Review of “The Indigo Spell” by Richelle Mead

The Indigo Spell (part 3 of the Bloodlines series) by Richelle Mead, published by Razorbill in 2013.

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indigo-spell

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. (from Goodreads)

* * *

My rating: 3/5

I translated this book from English to Slovenian this past winter. It’s scheduled to come out any day now and I can say that it was a fairly easy text to translate. I only got to translate this third part of the series, as another translator did the first two – she also translated the Vampire Academy series in the past few years. I didn’t really agree with all of the choices she made, but there isn’t much one can do in the middle of the series.

That said, I’m on the fence with this one. Compared to the previous two parts, I think Sydney develops as a young woman, but there are some things I have issues with, as usual. As this book has been out for a while, I feel safe putting in some spoilers (just so you know).

What I liked:

  • Sydney finally allows herself to admit she’s in love with Adrian, even though he’s possibly the least appropriate partner for a young Alchemist.
  • She comes into her own as a witch and despite her continuing reservations about practicing magic, she becomes inventive and uses magic in other aspects of her life.
  • She has some serious kick-ass moves – not just the magic and Alchemist mojo, but actual ass-kicking skills she got from practicing martial arts with Malachi Wolfe and Eddie Castile.
  • Malachi Wolfe – the eyepatch-wearing, chihuahua-breeding martial arts instructor with severe PTSD/delusions.

What I … disliked:

  • The casual treatment of Sydney’s eating disorder. She keeps saying how calories don’t bother her anymore and how she’s changed since Adrian gave her a stern talking-to, but she still thinks: “I eyed the sparkling plate and couldn’t help but notice that the inner voice that used to nag me about calories was quiet these days.” — Ummm, apparently not?
  • Adrian’s drinking problem: while I understand that he “drinks for a reason”, namely to keep from going mad from the use of Spirit, I would wish this was dealt with more carefully. Also, I’d like to (gently) slap Sydney for thinking: “I was insanely curious to know why he’d been drinking. /…/ Deep inside me, I wondered if our fight had driven him to drink.” — Even if it had, I really don’t think it’s a good excuse… Am I being old and nagging?
  • Sydney’s attempts to use her “womanly charms” to get Ian to do things for her. Up until this point, she’s always been able to make do with her intelligence – and she did a really good job. So why did she have to show off her boobs in order to get a guy (who is half in love with her anyway) to do anything? I feel it’s unnecessary to objectify her like this, to try and make a femme fatale from a very capable, intelligent heroine.
  • Sydney freezes when she’s in one of the most crucial situations of this novel. As much as she’s always relied on her abilities and rational mind, she blanks out completely when attacked by the evil witch and Adrian has to create a diversion and then sweet-talk Sydney into collecting her scattered wits. And if that wasn’t enough, he pulls her out of a burning house in the end, effectively falling into the role of a hero, which has thus far been Sydney’s domain! WHYYY??? 
  • Oh, and I’m not too crazy about the cover…

Well… I guess I have my answer as to which side of the fence I’m on. I’m looking forward to reading the next part, though, and I’m giving Richelle another chance at keeping Sydney rough and tough.

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