The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #3
Published by Razorbill on February 12th, 2013
Shelve It: Goodreads
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 finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch–a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.
The Indigo Spell is written in traditional Mead fashion, giving it a unputdownable quality that encourages you to read the entire thing in one sitting. Unfortunately, I found myself struggling with more than half of The Indigo Spell, desperately hoping for an action scene or dangerous situation to keep my attention. I’m starting to think that I’m just not that interested in the subject matter; The Indigo Spell, I don’t think it’s you, I think it’s me.
With the hype for the introduction of Marcus Finch during the months leading up to The Indigo Spell’s release, I was confident that he would be the character that brought about the level of suspense and danger I was craving from the Bloodlines series. From how easy it was for Sydney to track him down, to how pathetic his life in hiding actually was, to how anticlimactic his rebellion revealed itself to be, I was disappointed with his character and what it brought to the series, every step of the way. Other than creating some minor conflict between Sydney and Adrian, Marcus Finch served (seemingly) only one purpose: to act as the poster child for Sydney’s inner conflicts over how the Alchemists treat anything that isn’t fully human.
Considering my disappointment with Marcus Finch and his rather insignificant role in the plot, I was hoping to be truly captivated by what The Indigo Spell did focus on: Sydney’s growth as a witch and the danger she faced with Ms. Terwilliger’s sister, Veronica. While I loved seeing Sydney’s abilities progress and her confidence and comfort with magic grow, hunting down Veronica was actually quite boring. There was a lot of talk about the danger Veronica presented, a lot of preparation in terms of spell practice and enchanted objects, but very little action as a result of all that preparation and practice. As with the other two books in this series, The Indigo Spell waits until the last few chapters to really bring on the scenes that get your heart racing, and of course, by then, it was too little, too late. I did appreciate the twist at the end, however, as I didn’t see it coming.
The main thing I did enjoy in The Indigo Spell was Sydney’s development since The Golden Lily. Slightly more comfortable in her own skin, Sydney is finally taking matters in to her own hands and, instead of questioning every choice she makes against one of her Alchemist beliefs, she’s starting to trust her own instincts. While her ingrained beliefs are always lurking, creating moments of hesitancy or doubt, Sydney has finally accepted that the Moroi and the Dhampirs might not be as evil as the Alchemists would lead her to believe. It was nice to see her reflect on how unhealthy it was to constantly count every calorie, and to admit that she might actually be a little healthier if she were to gain a few pounds – though, it was a bit upsetting to see that it took Adrian commenting on this for her to see it for herself. I also loved seeing her slightly less uptight; the moments she shared with Adrian, where she let most of her walls come down, showed a character I could really enjoy reading about. It also probably helped that Adrian is back to his Vampire Academy self, where sarcasm and wit have replaced his angst and general melancholiness.
With as much focus on Ms. Terwilliger and the practice of magic as there was, I was really hoping to see her character explored a little more. I felt like Mead took for granted that we would appreciate her many quirks, like her secretiveness and unwillingness to share any information with Sydney, without any background information or real character exploration. The focus on Ms. Terwilliger also meant there wasn’t much time for some of the other characters, like Eddie and Angeline, who I missed reading about. I also thought it was kind of lazy that the issues between Trey and Sydney were glossed over, with certain conversations suggesting that they would come to a head later in the series over everything left unsaid. It was almost as if The Indigo Spell had so much else going on, that it couldn’t be bothered with smoothing out that plot point.
I think I’ve finally reached a point in this series where I have to admit that it just won’t be as action-packed or suspenseful as the Vampire Academy books; we didn’t even see any Strigoi in The Indigo Spell! While I really enjoy Mead’s writing, and she always delivers the best plot twists, all the extra stuff to get to the bits I like just aren’t cutting it. So while I think many people will love this series, and The Indigo Spell in particular, I think this is the end for me.