflected in the fiction I read, much less in the protagonists. But Evelyn is so awesome and badass but kind and caring too… And how can I forget Zilch, the nonbinary zombie who’s a total sweetie? I love them so much too. Don’t you see why I can’t choose a favorite? It’s impossible. This cast is just way too lovable.

The greatest strength of Chameleon Moon is the characters. Patrol is one of the most oppressive, depressing dystopians I’ve ever read about, but Chameleon Moon is yet weirdly optimistic. As terrible as everything is, this is a series about love, friendship, and family. It’s about people working together to make their lives better without throwing anyone else under the bus to do so.

“There’s always another way besides death, Hans.” Rose shook her head. “There’s hope, there’s love, and maybe you’ve given up on those things, but we haven’t.”

But even beyond the characters, there’s so much to love about Chameleon Moon. For one thing, the setting is just so original and inventive. Patrol is a cipher, and while I gradually got to know more and more about it over the course of the story, I think there’s still a lot more to be explored. But I won’t say too much, because the unfolding mystery of Patrol and it’s supernatural residents is not to be missed. Oh, and the super powers also felt incredibly imaginative. In particular, I loved Rose’s control over plants and how she found such a wide variety of uses for it. And Danae’s ability to bring metal to life was also pretty awesome, particularly how she used it to make prosthetics.

Chameleon Moon is more character focused than plot focused, and I think that led to it having a slower pace than you might normally find for dystopian or superhero books. I liked this book a lot, but it actually took me a while to read, longer than I would have expected based on its length. While I don’t want to give to much away plot wise, I do want to say that I loved how amnesia is used. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the character gets amnesia during the story. Although it came fairly soon into the book, it had the result of me knowing more about Regan than he did about himself, which had some delicious results.

Chameleon Moon is a well written, imaginative book filled with characters I adore. Is it any surprise that I can’t wait for book two?

Originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
Profile Image for Dakota Avery.
3 reviews
October 11, 2016
I was fortunate enough to have received an advanced copy of the Second Edition of Chameleon Moon, and let me tell you a thing:

I have been sat here for hours, attempting to write this for a number of days now; trying to wrangle in my ADHD and focus long enough to write a review worthy of this book. And I suppose that’s a good starting point right there.

If you know me then it is common knowledge that it is difficult for me to sit down and read anything longer that 1000 words. A wicked combination of ADHD and dyslexia make reading, and finishing, books near impossible - my final book report in grade 12 was actually written about a movie because even my English teacher understood how challenging it was for me. Yet when the first edition of Chameleon Moon came out, I picked it up and didn’t set it down again until it was done. The second edition had an even stronger effect on me. I got hooked, and I got hooked hard. I finished it in two days and liveblogged about it along the way, which in and of itself was amazing - that I was not only able to focus on the book until it was done, but that I was able to take breaks, post about what I’d just read, and go back to read more.

Read the epilogue. Read the prologue. Read the short stories set before, after, and in between. Read everything because you will thank yourself for it. Then you will thank RoAnna Sylver for creating it all. But make sure you buckle up before you do, because you’re in for a ride. A wild ride. A spinning-car-on-a-rollar-coaster-track kind of ride. The BEST kind of ride.

As soon as you think you know what’s going to happen, suddenly you’re doing a loop-de-loop. Your heart will be in your throat until it’s not; it’ll be ripped from you and SQUEEZED and you’ll be craving more even as you’re approaching another loop-de-loop. Except you’re not heading towards a loop-de-loop. Because next thing you know you’re free falling and unable to stop but you’ll land in pillows filled with love and you’ll realize everything is going to be okay. Reading the first edition will do nothing to prepare you for the second edition. Nothing. And you’ll love it, you really will.

Every ounce of the authors heart and soul bleeds out on every page, through every word, and it’s as if you’re reading about people you actually know, your own friends and family. And God, you’ll ache. You’ll ache for these people. You’ll ache so good. You’ll be teleported into the book, and everything else will fall away. You’ll feel what the characters feel, see what they see, even smell what they smell. You’ll choke on the smoke that engulfs their city, their lives, and you’ll still want more. You’ll cry and you’ll laugh and you’ll smile. God, your face will hurt from it.

Because Chameleon Moon is bittersweet, like chocolate. The best kind of chocolate. The kind that tickles your taste buds and comforts you after a hard day. A whole lot of sweet with just enough bitter to compliment the sweet. To make it sweeter. And you’ll want even more. God, you’ll just want MORE. You’ll want to gorge yourself on it. Make yourself sick with it. And you’ll love every second of it. Because in a year full of pain and injustice, Chameleon Moon was like a warm hug on a cold day. A thousand warm hugs.

It’s a must read for anyone who feels different or outcast, anyone who feels less than or wrong. Chameleon Moon is a game changer, because it takes to the rooftops and announces to the world that different isn’t bad. It isn’t less than, it isn’t wrong. Being different is what makes you great. Being different makes you a superhero. It shows you that there can be a happy ending, that there’s always hope. That everything is going to be okay.

