Summary: (Taken from GoodReads) Indigo Springs is a sleepy town where things seem pretty normal . . . until Astrid’s father dies and she moves into his house. She discovers that for many years her father had been accessing the magic that flowed, literally, in a blue stream beneath the earth, leaking into his house. When she starts to use the liquid “vitagua” to enchant everyday items, the results seem innocent enough: a “‘chanted” watch becomes a charm that means you’re always in the right place at the right time; a “‘chanted” pendant enables the wearer to convince anyone of anything . . .
But as events in Indigo Springs unfold and the true potential of vitagua is revealed, Astrid and her friends unwittingly embark on a journey fraught with power, change, and a future too devastating to contemplate. Friends become enemies and enemies become friends as Astrid discovers secrets from her shrouded childhood that will lead her to a destiny stranger than she could have imagined…
Thoughts: Indigo Springs takes the concept of magical realism to the next step, not just making the magic realistic in its function but to a degree, actually somewhat scientific, too. Add to that a cast of characters that is wonderfully diverse and surprisingly not heteronormative, and you’ve got the makings of a novel that can take the genre world by storm.
It certainly blew me away!
The story itself is told in two interlinking parts. The first is told from the perspective of Will, assigned by the military to get information out of Astrid Lethewood. The second is told from the perspectiveof Astrid herself, as though she’s revealing the story piece by piece to Will as he asks for detail and explanation. As both parts are told, the reader begins to get a more complete picture of the situation at hand. Astrid was the guardian of magic and the maker of magical objects, though somewhat new and unsure about the whole thing, and through happenstance her two friends become exposed to the liquid magic known as vitagua and its effects on the world. What sounds innocent enough turns dark and menacing quickly as it becomes clear that Astrid’s long-time friend and crush, Sahara, went mad with power over the magic and eventually formed a cult around herself, one which is wreaking havoc across America. Magic’s secrets have been exposed, the country is in chaos over it, and that brings us back around to why Will is questioning Astrid in the first place. It’s a complex story that’s surprisingly hard to sum up in a short description, and I know I’m not doing it justice by trying. It really is best experienced firsthand, so that the reader can pick up on all the little subtleties and nuances and details that unfortunately have to be left out here.
For me, while the book was a thrilling and fascinating read, it was also somewhat of an uncomfortable one. I could see some of myself in Astrid, but more importantly, I could see an old friend of mine in Sahara. From How Astrid felt about Sahara to how Sahara grasped desperately at power — especially power over other people — and wouldn’t let go, it was like a fictional and ramped-up retelling of parts of my life. This certainly made for a relatable read, if an uncomfortable one at times.
Dellamonica’s writing style was a real treat to experience. The pacing was fast and smooth, and you never had a chance to get bored even when there was a lack of action on the pages. especially interesting was seeing Astrid when she was holding too much of the vitagua in her body, and watching her get confused about where on the timeline she was standing. Not sure why that in particular fascinated me, but it did. Dellamonica also has a clear talent for not only writing interesting and diverse people, but also writing them realistically. It’s hard for me to think of another book I’ve read lately where a character’s ethnicity or their sexuality featured but wasn’t a driving force behind the character and their development. Dellamonica wrote these people as people, with their flaws and foibles and concerns, and didn’t try to make them into less or more than they were.
As far as books about magical realism go, this has to rank pretty high on the list, if it’s not holding the top spot entirely. There wasn’t much I could find to dislike about Indigo Springs, and it was one of those books that I fell into and didn’t want it to let me go. From start to finish it was a wonderful book, and my only regret is that I took so long to get around to reading it. I highly recommend taking a chance on Indigo Springs. Even if magical realism isn’t normally your thing, the characters and the situations they find themselves in will captivate you enough to likely change your mind. Definitely worth it!