Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review: Blue Magic by A.M. Dellamonica

Blue Magic by A.M. Dellamonica
Published: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC, 2012
Series: Blue Magic Series, Book 2 (Sequel to Indigo Springs)

This is the second book in a series, and therefore this review will contain spoilers of the first book, Indigo Springs.

The Book :
“In Indigo Springs, Astrid Lethewood and her friends discovered a well of vitagua—liquid magic—that changed them all forever.  Vitagua, which has been cursed and sealed away in the ‘unreal’ by Fyremen, has the potential for incredible power and equally incredible destruction.  Now Astrid is the world’s only ‘chanter’, the only person who can control the vitagua and enchant magical objects for use by others.  She has decided that her role will be to usher magic back into the world, and to do the least harm to the least number in the process.

Many others don’t share Astrid’s vision of the future. Beings who were trapped in the unreal are eager to make their way back into the world as quickly as possible, regardless of the cost in human life. Astrid’s former friend Sahara has gone insane from vitagua contamination and has created a destructive cult.  The ancient magical cult of Fyremen is determined to burn all magic.  Furthermore, the world’s governments see magical contamination as terrorism, and they intend to stop both Sahara’s cult and Astrid’s magical well.  Can Astrid help the world reach the ‘happy after’, or is her optimism just a dream?” ~Allie

 I loved the world and magic of Dellamonica’s debut novel, Indigo Springs, so I was happy to see that she was continuing the story in this sequel, Blue Magic. I’m not sure if there will be more novels in the future of this urban fantasy world, but I think the setting still has a lot of potential for interesting tales.

My Thoughts :

Blue Magic builds on the story and characters of Indigo Springs, so it’s a good idea to have read the first novel recently when you get started on this one.  There are some reminders of who’s who, what has happened so far, and the rules of vitagua, but I think it would have helped if I’d had all of that fresh in my mind. Blue Magic is much more action-oriented than Indigo Springs, and I felt that it relied on the reader already having an emotional investment in the main characters.  Indigo Springs took place in a small town, and it put a lot of focus on the development of a few main characters and their relationships with one another. By necessity, Blue Magic is a much larger story, with many more characters and locations.  This seemed to affect the depth with which each place and character could be explored.

Unlike Indigo Springs, Blue Magic’s story was told chronologically, through four viewpoint characters.  Both Astrid Lethewood, the well witch, and Will Forest, the criminal negotiator, were carried over from Indigo Springs.  Astrid’s parent, Ev Lethewood, gave the reader eyes into the ‘unreal’, where contaminated people waited impatiently to be freed.  Another interesting addition to the story was Juanita Corazon, who provides a perspective on the trial of cult-leader Sahara Knax and the government response to vitagua contamination.  

I most enjoyed Juanita and Ev’s viewpoints, but for different reasons.  Ev’s story was interesting to me because it showed a relatively elderly character still exploring his own identity.  I thought it was especially interesting to see a character deal with an apparent conflict between his past behavior and current self-knowledge.  Juanita, on the other hand, I found interesting due to her proximity to almost every powerful group in the story.  She was everyone’s favorite pawn, so she had the opportunity to see a bit of the workings of each group.  I was interested in learning more about the Fyremen through Juanita, but the organization seemed to be frustratingly one-dimensional. The other two characters were slightly less engaging to me. I loved Astrid as the heroine of Indigo Springs, and I still love her personality.  However, the increasing power of magic and prophecy put me off of their interactions a little.

I think that vitagua magic in Indigo Springs was close to the edge of being too powerful, and it may have crossed the line in Blue Magic.  I liked the idea that objects had inherent magical tendencies, and you could only enchant an object to do a particular thing.  However, as Astrid grew more powerful, she became able to enchant any object to do essentially anything.  In Indigo Springs, magical power was still limited by the need for energy to produce magical results.  This requirement was loosened early in Blue Magic, when Astrid’s team developed a technique to wind energy into magical batteries.  When you add in Astrid’s determination to remove the ‘taint’ from magic, it seemed like those with the ability to use vitagua were basically becoming omnipotent.  In that same vein, Astrid’s knowledge of the future was becoming more powerful and reliable as well.   In a sense, Astrid “spoiled” several plot points of her own story by talking about the future.  However, Astrid did not know everything, and there were several major surprises, good and bad, both for both her and the reader!

My Rating : 3.5/5

Blue Magic was an exciting, magical story.  I think it would be best read shortly after Indigo Springs, in order to have the rules of the world and the major characters still close in mind.   It was a much larger story than Indigo Springs, with many characters and locations, and lots of wide-scale action.  The story was told through four point of view characters, each with a unique position or perspective. Though I still enjoyed the idea of the magic system, I’m not sure if I liked how close to all-powerful vitagua magic was starting to become. Also, I was not really fond of the role Astrid’s knowledge of the future played in the story this time around.  While I might not have liked it quite as much as Indigo Springs, I am eager to see what Dellamonica will write next.  

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