Now go buy and read this book.
Profile Image for Polenth Blake.
Author 22 books49 followers
June 20, 2017
People with superpowers are kept in quarantine in the city of Parole. When an assassination goes wrong, Regan is left with amnesia, and it might have something to do with the larger issues of the city.

It's debatable in an ensemble cast whether anyone is a main character. I'm loosely saying they're Regan and Evelyn, as a lot of the plot and scenes revolve around their stories, even if they're from someone else's perspective. But other characters also have large roles, so it's open to interpretation. This is the second edition of the book.

Regan ends up with amnesia early in the story. It's a good handling of amnesia in general, such as Regan processing how he feels about not remembering anything, and the way the memories trickle back. If he did have his memories, the plot wouldn't be solved in five seconds, so it's not used in that way. The personal impact of not remembering things like his family is the primary focus.

What I wasn't fond of was the reason for the amnesia, because it's caused by Hans. I disliked the scenes he was in and hoped they'd be over quickly, which unfortunately, they never were. One issue is that Hans has mind powers which mean he can give people amnesia, control their minds, and is generally unstoppable. Which makes it hard for other characters to stand up to him. Hence when he's in a scene, it's all about him, and it's not going to end quickly.

Part of Regan's struggle to remember his past reveals he may be asexual, as he realises he doesn't find others sexually attractive. He's also a lizard person with PTSD and anxiety.

Evelyn is a superhero with singing powers. She's a trans woman and is in a poly relationship with two other women. I'm assuming she's non-white as her skin is described as brown. One of the things she has to face is her past. She left her birth family behind, but ends up having to return. Evelyn is misgendered by one of her family, though these scenes are brief.

There's a lot of diversity in the cast, including a non-binary person with they pronouns, someone with a double leg amputation, and multiple non-white people (though I was uncertain of exact races). PTSD is common, along with anxiety and depression. There are some references to suicide as part of this. It's not clear whether the characters in relationships view themselves as gay, lesbian, bi, pan and so forth. Regan's sexuality is the only one explicitly discussed. However, the relationships tend towards same gender or binary gender with non-binary.

Some of the books I've had recommended to me as lighter queer reads have turned out to have a constant threat of sexual violence. This one was noted to be somewhat darker, but it managed to avoid that particular issue. It has general violence, but that violence doesn't focus around sexual violence.

On the issue of darkness, the characters may be living in a disaster zone, but the end tends towards the hopeful rather than the tragic. Named characters have a very good chance of survival. Unnamed characters may not be so lucky.

I enjoyed a lot of things about the book. Parole is an interesting setting and it was good to find out more about the mysteries surrounding it. There's a lot of character time, as the characters talk and figure things out. I did feel it got confusing towards the end, in terms of exactly what was happening, and everyone's locations. I also really didn't like Hans, particularly because his powers made it hard for anyone to resist him. But my criticisms are minor, and for the most part, I'd be interested in seeing where it goes next.

Review from: http://blog.polenthblake.com/2017/06/chameleon-moon/
Profile Image for Alex.
609 reviews66 followers
October 10, 2020
Love yourself, love the people around you, and never give up. If you need help, reach out. If you’re drowning, make some noise. There are people who love you, who will throw you a life preserver. That’s what it all comes down to, love. That’s how we’re gonna get through this. And we are gonna get through this.

Third read edit, 2020.10.10.

Book Three WHEN??


Second read edit, 2018. 01. 10: I still adore this book, and everything it stands for. I adore the descriptions, but most of all I adore the characters and the messages. You're not alone, we're here, we'll make it through this together, everything is going to be okay.

My only complains that the pacing felt really weird both times - it's like the last 40% of the book is just one big action scene. And don't get me wrong, it's an amazing action scene, but all the action and the plot twists and the new information without any breaks gets a little exhausting.

(Original review below)


“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."


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.

Trigger warnings

Suicide mention/description (specifically hanging), anxiety, panic attacks, torture.

My rating: ★★★★★
Profile Image for Sinamile .
378 reviews7 followers
June 7, 2020
TW/CW: torture, mentions of ptsd, mentions of anxiety, mentions of depression, mentions of drug use, mentions of dissociation, mention of trauma (mental/physical), allusion to suicide, fire

I really fricking appreciate that a trans character didn't have to be deadnamed to show that they're trans. I really fricking appreciate how normalized pronouns are. I really fricking appreciate how much ptsd and anxiety and such are spoken about, how real they're made. I really fricking appreciate this book!

Oh my lawrd, I love this book, okay. I love it so much!

Like okay, so much happens in this book, like these characters don't know what the word break means, but it's such a good book omg!

I love every single character in this book, even Hans who I wanted to fight so many times. I every single character that shows up in this book, I love Regan, I love Evelyn, I love Rose and Danae and Jack and I love Zilch and Finn, and Finn's bad driving, and I love Cassandra, and Jenny and Cai, and Lisette and Wren and Liam and Toto-Dandy, and even though I was feeling apprehension by the end I love Garrett, I love Gabriel and Radio Angel and I'm probably forgetting people but I love them all.

