Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Guest Review - "Indigo Springs" by A. M. Dellamonica

I am fortunate to have the delightful Rebecca Baumann as a guest reviewer today. Rebecca operates the wonderful Dirty Sexy Books blog which she characterizes as - "Catering to dirty book lovers everywhere, and including, but not limited to, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, thrillers, romantic suspense, science fiction romance, historical romance, pulp noir, horror, vampires, werewolves, faeries, witches, and any other freaking creature you can dream up!" If you haven't visited her site, what are you waiting for?

Plot Summary: Astrid Lethewood grew up in Indigo Springs with the town flake for a father. When he dies and leaves Astrid a house, she moves in and invites her closest friends to live with her, never mind that Jacks and Sahara hate each other. When Astrid discovers a bag of ‘chantments,’ objects infused with magic abilities, she has this idea that the lure of the magic will keep Sahara and Jacks in her home and at peace. Ironically, all Astrid wants is stability and normalcy, but the magic can’t be used without consequences. This innocent beginning snowballs into a problem of epic proportions.
I really dig stories about magic. What else can transform unwanted orphans and nerdy men and women into cool, supernatural butt-kickers? Magic is the ultimate cool tool in any fantasy story, so I sat down with Indigo Springs by A. M. Dellamonica with tingly anticipation. After I got a few chapters in, I began to realize that magic isn’t cool in this world. Oh no. It’s more like a monkey’s paw curse, and every good intention will slowly twist into a horrible nightmare because the magic here brings out the worst in the person wielding it. Oh yeah, and the magic has a mind of its own, and it wants to escape its prison in the ‘unreal.’

This is spooky stuff, and it’s extremely well done. Since this is a debut novel, and I’m not sure how to classify this story anyway, I popped over to the author’s website for a look. Ms. Dellamonica calls Indigo Springs an ‘ecofantasy,’ which I admit straight up is a new term to me, but it does shed some light on how this story unfolds. The ‘vitagua’ that carries the magic is a resource that is discovered, exploited, and mishandled by humans. It’s not a big stretch to see a parallel to how we’ve mucked up Earth’s environment.

The format was a perfect blend of flash-backs and flash-forwards. If a writer chooses this style, I have two requests; first, spend equal time in the past and the present so I’m not grasping at flimsy fragments, and two, do it in a consistent pattern so the time and place is easily apparent. In my opinion, Ms. Dellamonica does this perfectly, and the first chapter begins in the present with a sense that something has gone horribly wrong in the world. It sets the mood beautifully.

The love triangle between Astrid, Sahara, and Jacks is the kind that makes me want to poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick. Now, a lot of people would interpret that statement as negative, but that’d be a mistake. What I mean is that it’s so painfully realistic and hopeless that I’m sucked into a deep emotional bond with the characters when I’d prefer to maintain a little distance. No such luck. If you’re a Kim Harrison fan, and you follow her Hollows series, then you’ll know what I mean, because it features a similar convoluted triangle that has me tearing my hair in frustration while I read.

This is an unconventional fantasy for adventurous types, who like to get a little cerebral with a deeper, darker story. There is a sequel in the works called Blue Magic, which will appear sometime in 2010.

A.M. Dellamonica On the Web: 

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Book Details:

Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Published: October 2009
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
ISBN #: 9780765319470


  1. Rebecca - I've been enjoying your book review blog for quite a while now.

    I have this book on my TBR pile. In fact, I've been sneaking in a page or two at a time. Sneaking in because I'm trying to make myself concentrat on ONE book at a time, something that is hard for me to do.

    "Book Attention Deficit Disorder" a very real disorder that I've made up. *g*

    With all the reviews I've seen lately, I'm glad I bought the book.

  2. Oh wow, this sounds like an amazing book. I'm also a huge fan of stories about magic, although I've been cautious of some writers who try to describe so vaguely that it leaves you a bit unsatisfied with the imagery that you 'see.' After your review, I'm very curious about how it begins and sets up the rest of the story.

  3. Hi :)
    Thank you for the thoughtful review and including the links at the end.
    Happy Holidays!

  4. This does sound like a great book. I think I am going to have to look into it as I like magic in books myself.

    Thanks for the great review!

  5. Many thanks Doug - for hosting the contest and letting me guest review it here.

  6. I have this book on my wish list. Thanks for the write up. I look forward to reading it.

  7. Great review, Rebecca! Remind me never to hand you a sharp stick, though, lol!

  8. Thanks again Rebecca and to everyone that commented on the thoughtful review. I really really need to pull this out of my TBR stack.


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