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Indigo Springs by A.M. Dellamonica

Indigo Springs (edition 2009)

by A.M. Dellamonica

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1691470,359 (3.73)11
Title:Indigo Springs
Authors:A.M. Dellamonica
Info:Tor Books (2009), Edition: 1 Original, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, fantasy

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Indigo Springs by A.M. Dellamonica


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Originally posted here.

I came to this book with absolutely no expectations. Prior to reading it, I knew nothing about the book or its author. The only reason I ever picked it up was because I won a copy of the second book in the series from Goodreads' First Reads program. At first, I thought that was bad luck, and I was annoyed with myself for even entering to win the second book in a series I'd never read. Well, now, I just want to pat myself on the back for being so awesome.

This book was just so incredibly cool. Dellamonica has created magic as I've never seen it before. The worldbuilding is so incredibly cool. As crazy as it is, there's a sort of normalcy to it that calls to mind magical realism. The Unreal, and the liquid magic, are just so incredibly unique and astounding. Oh, and, it's apocalyptic. So many things that I love are in this book!

The story alternates between past events and present ones. In the present, where we start, Will, a crisis negotiator, arrives to interrogate Astrid Lethewood. She was arrested and then apparently moved to this special facility because of her mental instability. The first chapter captured me immediately, with Astrid's craziness and everything being said making me want to know more.

I'm not usually one to cast roles for a potential movie as I'm reading a book, but I can see Astrid as no one but Summer Glau, and I do think this could make a completely amazing television show. Although I'm not sure that Summer necessarily fits what Astrid is supposed to look like, she plays crazy and intelligent better than anyone else. Astrid comes off as a sort of a weak, quiet character, possible insanity aside. Really, though, she has so much power.

In the past, we learn about how she discovered the truth of her father, Albert. He left her a big house, although he was a wastrel during most of his lifetime. In it, she finds a bunch of what appears to be junk, but then she discovers that all of those items are chantments, enchanted magical objects. One can turn a number two pencil into gold shavings. Another can make you more beautiful.

Astrid begins to recover lost memories and learns more about the magic and her father, with her friends, Jacks and Sahara at her side. Sahara is so perfectly her character. I have such a vivid mental image of her in my head as well. These three are all so well-characterized. The other figures in the story, I have less of a handle on, even Will, though you see from his perspective for about half of the book. Everything is bound up in Astrid's universe, which mostly consists of three people.

Indigo Springs may be the best urban fantasy novel I've read to date. It's vibrant, magical and edgy. I am so excited to start on Blue Magic soon. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
This is the first book in the Astrid Lethewood series. I believe the sequel to this book, Blue Magic, ties up this duology. It was a creative and somewhat ambiguous story that can best be described as a urban fantasy apocalyptic eco-thriller. It reminds a bit of Elizabeth Hand in the somewhat vague writing style. It might not be a book for everyone but I enjoyed the creative ideas in here.

Astrid inherits a house from her dead father. We hear from her both in the present and past. As the story slowly unravels we find out that Astrid’s house hides a magic spring but the magic curses most of the people it contacts. She is supposed to guard the world from it. But her housemates interfere and the magic ends up corrupting the world; resulting in giants animals and human mutations.

This was a really cool concept; it was a blend of fantasy, urban fantasy, eco-thriller, and apocalyptic genres. It is a bit confusing when you start to read it because the chapters are told from two perspectives and those are not designated at the beginning of the chapter. The first perspective is from a negotiator that is sent to question Astrid in the present while the world is in the middle of a magical apocalypse. The second perspective is Astrid’s in the past (which she thinks is the present). It is awkward to get used to the switches at first, but the strangeness of the writing style really matched the weirdness of the story.

Astrid is a fascinating heroine. In the scenes from the past she seems relatively normal. She lives with a childhood guy friend (who obviously wishes that he could be more to her), and her girlfriend from college (who was Astrid’s lover until she left Astrid). Astrid also has a mother who is delusional and thinks she’s a man. Yep, there is a lot of gender-bending in this book...but it really matches the mixed up reality that is thematic throughout the book.

Astrid starts to loose touch with reality as she absorbs more and more magic. She doesn’t know where or when she is at some points. She also starts being able to predict the future and gets confused about what has happened and what will happen. As you can imagine this leads to ambiguity in the story, which might bother some readers.

None of these characters are good characters, they are all very human. They all do noble things and they all do evil things. But all of them are just as interesting, screwed up, and strange as Astrid herself. Sahara is Astrid’s best friend and she ends up so corrupt by the magic she calls herself a god and starts to gain her own following.

I loved how the plot unfolded and loved hearing about how the Blue Magic was causing strange things to happen in the world. The Blue Magic basically causes an eco-disaster of sorts. Humans mutate into part-animals, animals mutate into huge monsters, and the world starts to fall apart. This whole story is about how a few bad personal decisions can destroy the whole world.

The writing is a bit confusing as tense and POV changes are really noted, you kind of have to figure them out. It makes the book hard to read at times. This book is so absolutely interesting, creative, and absolutely crazy though that I really thought it was worth the effort to read. The unraveling mystery about how the magic got out to destroy the world was just super engaging for me.

