Book Title: Chameleon Assassin
Author Name: B.R. Kingsolver
Genre: Urban Fantasy, science fiction, post-apocalyptic dystopian
Hosted by: Ultimate Fantasy Book Tours
Libby is a mutant, one of the top burglars and assassins in the world. For a price, she caters to executives’ secret desires. Eliminate your corporate rival? Deliver a priceless art masterpiece or necklace? Hack into another corporation’s network? Libby’s your girl.
Climate change met nuclear war, and humanity lost. The corporations stepped in, stripping governments of power. Civilization didn’t end, but it became less civilized.
There are few rules as corporations jockey for position and control of assets and markets. The corporate elite live in their walled estates and skyscraper apartments while the majority of humanity supplies their luxuries. On the bottom level, the mutants, the poor, and the criminals scramble every day just to survive.
Chameleon Assassin by B.R. Kingsolver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Libby is a mutant. She can change her appearance to match shadows, decor – and other people. Her talents are perfect for her life as a security expert, thief, and assassin. After all, how can you track down a criminal when you’ve no idea what they look like?
A brace of legitimate jobs draws her into an underworld of drug dealing, a place she feels out of her depth, forcing her to rely on backup when she normally operates alone. It helps enormously that the backup is good looking, intelligent, and has a great body. If only she can keep things on a professional level…
This book has a great premise, excellent near-future world building, and plenty of action. Libby is a sassy character with a heart of gold, and an awesome range of skills. I liked the fact that the situation takes her out of her comfort zone, otherwise she would have found the whole thing too easy.
It’s a smooth read, clear visual scenes and action, and the dialogue rolls off the tongue nicely. There is some humour, which is welcome in a book dealing with a serious issue – I laughed aloud when the know-it-all agency decides to storm a ghetto at night without first investigating the inhabitants. Libby knows they’re vampires, but will they listen to her? No. Oh dear…
I did have a few niggles, though overall I enjoyed the read.
For me there are too many info-dumps in the opening chapters, just Libby telling you how the world works. To my mind that’s lazy writing: information should come out in the narrative, not be told directly to the reader.
Like a few other reviewers, I found Libby’s random lack of emotional reaction rather off-putting and unrealistic. Yes, she gets passionate about orphans and fellow mutants, but kill a couple of guys who just happen to be doing their jobs, and it means nothing to her. Okay, so an assassin might well be able to kill a target dispassionately, but her emotions seemed to switch on and off as it suited the story, not as any logic of her character.
Aside from a bit of frustration with the convoluted plot, I was pleased to find the end satisfying, and I would happily read further books in the series, as the issues I’ve mentioned became less intrusive as the story progressed, and I warmed to the characters and the complex world they inhabit.
I made silver and turquoise jewelry for almost a decade, ended up in nursing school, then took a master’s in business. Along the way I worked in construction, as a newspaper editor, a teacher, and somehow found a career working with computers.
As to my other interests, I love the outdoors, especially the Rocky Mountains. I’ve skied since high school, with one broken leg and one torn ACL to show for it. I’ve hiked and camped all my life. I love to travel, though I haven’t done enough of it. I’ve seen a lot of Russia and Mexico, not enough of England. Amsterdam is amazing, and the Romanian Alps are breathtaking. Lake Tahoe is a favorite, and someday I’d like to see Banff.
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