The Forest People, Book 1
BY MAGGIE LYNCH
Narrated by Rachel Jacobs
Length: 7 hours 54 minutes
Series: The Forest People, Book 1
Publisher: Windtree Press
Release date: Jan. 29, 2018
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy
A teenage shifter turned captive. A magical land in danger. Is she a monster or a savior?
Sixteen-year-old Camryn Painter struggles with more than the usual teenage identity issues. As a human chameleon, emotions trigger a transformation into the visage of whomever she sees. But when her foster parents die in a crash and she's taken captive by so-called scientists, she’s not sure if she’s human or just a freak of nature.Desperate to control her abilities and escape, Camryn emerges from her prison and into a dangerous magical forest. Surrounded by dragons, faeries, and other extraordinary creatures hungry for her power, some in the forest claim she's their prophesied savior. Unfortunately for her, that declaration triggers a supernatural civil war.Can Camryn unite the fractured forest people, or will her powers erase more than her own identity?Chameleon: The Awakening is the first book in The Forest People YA paranormal fantasy series. If you like incredible worlds filled with unique creatures, intriguing twists and turns, and heartfelt coming-of-age stories, then you'll love Maggie Lynch's enthralling adventure.
HALL WAYS REVIEW: AUDIO BOOK REVIEW. 3.5-4 STARS. To begin, my apologies for likely butchering the spelling of every proper noun in this book. They are as creative as the story itself and add to the mystical feeling of the parallel world of the Forest People.
For much of Chameleon: The Awakening, chapters alternate between the Forest worlds and the modern world. In the former, the world is fantastical with magical settings and creatures, mysterious powers and forces, and layers of dimensions within which inhabitants roam. In the latter, the world is modern and realistic, dominated by Camryn, a teenager who better fits the magical world than the modern one – only she doesn’t realize it.
The prologue is excellent, and Rachel Jacobs perfectly narrates the rich descriptions, and builds the world for readers. Her hushed tones in the voicing of both Naconni and Thea sets the stage for a reverent love that binds them despite the codes that forbid their union within their two different societies.
“How can I keep something in my mind I don’t
understand and have never seen?”
“Faith. Faith is what you have when there is nothing else.”
The next chapter shifts readers into the contemporary world and introduces us to main character Camryn, fifteen, in full teenager drama and angst – again, deftly narrated by Rachel Jacobs. Though at first it seems this suburban setting is a normal one, it quickly slips into fantasy here, too, as Camryn’s unique abilities and powers come into focus.
“There was something different about him.”
The story continues to unfold by alternating chapters between the world outside of the forest and the world within, and these separate world stories seem a little disconnected and disjointed. But as the story progresses, there is more and more overlap as characters are crossing boundaries and worlds are colliding. Much of the collision of characters results in predictable outcomes and treads the line on cliché, but it still entertains.
“The Boha’a lean toward the dark, but not too far. They are not truly evil; just as the light is not all good, the dark is not all bad.”
There are a lot of tribes in the Forest, and the downside of reading with your ears instead of your eyes is that it is difficult to keep them straight, and it’s not clear who is good and who isn’t. Author Maggie Lynch intentionally muddies those good/evil waters so that readers are kept on their toes and must make some decisions for themselves.
There are some holes and inconsistencies in the plot and too many places where readers are given information without explanation and expected to accept it without question. Nonetheless, Chameleon is a good start to an intriguing premise for a series, and I am hopeful that Lynch will clean-up and tighten-up the story in the next installment, Chameleon: The Choosing, which I won’t hesitate to read with my ears. This fantastical world is definitely worth visiting and revisiting, and I feel invested in Camryn now.
ABOUT THE NARRATION: As mentioned already, Rachel Jacobs does an excellent job voicing her characters whether male or female, tribal or modern, human, human-like, or creature. She does have a couple of mispronunciations and misinterpretations of how scenes should have been read (for example, Camryn, who speaks like any teenager does, suddenly slips into a different pattern when she meets her father for the first time). Overall, Jacobs succeeds as a narrator, is easy to listen to, and does a great job telling a story. I did bump the speed to 1.3x to get the pace more aligned with my preference (kudos to the Authors Direct platform for allowing such small increments).
Thank you to the author and to Audiobookworm Productions for providing me an audio download in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Maggie Lynch. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Maggie Lynch is the author of 20+ published books, as well as numerous short stories and non-fiction articles. Her fiction tells stories of men and women making heroic choices one messy moment at a time. Maggie is also the founder of Windtree Press, an independent publishing cooperative with over 200 titles among 20 authors.
Her love of lifelong-learning has garnered degrees in psychology, counseling, computer science, and education; and led to opportunities to consult in Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. Since 2013, Maggie and her musician husband have settled in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where she now enjoys the luxury of writing full-time. Her fiction spans romance, suspense, science fiction and fantasy titles. Her current non-fiction titles are focused on helping career authors succeed in the business side of writing and publishing.
Rachel is an actor, singer and voice artist based in Los Angeles. She received a BA from Oberlin College’s Theatre Program and did intensive study with the American Conservatory Theatre, the National Theater Institute & Shakespeare and Company. She began voiceover work while on tour in Hong Kong, dubbing live action shows and voicing many characters for cartoons. After returning to the states she toured the west coast as a resident performer with California Theatre Center and has been narrating audiobooks since then. When not recording books Rachel makes hair bows and headbands for her shop on Etsy and can be seen running around as a who-fairy princess in Universal’s Grinchmas.
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