Indigo Springs by A. M. Dellamonica
Indigo Springs is a sleepy town where things seem pretty normal… until Astrid’s father dies and she moves into his house. She discovers that for many years her father had been accessing the magic that flowed, literally, in a blue stream beneath the earth, leaking into his house. When she starts to use the liquid “vitagua” to enchant everyday items, the results seem innocent enough: a “‘chanted” watch becomes a charm that means you’re always in the right place at the right time; a “‘chanted” pendant enables the wearer to convince anyone of anything…
But as events in Indigo Springs unfold and the true potential of vitagua is revealed, Astrid and her friends unwittingly embark on a journey fraught with power, change, and a future too devastating to contemplate. Friends become enemies and enemies become friends as Astrid discovers secrets from her shrouded childhood that will lead her to a destiny stranger than she could have imagined…
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I purchased A. M. Dellamonica‘s book in a shopping frenzy a while back. (A good sale does that to me.) I knew nothing of the book when I entered the store but my eye was caught by the lovely, old-fashioned-looking cover and my brain by the intriguing premise. An added bonus? Supporting a Canadian author.
It took me a little time to settle into Indigo Springs. The book is told from a first-person point of view, from the POV of someone who’s not even mentioned in the publicity blurb: a man named Will Forest. I found this quite jarring as I was not expecting this. Plus, there’s some time jumping in the book as Astrid is telling her story to Will while incarcerated but the reader is expected to figure it out based on the fact that it’s a new chapter that may or may not be set in the past, something Astrid herself isn’t always clear on. However, once I became accustomed to the structure of the novel, I was generally able to keep track of what was going on and enjoy the story.
The world building in Indigo Springs is exquisite. Indigo Springs is sleepy and small. A. M. Dellamonica’s descriptions of magic are lovely and she’s clearly thought out the effects this magic can have on both a personal and societal level. The idea that someone can create magical chantments and imbue them with different powers is really neat and the author does a wonderful job of explaining how magic works in her world. The main characters are all nicely different, though not all of them are likeable. (Sahara, I’m looking at you. And maybe Astrid, too.) My favourite characters were Jacks and Patience–Jacks because of his goodness, Patience because of her kindness–but all of the folks inhabiting Indigo Springs are drawn vividly. I wanted to like Astrid but she’s kind of wimpy and it made it hard for me to like her the whole time, though I had to cheer internally whenever she stood up for herself. Astrid’s mother, Ev, was particularly interesting to me since she experiences such an identity crisis in the novel.
The ending of Indigo Springs felt a little unresolved to me, though this will hopefully be dealt with in the sequel, Blue Magic. I generally don’t mind when authors leave things unfinished, as long as the main plot point gets taken care of, since it leaves you wanting more but I found Indigo Springs left me hanging a little too much. I’m tempted to attribute this to the meandering nature of the book’s structure, jumping between time periods, but I think it may just be me. Astrid goes on a journey of personal development and realization in the novel, and there is also a bit of political action, but the big climax didn’t wow me the way that I’d hoped, and so I think that’s why I found the ending a bit unsatisfactory. Overall, however, I’m glad that I read Indigo Springs and will likely purchase Blue Magic when it comes out in mass market paperback (even though that’s probably not until 2013).