Sunday, 15 July 2012

Chameleon (Rippler #2)

Author: Cidney Swanson
Genre: Supernatural / Young Adult
Type: e-book for Kindle
First Published: September 2011
Published By: Williams Press
Series Order: Rippler (June 2011), Chameleon (Sept 2011), Unfurl (2012)
First Line: "Excerpted from my Father's Brilliant Journal by Helga Gottlieb -- Killing Kathryn Ruiz and her daughter Samantha seemed a simple assignment."

Synopsis: Samantha Ruiz seems like the typical American teenager ... if you overlook her quirky ability to literally disappear.  Add in the fact that her best friend is not speaking to her, she's trying to learn more about Rippling and she's unsure about her relationship with Will ... oh, and a mad scientist is hunting her down, and you can see that Sam's life is more stressful than the typical teen.

When Will, Sam and Will's sister, Mickie, are given the opportunity to travel to France on a school trip they take advantage of the situation and set up a meeting with Will and Mickie's mysterious benefactor Sir Walter.  Under the guidance of Sir Walter, Sam and Will are able to learn more about what being a Rippler entails and are given a clearer picture of what evil forces they are up against.
My Thoughts:  This is the second book in the Rippler series.  Typically, I've found that the second book in a series tends to wane a bit for me.  I've already been introduced to the setting and characters so the subsequent books need to bring their 'A games' when it comes to the plot/twists to keep me interested. 

I'm happy to report that Chameleon didn't fall into the 'sophomore blues' category.  The first book in the series, Rippler, was used to introduce us to the characters and plot but Chameleon can be aptly described as the book where 'the plot thickens'. Ms Swason wastes no time in jumping right into the storyline and delving into the sinister storyline involving rippler syndrome as well as further developing the main characters.

The main characters could have easily gotten stuck in a rut and not further developed but I found all of the main characters to be very well-rounded and believable.  Sam begins to see herself as much more capable and stronger than she originally thought.  And while I didn't love Will in the first book, I was happy to see that in Chameleon he held his ground with Sam, Mickie and the quirky Sir Walter.  I even enjoyed the chemistry between two of the teens.  It wasn't written as a saccharine teen romance (as some teen romances are apt to be) and I appreciated the fact that it didn't take over the book or detract from the suspense of the main storyline.

As for Sir Walter?  I found him to be a wonderful addition to the fairly young cast of characters.  He brings a knowledgeable, yet not infallible, great (great, great??) uncle kind of character who helps the teens learn more about what it's like to be a Rippler/Chameleon.  He's old school but not stodgy and he quickly became one of my favourite characters. 

One of the aspects of this series that I continue to enjoy are the short blurbs at the beginning of each chapter where the villains recount, via journal entries/letters, what's going on inside their heads.  It gives the reader a very unique opportunity to get a peek inside the mind of the villain while not giving too much away.  The reader is also given a better understanding of why the villains are after Sam before Sam even knows.

Ms Swanson has the rare ability to successfully develop her characters, plot and keep the suspense on high throughout her story.  If you're looking for a new brand of YA supernatural read I highly recommend picking up Rippler.  I'm really looking forward to reading the final book in this unique YA supernatural trilogy.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Note: I received a complimentary e-book copy of this book directly from the author.  All opinions expressed in my review are uniquely my own.

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