Overall this was a fascinating read. I will say that this won’t be a book everyone will enjoy. It is a bit confusing at points, the story can get very ambiguous because the heroine is confused about when and where she exists. Still I really enjoyed it because it was so very different from anything I’ve ever read and so far out there. This is a seriously crazy book, but I enjoyed it. It reminded me a bit of Elizabeth Hand’s earlier books (Black Light, Waking the Moon) in style. I would recommend to those who are okay with ambiguity and want to read an urban fantasy that is vastly different from anything else out there. ( )
1 vote krau0098 | Oct 13, 2012 |
The first few chapters of Indigo Springs by A. M. Dellamonica was a little confusing but by the third chapter I was totally hooked. After Astrid's father dies, he leaves her a house that is full of enchanted objects. Astrid begins to uncover the mysteries behind her father as well as unlock memories that have been buried for years. With the help of her brother by marriage, Jacks, and her friend, Sahara, the three embark to uncover the mystery behind the dangerous,blue, magical substance called vitagua.
The story is told from two points-of-view from two different people. The first is told from an investigator named Will. The magic that Astrid unlocks wreaks havoc on their community. It's like a whole epidemic has taken over the town and beyond. Astrid is held in a bunker below ground. Will has come to interview her to find out any information on the fugitive, Sahara. The second point-of-view is told from Astrid. She reflects and tells Will the events that has led up to the present day circumstances.
Indigo Springs is a well-written novel, full of imagination and complex characters. It is a thoroughly fascinating look into the temptation of power and the consequences of using it for one's own advantage. I was completely caught up in the world that Dellamonica created. This is a book that I would definitely recommend. You won't want to put it down until you reach the end. ( )
  mt256 | Jul 3, 2012 |
You may also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2012/05/indigo-springs-by-a-m-dellamonica.html

Indigo Springs, small town and host to a river of magic that flows under the house left to Astrid Lethewood after her father dies, is the setting for most of this intriguing and odd fantasy. Astrid, her step brother Jacks, and best friend Sahara all move into the house, creating a tense threesome that sets the stage for the complex relationship between the three, and a powder keg for the sparks that are inevitable when the “magic” is discovered, or in Astrid’s case, “rediscovered.” A sense of the eerie is conveyed early on, and you get a big taste of what’s to come, since the book starts out with Astrid being kept in an underground bunker as Sahara and her newly discovered cult run rampant, leaving death and destruction in their wake. Will Forest is the hostage negotiator sent to get the full story as to how this terror started from the nearly mad Astrid, so, immediately, I needed to find out what was going on. The author sets the stage perfectly, and the transitions between Will’s first person chapters, to the third person chapters that tell the story of how this all started, will have you turning the pages pretty quickly.

Astrid is not your usual fantasy heroine. In fact, her near constant uncertainty and desperation to keep the enigmatic and selfish Sahara around will leave you wanting to grab her by the shoulders and shake her. Sahara isn’t your typical “villain” either. Her progression from rather manipulative, selfish, friend to Astrid to magic addicted cult leader is scary to watch, but her transition is not all that surprising, given the events leading up to the “flood”. You see, vitagua, a blue, viscous substance flows under the house, and is the source of pure magic. In the right hands, it can be a source for good, but in the wrong hands, well, you know where this is going, right?

Astrid is startled to discover that she has the ability to control vitagua, and absorb it into her body in order to imbue items that have “sparkle” with power. It’s pretty obvious from the get go that Sahara wants this power also, and she’ll do just about anything to get it, but Astrid’s destiny is not hers. You may think that Jacks was just thrown in to provide some tension between the friends, but he’s much more than what he seems at first. I really liked how, when the revelations come, you can immediately see all the clues that led up to it, but some are pretty subtle. Indigo Springs is a wonder of a read, and I loved how the author wove contemporary and traditional fantasy elements together to create what was, for me, an entirely original experience full of magic, family secrets, and a small town caught in the grip of a magical infestation with the power to destroy humanity. Ms. Dellamonica’s writing flows much like the river of magic she writes about, full of promise, lush, sometimes yearning, always suspenseful. I found I wanted to know much more about Will Forest, and wanted to see good things happen for Astrid, too. I can’t wait to see where the author takes us in the next book, Blue Magic! ( )
  MyBookishWays | May 3, 2012 |
In the first chapter of this novel, Astrid Lethewood is in a prison cell being interrogated by a government official named Will Forest. An unprecedented worldwide disaster has just occurred, and now Astrid’s best friend Sahara is creating magical monsters, wreaking havoc with the U.S. military, and claiming to be a goddess. As Astrid begins to explain what happened, the novel flashes back to when Astrid inherited her father’s old house and returned to her hometown of Indigo Springs. Astrid, along with Sahara and Jacks (Astrid’s stepbrother), discovers a small collection of magical objects that her father left behind. At first, the three friends are excited about their discovery, but then Astrid discovers that the magic is much more powerful and more dangerous than she believed. In telling her story to Will, Astrid hopes to make amends for the havoc she unwittingly caused, and possibly to further her own secret agenda.

I suppose this novel can be classified as urban fantasy, since it involves magical elements but is set in the real world. Yet this book manages to provide a refreshingly unique story that’s unlike every other urban-fantasy novel I’ve read. The magical system is confusing at first, but as the narrative progresses, everything makes a lot more sense; some of the aspects of Astrid’s world that seemed to come out of nowhere actually became very important later on. I should also mention that Astrid is bisexual, which might make you more or less interested in the book, but her romantic feelings for women are actually very integral to the plot. Overall, I was impressed by the creativity of this book, but for some reason I didn’t love it. Maybe knowing the climax ahead of time made the journey a little less satisfying. I’m not sure; but while the book was an interesting read, I don’t think it’s a keeper.
  christina_reads | Aug 26, 2011 |
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After accessing the magical power of the "vitagua" that leaks into her grandfather's house, Astrid and her friends unwittingly embark on a journey fraught with power, change, and a future too devastating to contemplate.

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