Author: A.A. Bell
Further fossicking through the TBR pile turned up Leopard Dreaming, the final installment in the Mira Chambers trilogy by Norma K. Hemming Award winner A.A. Bell. I really enjoyed both Diamond Eyes and Hindsight so was extremely excited for Leopard Dreaming when it arrived but was quite behind by the time it was released and allowed the more than 600 page count to deter me from reading it immediately. This week I decided massive page count or not it was time I found out what happened to Mira.
Early on I worried that perhaps I had left it too long and I was going to be lost, finding it too difficult to pick up the threads of the story but fortunately that wasn’t the case. It did take a little while to catch myself up on events leading up to Leopard Dreaming but once I was back in the zone I was certainly there.
Leopard Dreaming begins with Mira and her bodyguard, ex-Lieutenant Lockman, tracking the movements of General Kitching to try and discover where he had taken Matron Maddy Sanchez after her kidnapping.
Mira has gained her freedom, of a sort, but at a very high price. Ben has been seriously injured, along with his mother and Lockman’s ex-partner Tarin Sei. Matron Maddy has been kidnapped and Mira will stop at nothing to rescue her, though she does still want to do it without any involvement from General Garland or her people, even though she knows they aren’t far away and they are always watching.
Leopard Dreaming is more thriller than fantasy with the main story arc being Mira and Lockman’s search for Kitching and Matron Sanchez. There is lots of intrigue as we try to keep abreast of which side each of the military personnel are on and slowly uncover the complete story behind Kitching’s plans. There are gun fights and ambushes and all manner of alliances being made alongside growing attractions and love triangles.
Having spent half her life in institutions and orphanages Mira is finally getting a taste of independence and she wants to explore it but it’s hard for those around her to appreciate just how self sufficient she can be. Every day sees her learn more about the gifts bestowed on her by Fragile X Syndrome and her newest pair of glasses offer the best range of ‘hues’ by which to control her gift.
This is definitely a trilogy best read start to finish to ensure you have all the info about what’s going on because the story is quite intricate and involved, with Leopard Dreaming holding a few twisted little surprises that knocked me a little off centre.
Mira is slowly learning to trust, not everyone but definitely a select few. The first two books saw the beginnings of a relationship with Ben but through most of Leopard Dreaming he is recuperating from injuries sustained at the hands of Kitching and his men and Mira is in the constant presence of Lockman who is very protective of her and harbors strong feelings. Mira has quite a physical reaction to Lockman which she tries to fight out of loyalty to Ben, always feeling guilty for her reaction to Lockman.
For the first time in her life Mira is learning to trust a select few around her and she will discover by the end of the book that she’s also making friends. With her unique gifts Mira may never be able to be completely free from the military because her gifts will always mean that someone wants to know how to replicate the abilities. The question may end up being how far will they go to do so. And will Mira ever find herself in a position where she feels like she’s in control.
There were many interesting connections made in Leopard Dreaming and many disturbing motivations. The military technologies are truly frightening, to think that there are facial recognition satellites that can track us at anytime, wherever we are, and the things they can do with traffic and security cameras not to mention mobile phones. Big Brother really is watching! The traffic and security cameras was something I have seen before in TV shows but facial recognition satellites were new to me.
Leopard Dreaming is a fabulous final installment, tying up the story yet still leaving us with a bit of intrigue. I also discovered after reading Leopard Dreaming that author A.A. Bell shares an integral characteristic with her flawed heroine Mira in that she too is visually impaired and has suffered eyesight difficulties for most of her life, difficulties that extensive testing has been unable to accurately diagnose or rectify so many of Mira’s experiences are rooted in Bell’s personal past.
This trilogy was engrossing reading and I look forward to seeing what Bell comes up with next.