I have been waiting with baited breath for The Indigo Spell since I finished reading The Golden Lily, anxiously watching for updates, gnawing my fingernails down to the quick in anticipation (well not quite that bad but getting there!). I was worried that by hyping myself up so much I would be disappointed with the reality but I am happy to report that The Indigo Spell was everything I hoped it would be. Romance, excitement, danger - all of these elements are present and accounted for, along with Richelle Mead's usual wit and pathos.
I loved the Vampire Academy series and was delighted when Richelle Mead announced there would be a spin-off series. I was even more excited when I found out Adrian Ivashkov would be one of the leads. The first two books in the Bloodlines series were great, although not quite as exciting as Vampire Academy with its ever looming Strigoi threat. However, with The Indigo Spell, the tension and the drama is ramped up. I literally could not put this book down until it had reached its satisfying conclusion (though as usual I felt a twinge of disappointment that it was over and that it will be a long wait until the next installment The Fiery Heart is out).
The Indigo Spell picks up not long after the events in The Golden Lily. Sydney is still reeling from Adrian's declaration of love, and is trying desperately to put some distance between them, knowing that a Moroi and an Alchemist could never dream of having a future together. Not only that but she is having to contend with the fact that there is a dangerous witch out there who could pose a danger to her and her new-found abilities. On top of it all, she is trying to track down Marcus Finch, a rogue Alchemist who may know secrets which could shake her faith in the Alchemists for good.
Sydney has been a difficult protagonist for some. She is very different type of character from Rose. She is not a fighter but she has many other strengths. She has at times blindly followed her Alchemist teachings but she is now starting to see that her peers could be wrong. Over the course of the books she has grown gradually more and more close to her Moroi and dhampir friends (especially Adrian) and she is finding it harder to see them as the evil creatures that the Alchemists have always proclaimed. I have always been a huge Sydney fan, right from her first introduction in Blood Promise, and although her attitude towards the Moroi was understandable given her upbringing, it did make her more difficult to relate to at first (as a reader we have been privy to more information than Sydney so I never really faulted her for her ingrained beliefs).
However, in this book Sydney's eyes are wide open. She is beginning to realise how narrow-minded her views have been. Her emotions go through the wringer in this novel but what ultimately emerges is a strong, brave and resourceful young woman, who knows what she wants and is not afraid to go after it. Sydney has grown so much through these novels and I find myself connecting with her in a way I never really did with Rose, as much as I liked her and enjoyed her story arc. Rose was always a little too strong and confident - Sydney for all her logic and reasoning is really a more vulnerable character. It is these vulnerabilities which end up being the making of her.
As for Adrian, well there are not enough words in the English language that could sum up Adrian Ivashkov for me. He has always been my favourite character but he really shows new depths in The Indigo Spell. At the end of the Golden Lily he was left heartbroken by Sydney's rejection but he has decided that he is not going to give up. If Sydney truly does not share his feelings he has vowed to stay back and love her from afar. However, is Sydney as resolved in her feelings as she has stated and will she be able to keep herself away from Adrian?
Adrian is at his soulful best in The Indigo Spell. He is just as wonderfully snarky and irreverent as he was in previous books but there is a more serious quality to him now. His feelings for Sydney have grounded him so while his personality is not much changed, his outlook certainly has. Adrian is willing to put Sydney first. He always accepts her exactly as she is and will never give up on her. He is much more responsible now although his dreamy side still peeks out now and again. I was interested to see him when he was creating his art. A lot of his 'spirit' induced mania seems to have been tempered by his creativity. Through Sydney we are able to see this other side of Adrian. She is fascinated by his more spiritual, artistic side (there is a particular T-shirt painting scene that particularly stands out).
The Indigo Spell has many great scenes that will have all 'Sydrian' fans feeling giddy but the story-line itself is also very strong. There is a lot going on in this novel and the action never really stops unlike the first two books in the series which were often more character than plot driven. There is not a lot of time spent of the secondary characters in this one as there is a lot going on and I really missed Eddie and Trey although they did get their moments. I was also surprised that I missed Jill too as she has never really been one of my favourites. However, I feel her character has grown quite a bit and what we did see of her in this book I really liked. Angeline was up to her usual tricks, causing madness and mayhem wherever she goes and her antics never fail to make me smile. There is also a lot more time spent with Miss Terwilliger who is really quite an interesting character. She has been teaching Sydney magic in order for her to protect herself.
I absolutely loved The Indigo Spell (and so begins the long, torturous wait for The Fiery Heart). Once I had finished reading I was so disappointed it was over I read it again (as I am wont to do with Richelle Mead books). At least there will not be too long a wait for the next one but still I will be counting down until its release date.