Monday, 2 December 2013

Review: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

I had no idea just what I would be taking on when I decided to read the Bloodlines series. I suppose (and this is probably my own fault,) I was expecting a natural extension of the action-packed Vampire Academy series, seeing as this one is a spin-off. What I got was a much slower narrative, set in the same universe but from a different perspective. Pleasing is Sydney's growth as a character. This smart and resourceful young woman has started asking herself a number of questions about her people (The Alchemists,) and has began to accept that she has magical blood. Pleasing is her development of those qualities, along with the development of her relationship with Adrian. Sydney and Adrian make a delightful couple and I enjoy reading about their exploits. There are other characters that I have grown to love as the series has gone on, such as Mrs Terwilliger, who we now know is a fully fledged witch. Jill, Eddie and Avengeline round out the vampire characters in the novel, though, sadly, Jill seems to be growing less and less important to the series.

With that in mind, the third instalment in the series, The Indigo Spell is a real disappointment. It had the potential to be great. And there are a number of good moments in the story. We get a brief glimpse of Rose Hathaway, star of the Vampire Academy series at Sonya Karp's wedding and we see that she is doing well and is happy. Sydney and Adrian's romance develops nicely, and Sydney starts asking some real and heavy questions about the Alchemists and even involves herself (briefly,) with a breakaway group and has her Alchemist tattoo broken. I also have to applaud her decisions at the end of the novel to attempt a relationship with Adrian (and suspect the secret nature of their relationship will lead to some very interesting troubles later on,) and to stay with the Alchemists and keep trying to find information from the inside, rather than running away. But in between the great moments in this novel are lots of well, boring bits. 

Ahh, who am I kidding? Parts of this novel are boring as bat shit.

The whole sub-plot where Sydney and Adrian search for Mrs Terwilliger's evil sister, create a baby dragon and then make a surprise discovery right at the end feel very superfluous to the rest of the novel. It reads as though the author was trying to come up with a decent page count and a good-versus-evil story that could be resolved at the end of the novel. Which would be fine, if that good-versus-evil story were even remotely interesting. Instead it felt to me like a poor executed distraction. 

Ultimately, The Indigo Spell is a second-rate novel that could have been much, much better.