I am so excited and nervous and mostly excited for the next book. I'm excited to know what will happen next with Regan, I want to know where everyone is, if they're all safe, if they're all alive. I want to see how everyone gets out. I want to know more about Radio Angel. I want to see more of the relationships (fricking polyam for the win, my friends!)

There is so much goodness in this, so much drama and stress, but so much goodness. There is so much I want to see next! Like I am ready to get my heart broken but mended. I can't wait to see what RoAnna Sylver does, can't wait to get lost once more in the pages of their amazing writing.

I am so excited OMG!
Profile Image for Cande.
1,030 reviews180 followers
April 30, 2020

Chameleon Moon is a wonderful, heartwarming and hopeful story about found families and resistance.

Parole is on fire, literally on fire. The city is chaos, the government is corrupted and everything seems pointless. Here it comes Evelyn, Parole superheroine, and her wonderful friends and family. They're the resistance, bringing hope and rescuing citizens.

There are many characters and I loved all, the diversity is amazing. For the first time, I read about people like me surviving, people like me who are superheroes salving the world.

Evelyn is a trans woman and she is married to Rose (disabled woman of color) and Danae. Yes, they're a f/f/f couple and they have the sweetest little boy, Jack. Their relationship made me laughed and smiled so much.

Regan is asexual and has PTSD (like many characters) and anxiety. He loses his memory at the beginning of the book, and although he remembers his name, he doesn’t know what it is happening. Evelyn finds him confused and scared, and decides to help him.

It is such a clever way to present the world-building and the story. It doesn’t overwhelm us with information nor leave us disoriented.

I said like ten times how hopeful this book is because I needed that hope so much. Everything in Parole is burning but the main characters find time to encourage each other and be around their friends and family. It is so sweet and heartwarming.

I felt so invested with story and the characters, Chameleon Moon is fascinating and I couldn’t put the book down.
Profile Image for Tobias Deleskiewicz.
Author 6 books4 followers
May 22, 2015
This book has just been such a comfort these past few months. It has everything in it that makes my heart skip a best and a smile to come to my face. Basically, everything that makes for a good story as set out by the princess bride, "fencing (weeeell standoffs in a dystopian city under martial law), fighting, torture, revenge, giants (zombie people that are total teddy bear sweethearts), monsters (of the two legged variety), chases, escapes, true love, miracles." Chameleon Moon has all that, as well as an engaging story and believable, heartfelt characters aND HOLY SHIT THE REPRESENTATION


if you like having lesbians and trans people and poly couples and neurodivergent people and disabled people and non white people and the disenfranchised and the poor and those fighting against corrupt institutions and explorations of what shoving down negative emotions for the benefit of other people and how far you are willing to go for the good of other people in your fiction? you want to read this book. Like. Yesterday. You don't understand. I will personally, lovingly, press a copy of this book into your hands, look deep into your eyes, and tell you that this is me doing the world entire and you in particular a solid.

There needs to be more acknowledgement of this book, and if this is how I do it, do it I shall.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Solly.
447 reviews31 followers
February 21, 2019

No, honestly, I had heard so much good about Chameleon Moon and was kinda worried to start it because what if I didn't like it?? Especially since it took me a little while to get into it. But once I got into it, it was really damn amazing, what a ride.

It is not your typical dystopian novel, it's original and hopeful and far from grim even if there is some violence. It's also all you could ask for from a diverse book, it's so queer, so many disabled characters, characters of colour, good mental health/trauma rep I'm IN LOVE

It's super character-driven which is 100% my jam and I loved all the characters so so much. Zilch the zombie enby got a special place in my heart, but Regan and Evelyn were amazing MCs that I'd die for and honestly I'm just kind of... wow at the worldbuilding and the characters and everything.

I had such a great time reading this and can't wait to read the sequel (and before that, all the damn short stories!! I'm so happy there's so much content in this universe and with these characters because I love them so so much!!)

TW: obviously a lot of fires and fiery stuff, torture, death, violence, guns, poisoning, panick attacks, and other things I can't really remember right now.
Profile Image for Elke.
443 reviews87 followers
December 16, 2017
4 or 4.5 stars

This book was great! I loved the diversity, how it felt so natural and safe. I love the fact that there are literal superheroes and that most of them struggle with mental illness. That their powers didn't take that away, and that they (we) can be the heroes too. I love that even though it was heavy at times, this was ultimately positive and hopeful. How almost all characters in the book were fine with all the diversity too, almost no judging, always accepting and offering space. Even though it was sometimes triggering due to the anxiety, this book felt like a safe space, and one I could see myself in and find other people like me.
It took me a while to figure out what was going on and I felt like it was much slower in the first half than the second, but I enjoyed all parts. I'm very curious to see where the story will go next!

Rep: polyamory, f/f, depression, anxiety, ptsd, a trans (polya) mc, an ace (polya) mc, a character with pronouns they/them and another non-binary side character.

TW: anxiety, anxiety attacks, ptsd, violence, possession, torture, discussion of suicide
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