Sydney's world has been turned upside down; the Alchemists have been lying to her, the magic that she reluctantly wields seems to be growing each day and the Moroi vampire Adrian has proclaimed his love to her. With everything she'd been taught as `right' and `wrong' been completely flipped on its head, she turns her attention to Marcus Finch, a rebel ex-Alchemist that might be the key to the answers she's been seeking. But will her journey lead to salvation or re-education from the Alchemists?
Indigo Spell is the 3rd book in the Bloodlines series, which is a spin off from the Vampire Academy series. Unlike some spin off series where you often ache for another edition in the main series over the spin off, Richelle Mead has done a fantastic job of making Bloodlines stand on its own 2 feet, developing these fantastic characters whilst still containing clever cameos from the previous series, that there's no need to turn back. Indigo Spell is just another great book in the series that I just couldn't put down.
In some ways, Indigo Spell feels fairly different to the previous 2 books in the series. First of all; the series started as a repercussion of Rose's actions of the previous series, and sequential actions taken by bigger factions have been out of Sydney's control. In Indigo Spell however, Sydney takes control; at the start of the book she's dragged into big battles and Marcus' rebellion but by the end of the book she makes the choices she want to make and considering her strict upbringing, seeing her blossom into the woman she is now is incredible. She really grows so much in this book; anyone who's been unsure of her strict ways in earlier instalments will completely get on board with her in Indigo Spell. I've personally always loved her as a character but going on this journey with her is a great read from start till end.
Another element that's different from previous books is that, arguably, a fair amount of previous books have largely involved talking, setting up and character developing - reserving the action towards the 2nd half of the book. From the first page of Indigo Spell however, there's always something happening; first chapter - Sydney's dragged out of bed by Mrs Terwilliger and warned of a powerful evil witch coming, second chapter - Sydney takes a plane to a vampire wedding, and so on. There's so much going on in this book from the Alchemist's secrets to Marcus' rebellion group but the book never feels crowded or rushed. Sydney has a lot to deal with and balancing the different aspects of her life is handled brilliantly, she's also feeling the strain at times which makes her all the more human and relatable despite being in this huge and impossible world.
Let's take a closer look at the different plots of the book; a lot of other reviews have complimented all the hot scenes between Adrian and Sydney, and I will admit they I enjoyed reading them getting very intimate at times but some of my favourite scenes involved their (always) hilarious dialogue and just some great tender scenes where they're just hanging out. For example in one scene they play Monopoly, why? Why not?! They started off as friends, and despite their awkward and tension filled moments when Sydney's struggling with her deeper feelings, it's great to see their friendship still shining through, building their love in the most quirky but wonderful ways.
I also loved Sydney's continue development of her magic and having to help Mrs Terwilliger in the battle with an evil witch. The boundaries of the witch world are pushed even further here with some unusual spells that Sydney learns to protect herself, and then seeing it mixing with the world of the Alchemists and vampires made it all the more exciting that Richelle Mead can make the whole thing blend so effortlessly together. The build up and battle at the end is also very well done, I can't wait to see how much further she grows in the next book; she has a different kind of strength to Rose and that's why it feels so refreshing to read.
Then there's the Marcus subplot; from the cover and minor hints of the previous book, I thought that Marcus was going to be this mysterious figure that'll lead Sydney into his secret world and perhaps be a wedge between her and Adrian, but actually his role is rather different. His introduction is interesting and a lot of the information he reveals to Sydney is very fascinating (again expanding the huge world of Alchemists) but overall I found his scenes and his rebel group slightly underwhelming. Maybe it was because Sydney, our guide, was unsure of them through most of the book and we only meet a handful of the rebels. If that was Richelle Mead's intention then fine, but compared to the mammoth worlds and mythology of the Moroi, Strigoi, Alchemists, Keepers and witches, I felt that Marcus' rebellion group was much smaller and got lost in the other more pressing matters. I'm hoping we haven't seen the last of him and that his role expands in the next instalment as I think he has a lot of potential.
Sydney has changed so much since we first met her in Blood Promise, and her journey has been great so far. I couldn't put the book down and with the great twist at the end, the wait for the next book is going to be incredibly hard. If you've loved the Bloodlines series so far, don't hesitate to pick this up. If you have yet to take the plunge from Vampire Academy to Bloodlines, I highly recommend it, you won't regret it.