Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Publishing Date: February 12 2013
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Romance
Page count: 432 (paperback)
Sydney is torn between two major duties in this novel: using her developing magic powers to save young covenless witches from being hunted by a life-sucking witch stealing youth and power, and her need to uncover an Alchemist conspiracy about others who have left the organisation. The romance with Adrian is of course another huge factor, but as I am not a Sydrian fan, it probably didn’t mean as much to me.
I like Adrian. I think he’s funny, and in this Bloodlines spin-off series he’s reliable. But that’s it. I don’t find him attractive or ‘hot’ and I certainly don’t like the way he treated Sydney. Sydney has made it clear in the past two books that she will not be in a relationship with a Moroi, but he still pursues her relentlessly. He takes all of her knocking back and knocking down to mean that he can love her from afar – but what infuriated me even more is that Sydney says one thing and then does another. No wonder Adrian is confused. Sydney took the lead a lot in this novel, which I like. I’ve always liked Sydney, through her eating disorder and her intellectualism and her complete naivety to romance and even her helplessness, but she’s turning more into Rose now. She thinks fast and acts faster. She’s active and powerful and kicks butt. But she also lets lust overcome a lot of what she says she wants. I wasn’t convinced by the romance in this novel, and I did not find it hot. I found it awkward and clumsy and basically catering to fangirls who desperately want to pretend they are the girl Adrian ends up with (seriously, I don’t ‘get’ the Adrian thing).
In the end, of course I can believe Sydney’s actions. Mead actually takes the time to develop a relationship between the two and I don’t have a problem at all with their… whatever it is… but I hate the way Adrian treats Sydney. He’s cocky and he puts a lot of pressure on her. I hate the way Sydney falls for it. In the romance department she’s always been naïve, and how is Adrian any different? But Sydney is learning to let go of all of her responsibilities and her need to be in control and know everything, which is a huge freaking step for her. She wants others to sort out their own problems because she’s got enough of her own. And also? Everyone kept saying how she’d gained weight and looked the better for it. In this novel Sydney was overcoming her eating disorder which I think is awesome.
But like I said, Mead actually knows how to write a romance. There is certainly no insta-love here, and Sydney’s thought processes are easy to follow and understand, if a little icky. Mead’s prose is clean and easy to read, and she knows exactly how to ramp up the anticipation and excitement to get her readers to turn the page. I didn’t want to stop reading The Indigo Spell because of the combination of her perfect mastery of the art of technical writing itself, the awesome plot, and Sydney as a character. The romance didn’t even seem to be the bigger plot point, which I like. I like a bit of romance if it’s inevitable but Sydney’s more focused on her other goals: stopping the witch and uncovering the Alchemist secret. At times it seems like they were a bit contrived to force Sydney and Adrian to spend more time together. Both of those plots are very engaging with heaps of mystery, which is also what Mead is good at. She knows when to reveal things at the right time. And the twist? DID NOT SEE IT COMING.
My favourite part of the novel was Sydney learning more powerful spells and really starting to embrace her magic destiny. I also did enjoy reading the romance bits, don’t get me wrong. I don’t like Adrian but I did like reading the romance. When I wasn’t thinking that Sydney was a moron I thought it was sweet. I like how they rely on each other and turn to each other. It’s got this great smouldering slow build which is a million times better than any insta-love. Mead, you’re doing it right.
An advance reader copy was kindly provided by the publisher.