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Indigo Springs (Blue Magic) Paperback – October 27, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Astrid Lethewood Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dellamonica's debut suburban fantasy opens with Astrid Lethewood in custody, charged with kidnapping and murder and being interrogated by hostage negotiator Will Forest. Astrid and her friends, Sahara Knax and Jackson, are central to a bizarre uprising against the government, but most of the novel is Astrid's narrative of her discovery of a source of magical blue ooze in the house she inherited from her father. The depiction of magic is original and consistent, and Astrid's exploration of her magical ability coincides with growth in her relationships and the unveiling of her town's dark history. Dellamonica never goes into detail about either the ooze or the uprising, perhaps saving those for the promised sequel, but Astrid's somewhat deranged conversations with Will give indications of what happened, and sympathetic characters go a long way toward making up for the vagueness. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

When Astrid returns to Indigo Springs, she discovers her father has been using the magic that flows in a blue stream underneath the family house. Following suit, she starts enchanting everyday objects, with at first harmless results. But when she shows the vitagua to some less stable and more selfish friends, the results then are less benign, and the true potential of the water’s magic begins to emerge. The theme here—the problems of power in irresponsible hands—is archetypal, but Dellamonica realizes it very well through characters you wouldn’t want in your neighborhood but who certainly hold your attention in what becomes an edge-of-the-seat thriller. --Frieda Murray
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Product Details

  • Series: Blue Magic (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 Original edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765319470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765319470
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,764,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alyx Dellamonica is a Toronto writer whose first novel, the apocalyptic fantasy INDIGO SPRINGS, was released in 2009 to rave reviews. Filled with sexual tension, unrequited love, messy ethical dilemmas and an ecologically unbalanced form of magic, the book tells the story of three friends who inadvertently cause the mystical equivalent of a nuclear meltdown in a small town in Oregon. The novel won the 2009 Sunburst Award for Canadian Literature of the Fantastic and a sequel, BLUE MAGIC, was released in 2012.

Her newest novel, CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA, launches a new trilogy called The Hidden Sea Tales, and has been nominated for a 2014 Lambda Award for best SF/Fantasy novel.

Dellamonica's fiction began to appear in print in 1986, and despite repeated washings, remains in circulation in a variety of print and on-line locales. Her alternate history of Joan of Arc, "A Key to the Illuminated Heretic," was short-listed for the 2005 Sidewise Award and in 2006 she was awarded a Canada Council for the Arts' Grant for Emerging Artists for her novel THE WINTERGIRLS. She teaches writing through the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and blogs extensively about writing, photography, mass media and, inevitably, her cats..

In her spare time, she volunteers for the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, gardens, and is an avid digital photographer. Her 1989 marriage to writer Kelly Robson became legal in 2003.

"Being a writer is like being Spiderman. It may not always be easy--at times, it can be terribly hard. The highs are stratospheric, while the lows... occasionally, you even want to quit. But storytelling is a form of superpower; once it gets hold of a person, it will express itself one way or another. The trick is to find a way to tell your tales, to the best of your ability, while living a full and vibrant life."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
That magic has unexpected, even perilous, consequences is not a new theme. It far predates my first encounter with it, which was Edward Eager's charming 1954 children's book Half Magic. In Indigo Springs, however, Dellamonica brings this theme to vivid--cobalt blue, in fact--contemporary life.

Unfolded in a narrative structure that at first seems fractured but reveals itself to be beautifully knitted together, Indigo Springs is the story of what happens when Astrid Lethewood and two friends discover the transformative powers of a magical spring once guarded by Astrid's father. Hint: An early allusion to the "sorcerer's apprentice" is not misplaced. The novel is also an exploration of the ties that bind families and friends, and the ways in which secrets and power can unravel those ties, or tighten them. In a style that is both lucid and rich in compelling images, Dellamonica describes a world in which reality teeters on the rim of the unreal and an alchemical war plays out in the blogosphere and on YouTube. Key characters change--or are changed--in remarkable ways, but the heart of the story is Astrid's awakening. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Astrid is a wizard-well tapper -- she can access the vitagua, or spirit water, that is the essence of magic. However, her ability to control the liquid is unstable, and the more she uses it, the more unstable she becomes, losing her grasp on time and reality. Pushed too far by friends who want to use the magic for their own ends, her control slips, and she unleashes the magical equivalent of a nuclear holocaust in her small town. Somehow, she has to figure out how to pick up the pieces and make things right.

