The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead is the third instalment in her Bloodlines series. You can read my review of the second book, The Golden Lily, here. This review contains minor spoilers for the earlier books in the series.
Sydney the Alchemist in charge of the small group protecting a teenaged moroi vampire (the living and not evil kind of vampire) who happens to be the moroi queen's half sister. In the course of hiding incognito at a human school, many minor crises have popped up for Sydney to deal with. The Indigo Spell is no different. In fact, it continues to build on the events of the earlier books, adding layers of plot which will probably stick around in future books.
It's not something I noticed when I read The Golden Lily, but from the first book, Bloodlines, Mead has been adding background plot elements which have persisted in the subsequent books with more relevance than the main (fairly self-contained) action. Arguably, the main plot of The Indigo Spell is the plot line that leads to the climax but there is so much else going on — in a good way — that one could argue for another thread being the most important. The world throws a lot of mostly urgent stuff at Sydney and, in true Sydney fashion, she manage to balance all the emergencies at once.
The Indigo Spell focusses heavily on Sydney's issues with the Alchemists, secrets and magic, with some significant contributions from Adrian and Ms T the history teacher witch. But the other characters aren't forgotten about. I liked how Mead had them running up to Sydney with their problems every few chapters and, even though Sydney didn't spend much time fixing them, it let us keep up with what they were doing.
The set-up from the end of the previous book pays off well (ambiguity to avoid spoilers). One of the complaints I had about The Golden Lily (which I apparently forgot to mention in my review) was that Sydney failed to notice/work out a few obvious things until it was more convenient to the plot because she was so busy with everything else. I felt that again in The Indigo Spell, but to a lesser extent. This time it was only one thing she didn't realise until later and there were better plot reasons for it. On the other hand, another thing I was expecting her to make the connection regarding didn't happen at all but I can only assume it will come out in a future book. Or maybe I'm guessing wrong. Ambiguous paragraph is ambiguous. Sorry.
I think The Indigo Spell can be enjoyed by itself, but works better as part of the series read sequentially. I recommend it to fans of YA who have enjoyed Richelle Mead's other books or who are looking for something a little bit different from a book that also involves vampires. I eagerly await the next instalment (especially after the set-up dropped in at the end — plenty of room for new shenanigans!).
4.5 / 5 stars
First published: February 2013, Penguin Australia
Series: Bloodlines, book 3 of ?
Format read: eARC, on Kobo
Source: Publisher via NetGalley