Published: February 12th 2013 by Penguin
Format: Paperback, 401 pages
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Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives.
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she struggles to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she finally tracks down the elusive, enigmatic Marcus Finch – a former Alchemist who the organisation denies exists, and who lives in shadows, on the run. With Marcus's help, Sydney realises that the group she's been loyal to her whole life has been hiding the truth from her. Is it possible that her golden lily tattoo might have more power over her than she thinks?
As she struggles to come to terms with what that might mean, Sydney is compelled to use her growing magical powers to track down an evil magic user who is targeting powerful young witches. Using magic goes against everything she always thought she believed, but she realises that her only hope is to embrace her special blood – or else she might be next.
Forging her own way is harder than Sydney ever dreamed. Maybe by turning off her brain – and following her heart – she'll be able to finally figure out where she belongs.
Knowing how much heartache the third book of the Vampire Academy books caused – especially, how painful the ending was – I hope I can be forgiven for putting off The Indigo Spell for as long as I did. I wanted to have The Fiery Heart in my hands in the hopes of not dying from the emotions.
I am so glad I made that decision, even though I think I’ll end up regretting it when I reach the end of The Fiery Heart.
My favourite thing about this book is the character development. After spending six books learning about dhampir and Moroi and how they’re not evil, it’s always been difficult for me to sympathise with Sydney’s crazy Alchemist beliefs. I know she’s been indoctrinated into the culture, but it’s just so hard for me to listen to her going on about how unnatural and wrong they are. The Indigo Spell sees Sydney break out of this way of thinking in so many ways, and she finally opens her mind up to the possibilities that have lain in front of her from the first book. She’s learning about magic, questioning her Alchemist supervisors, treating Jill, Eddie and Angeline like they’re people, and slowly, slowly allowing Adrian past her armour. I also like that she’s not so hung up on the way she looks and what she eats in this book – I’ve always found her attitude towards calories and dress sizes unhealthy. I absolutely love her growth, and can’t wait to see her explore it further in the next few books.
This goes together with my least favourite part of the book: the way that Sydney was around Adrian. I know, I know. She’s been taught to think a certain way and it’s incredibly difficult for her to break out of that. But I’m always frustrated with protagonists who aren’t honest with themselves, and Sydney is particularly gifted at ignoring her own feelings. She’s so eager to help anyone and everyone around her, and put her own needs last, and I just wanted her to be selfish for once. In contrast, Rose had always been painfully honest with herself and I’d had a more instant connection with her.
The secondary cast has amusing interactions as well, but I can’t help but feel that Sydney and Adrian are getting further and further removed from the original gang. Sydney basically didn’t see Jill, Eddie or Angeline unless something was going wrong with them, and it makes me worry that we’re missing out on getting to know them better. Plus the romantic trouble those three have sometimes irks me, because it seems like that’s the only thing they bring to the story. I’d like to see Jill’s character, in particular, develop into more than just a vessel for romantic subplots.
The Indigo Spell surprised me with its pacing – it basically never stopped! It was very difficult to put down and I read it in two sittings, drawn into the adventure through Mead’s impeccable writing and Sydney’s unique voice. I also didn’t see a lot of the plot-twists coming, which I always love in a novel. As in the Vampire Academy books, there is so much going in the series arc that I really can’t predict how it will all tie together, but it was amazing seeing the little clues peppered throughout this book wrap up in an exciting finale. The cliffhanger at the end wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, but I know I’ll still be desperate to read The Fiery Heart as soon as possible.
This was a great book! I almost regret not reading it sooner, except I know I’d have been desperate for the next book and at least this way I have it with me, ready to be devoured. The Indigo Spell is not to be missed by fans of the Bloodlines series (and indeed, I’d be one of the last to read it), and I urge those who enjoyed Vampire Academy to give this series a try. And if you didn’t like VA, try Bloodlines anyway because it is quite different. To those new to this world, I’d recommend trying the VA books first, but each series can be read independently of the other.