Series: Chameleon Moon #2
Also in this series: Chameleon Moon
Parole is still burning. And now the day everyone has been waiting for is finally here: it’s collapsed. A lucky few managed to escape with their lives. But while their city burned, the world outside suffered its own devastating disaster. The Tartarus Zone is a deadly wasteland a thousand miles wide, filled with toxic storms, ghostly horrors, and just as many Eyes in the Sky as ever. Somehow, this new nightmare is connected to Parole. And it’s spreading. Now Parole’s only hope lies in the hands of three teenagers reunited by their long-lost friend Gabriel - in their dreams. Growing up outside Parole, Shiloh Cole always had to keep xir energetic powers a secret, except from xir parents, Parole’s strategist-hero Garrett, and Tartarus expert Maureen. When Parole collapsed, all contact was lost. Now, connected by Gabriel and their colliding pasts, xie joins collapse survivor Annie and the enigmatic, charismatic Chance on a desperate cross-country race, carrying a disc of xir mother’s vital plans, whose encrypted contents may be Parole’s salvation. First they’ll board the FireRunner, a ship full of familiar faces that now sails through Tartarus’ poison storms. Together, they’ll survive Tartarus’ hazards, send a lifeline to lost Parole - and uncover the mystery connecting every one of them. The world outside Parole isn't the one they remember, and it didn’t want them back. But they'll save it just the same. It's what heroes do.
Also by this author: Chameleon Moon, Stake Sauce Arc 1, But Not Up Here (Poems About Remembering In Neon)
The Lifeline Signal by RoAnna Sylver is the second book in the Chameleon Moon set. As the book covers a wholly new set of protagonists, you can read it without having read the first book.
I’m half-tempted to recommend it because The Lifeline Signal answers many of my questions about the clarity of the place Parole has in the world at large that I had left at the end of Chameleon Moon (and, while I understand why that book doesn’t provide these answers, I still feel I needed them to fully appreciate what RoAnna is doing with the dystopian aspects of the story).
On the other hand, knowing what happened in Chameleon Moon will help masses in understanding the relationships and dynamics between a lot of the side-characters in this book because, like with Chameleon Moon, our main protagonist is, by and large, working with limited information and in the week or so that this story takes place in there’s precious little time for anyone to catch xem up on literally years worth of relationships between everyone around xie.
And oh, yes, the protagonist of this book is nonbinary and uses neopronouns and it is every bit as fantastic as you’d imagine. (Though, hi, my least favourite pronunciation of neopronouns because languages.) As with Chameleon Moon this book is filled to the brim with different kinds of representation, much of it ownvoices. If you’ve loved what Chameleon Moon did with representation, you’ll not want to hesitate to pick up The Lifeline Signal because it offers you so much more of the delightful mix that Chameleon Moon started.
You’ll just have to spend some time getting to know some of the characters because very few of the characters we’ve grown to love in Chameleon Moon even have a cameo in this book. Since Shiloh, Annie and Chance are all awesome in their own right, though, this isn’t exactly a hardship. Just a note of caution if you’re expecting a traditional series following the same characters every book.
I do still wish that the world as a whole was a little stronger and clearer to me, though. Even though The Lifeline Signal gave me a lot of the answers I was looking for in Chameleon Moon, I was still left feeling nebulous about the interactions between Parole and the world at large.
But honestly? Despite really wanting to see more of the world, I also… kind of don’t really mind? It’s a weird feeling, but it’s a terrific book, really. Even though it’s fast-paced and I wouldn’t have minded it slow down a little, it also manages to pause and let the reader catch their breath and get to know the characters. The plethora of representation is a breathe of fresh air and oh is RoAnna not afraid to write intersectional representation! There is so much intersectional representation and it’s glorious. Like with Chameleon Moon, RoAnna approaches the representation with a gentleness and respect that takes my breath away because I rarely see it handled with this level of care, acceptance and positivity even when the representation isn’t intersectional.
The relationships between the characters are great too, Shiloh and xer friends also live in a dystopia, though unlike Parole theirs isn’t literally on fire and threatening to collapse into a pit, but RoAnna manages to keep that same sense of family and care that hallmarked Chameleon Moon. It’s a positive dystopia, with hope and love at its core. The three protagonists have also been meeting in dreams for a long time, before finally meeting in the waking world. It’s the start of a dystopian roadtrip race to Parole and to the safety of family and friends.
And the story throws up so many more questions, not so much about the villain, but about what actually happened. About what is actually going on and whether it’s genuinely as bad as people have made it out to be. It’s also setting up some strong questions on what’s going to happen when the plotlines of Chameleon Moon and The Lifeline Signal converge because wow does that have the potential to get messy. It’s going to be amazing and I can’t wait to see how this unfolds.
I just. If there’s anything I dislike about The Lifeline Signal is that I think with a bit more tweaking it could have been even more awesome than it already is. It was just so much fun to read. I think I read it though in about one sitting because I just didn’t want to put it down. It gives me all the warm fuzzy feels. <3
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