I remember watching the Dungeons and Dragons movie in the theater and being completely disappointed in it, and then seeing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon shortly thereafter and thinking, "This is what Dungeons and Dragons should have been." While reading Indigo Springs, I kept thinking, "This is what the X-Files movie should have been." Indigo Springs reads like an episode of X-Files in the best possible sense, masterfully conveying the sense that your version of reality is a very thin veneer over a terrifying truth. Told through a dual series of flashbacks, A.M. Dellamonica builds a remarkable amount of tension that builds throughout the story, as Astrid is being questioned by military officers who are trying to figure out what to do about Sahara, one of Astrid's friends, who has set herself up as an avenging goddess of the environment with her new magical abilities. The explanation for the existence of magic and its disappearance over the centuries taps into historical reality in a way that makes this book feel more like science fiction than the fantasy novel it is. The characters are well drawn, and the sniping between Astrid's friends as they compete for her attention and abilities resonates believably.

However, Dellamonica struggles with maintaining that tension.
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Format: Paperback
Indigo Springs is a first novel by a writer who has been publishing short fiction for nearly two decades. It shows the skill of someone who has long practiced in making words do what she wants them to do, and also the inexperience of a first-time novelist who has a great idea but doesn't exactly know how to execute it. It's a terrific story with new ideas and a unique magic system that works. With a stronger structure and a more coherent ending, this would have been a contender for major prizes. As it stands, it is fun to read and offers great promise of even better work to come.

The story is told mostly in flashbacks, a tale told by a prisoner to a law enforcement agent who has been tasked with finding out where the prisoner's extremely dangerous friend might be, and what can be done to stop her. The agent, Will Forrest, tells us his portion of the tale, which takes place in the present, in the first person. The flashbacks are told in a third person voice, with the prisoner, Astrid, as the viewpoint character. Astrid has recently returned to her home town, Indigo Springs, to live in the house she has inherited from her father. Her stepbrother, Jackson, an artist, also lives in the house; and soon Sahara, her best friend, arrives, on the run from her cheating boyfriend in the car she has stolen from him.

Astrid's relationships with her two housemates are complicated. Jacks is in love with her, and she is in love with Sahara, who uses that love to manipulate her. This would be bad enough in a real-life situation, but it gets incredibly complicated when you add magic to the mix. Astrid has long been a magic apprentice, but she has mostly forgotten about her father's work with her and vitagua, an indigo blue liquid that is the essence of magic.
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After reading through some of the reviews I got the impression that this book was about a crazy old man that had blue magic in his basement. It's so much more than that, and so much better than it seems. Indigo Springs is one of the most unique and riveting urban fantasy books I've ever read. It's not told from start to finish, the past is mixed up with the present, and the main character, Astrid, is having a hard time keeping them straight. She's in jail for heinous crimes, and a negotiator is trying to get information on a cult leader, Astrid's friend, Sahara. The reader gets the impression that Astrid is crazy, and it seems like everyone else in her past is pretty out there as well. As the story goes on we learn more about her, get all the information on the story, and possibly change our mind about her sanity. Every character is strong, but has flaws. They are enjoyable to read about, though their actions make you want to jump through the page and yell at them to stop sometimes. The blue gooey magic is very unique, and it's use comes with consequences. The tale of Astrid exploring uses for the magic is exciting and intriguing, and I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this book for urban fantasy fans. It may not have the action on every page kick butt heroines you are used to, but it has something more, a believable heartfelt story with deep interesting characters.
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