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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: #1,293,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rebecca Stefoff on November 13, 2009
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 Verified Purchase
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.
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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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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.
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