Things are heating up for Samantha Ruiz, a high school student with a bad habit of disappearing- literally. Her best friend is giving her the cold shoulder, the boy she likes is sending mixed signals, and oh yeah- evil scientists are hunting her down to experiment on her.
The second book in Cidney Swanson’s Ripple series gets off to a running start. There are a few stumbling blocks of exposition as Swanson deals with the always problematic recapping of the last book, but after that it’s smooth going. The pace of this sequel is much faster than the first book. The action starts immediately, and the plot moves quickly enough that it’s difficult to put down. There’s clearly a lot of thought behind it as well- I had a sort of tip-of-the-iceberg feeling more than once.
This is particularly the case with the villains. The notes between the chapters (in this case, from Helga’s biography of her father) continue to provide insight into the bad guys even when they’re not actually present. The one we do spend the most time with, Ivanovich/Deuxiémè, is one of the most fascinating. I was quite attached to him by the end. Helmann himself remains hidden apart from what we learn of him from other sources.
Of the good guys, my favorite is Sir Walter. His presence is reassuring, but he’s not portrayed as all-powerful, and he has a sort of old-fashioned, grandfatherly air about him. Gwyn, on the other hand, I wanted to slap. She gave Sam the cold shoulder for a year because she mistakenly thought Will was beating her, and she gets off the hook with a simple apology? It might be believable that Sam is just happy to have her friend back, but Gywn appears to feel no guilt for abandoning her friend and talking about her behind her back. I’d kick her to curb. Then again, when I’m emotionally invested enough it a character to be yelling at the page, it’s usually a sign that the author’s doing a good job!
Swanson is currently working on the third book in the Ripple Series, and she will be gracing Word Vagabond with a guest post next week to talk about her experiences in independent publishing. Don’t miss it!
Title: Chameleon (Book Two in the Ripple Series)
Author: Cidney Swanson
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication: Williams Press, September 1st, 2011
Price: $11.99 (paperback), $3.99 (e-book, all formats)
Author’s Website: http://cidneyswanson.blogspot.com/