On my connection to this blog tour: I am a blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. I have been hosting for nearly a year now and I appreciate the diversity of genre selections and styles of stories to choose from whilst I navigate the audiobook realms!
Why I wanted to listen to this story:
When I first learnt of this series, my first instincts were this could be a brilliant way of getting my feet wet back into Speculative Fiction on the Fantasy side of the ledger. However, what truly rooted me in wanting to tackle a trilogy before #WyrdAndWonder is the fact that it isn’t often I find a Fantasy series which intrigues me to read – at least not on the YA side of things. I’ve been spoilt dearly on the #LelandDragons series and thus, I thought it would be a keen idea to take a chance on a #newtomeauthor and see if this particular series could win me over as much as Jackie Gamber’s!
What I have enjoyed thus far along in The Forest People series:
One of the more gutting openings I’ve listened to in an audiobook were within the first sequences of The Awakening and yet it was also the most beautiful. A selfless act of love and the purity of that choice to bring a child into the world bridging two different species together and ultimately uniting the world to reveal an ancient prophecy their species do not wish to see brought to fruition is how this story first begins.
The parents of Camryn (Wynbune to her people, the forest people as they are known in their unity) are both Quatcho (a furry species of tall stature) and Mazikeen (a sub-species of the fey). Not since I’ve started to read short stories of Speculative origins have I seen such an achingly beautiful origin story etched into a Fantasy – this origin of how Camryn came to be bourne and the sacrifices of her parents is singularly one of my favourite opening bridges which anchours her past to her present. Her mother’s release from the forest reminded me dearly of a beloved scene from Avatar but also from the passages of those short stories wherein Earthly magic and native beliefs were the backbone of the mythologies explored in those previous stories I loved reading. They felt larger than their short lengths and they inspired my mind to re-consider the plausibilities of where Fantasy can take you through a character’s journey. In a continued sense of awareness, I loved the instincts Lynch had for giving us Camryn’s rite of birth.
Nakani and Kia shared a special love and their short love story is memorable because of how they had bonded to each other whilst choosing this path to bring a daughter into a world who would not readily accept her but find her disagreeable to the ordered path their species felt was natural. What is so terribly gutting about this love story is how tragic it ends and how the prophecy they nurtured into existence is what foretold their own fates as much as their daughter’s. It was this humbled origin which sprung forth the uniqueness of having a daughter adopted out of both their species and placed into the human world. It was there where Camryn felt her differences the most – if you cross-relate this story to a very well-known series, you’ll immediately spy out the similarities of a child ‘cast-out’ of their kinship and kind only to be re-discovered lateron. However, despite this wrinkle of curious overlay and familiarity there are a few distinct differences – especially because of how Camryn starts to evolve and transmorph as she rises into her sixteenth year.
I wasn’t a bit surprised how this story was tracking through the psychological effects of Camryn coming to terms with how different she was from her adoptive family nor how they had loved her unconditionally. I think if Lynch had taken this to a different level of realisation on both their behalf’s – if her adoptive family had had any conditions placed on their daughter OR if Camryn herself hadn’t been as authentically raw and real in the opening chapters to describe her own afflictions and emotional anguish – I might not have felt as connected to her journey as I had.
When the story grew a bit more interesting is when Ohar and Camryn are in the forest – where the overlays of the world are stronger and where we gleam more about Lynch’s vision for The Forest People. The struggle of will inside Ohar isn’t overly examined – it was almost as if that one scene with his Mum was the deciding moment of where he chose to go against her wishes and to do what was right – not for himself but his species, for the sake of their existence and the perservation of their beliefs. His strength is rooted in how he views his purpose and how he chooses to accept his destiny. And, yet, I felt part of his character was a bit under-developed as it was very much matter of fact without contest or argument. I thought for sure there would be more to say about how he would determine his own path outside of his mother’s will – even though she did threaten him, I felt this part of the ominous bits of the world we were entering were left undone or rather unresolved. They simply became a non-issue – as you readily observe once Ohar and Camyrn return to the forest.
Whilst their in the forest, I couldn’t sort out why Lynch was radically changing our perception about Camryn – as she felt older in the chapters leading into this one – although, part of me questioned if her descending age or behaviour patterns had to do with the effect of her crossing into the realm where she was bourne vs the world in which she was raised. There is a difference in place and time, and when your dealing with the fey in most stories, there is a uniqueness of ‘where’ you are vs how you are in other places – almost as if your behaviour, mannerisms and natural essence are influenced by your setting. Or rather, I suppose I ought to say, perhaps by going back to the forest, this newer version of Camryn was her original self trying to come back into her skin? It just felt a bit muddled even though it was quite the compelling quest for Ohar to take-on as a lot was brokering on his success.
Lynch has a knack for developing the world within The Forest People which reminds me of why I personally have become attached to the stylings of Urban Fantasy. She has co-anchoured this journey of Camryn firmly between the world in which she was raised (ie. amongst humans) and the ethereally enchanting forest which in of itself is dimensionally greater than it appears. Like most Urban Fantasies which take us on the journey through the conventions of dimensional time and the conceptional awareness of our world as it is viewed on the surface and not between what is veiled from human sight – Lynch endeavours us to take this journey with her characters; to seek what is beyond.
Part of Lynch’s world-building is to prepositional us into how her world is set to a rhythm of belief where all of life is connected to each other and the difference truly lies in the perception of what is understood. Meaning, for the Forest People themselves – their awareness is more acute rather than the humans’ perception is stunted and limited. It is a perceptional novel in many regards – how you choose to perceive yourself, how others perceive you (outside of your own image) and how the perception of our time within our lives can alter what we can accomplish if we’re hindered by this crippling sense of ‘otherness’ which isn’t our truest sense of self.
One interesting thing to note is how I felt she was written Camryn in a descension of age – meaning, the more time Camryn spent in the forest after her imprisonment and confinement, the more she seemed to regress and age progressively ‘backwards’ rather than forwards. And, then rather suddenly she would be increasingly moving towards a maturity for her species – caught between being a girl and a woman with all the confusing emotions interspersed with the changes in her mood, attitude and emotional balance.
-quoted from my review of Chameleon: The Awakening
A human chameleon. An endangered mythical forest. Can she bond with a dragon in time to save her new family?
Camryn Painter has enough identity issues without discovering a deadly new magic coursing through her veins. Though her chameleon-like abilities herald her as the forest people’s savior, she’s terrified by the growing dark power within her. And it only gets worse when she realizes that to control this new magic she’ll have to bond with a deadly Thunder Dragon…
As Camryn embarks on her dangerous quest, she discovers that the same human tyrants who experimented on her are behind multiple grisly murders as well. To fulfill her destiny, she may just have to infiltrate her former prison.
Can Camryn master her new abilities to stave off more death, or will power-hungry humans destroy her magical home for good?
Chameleon: The Choosing is the second book in The Forest People YA paranormal fantasy series. If you like heroic challenges, original creatures, and frightening battles between dark and light, then you'll love Maggie Lynch's rousing adventure.
Places to find the book:
Published by Windtree Press
on 8th May, 2018
Format: Audiobook | Digital
Length: 5 hours and 23 minutes (unabridged)
Published by: Windtree Press
The Forest People series:
Formats Available: Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook