The Indigo Spell: Bloodlines, Book 3

 
(i)

 

Third Bloodlines adventure takes a romantic, magical turn.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Sydney doesn't discuss as much academia as she did in the first two books, but there's a descriptive scene of her visiting a museum and looking at the ancient artifacts and art.

Positive messages

For a paranormal romance, this series does provide substantial messages about fighting discrimination, questioning authority, overcoming prejudice for the sake of love, and not allowing superficial differences to affect your friendships. Sydney is constantly dealing with the tension between doing what she's told and doing what she believes is morally right.

Positive role models

Sydney is one of the most intelligent protagonists in YA literature. She has an uncompromising sense of duty, responsibility, and altruism -- sometimes at the cost of her own happiness. She's quick to protect her friends and her charges. Despite believing in aspects of her organization's ages-old mission, she does question some of their closed-minded tenets. Adrian is protective and supportive and gentlemanly in this installment, revealing why he makes such a good match for Sydney.

Violence

There's considerably less violence in this sequel -- at least of the bloody, hand-to-hand variety. Two guys do get in a brief fistfight over Sydney, who is accidentally punched in the face. In this installment, the threat is a witch who sucks the life force out of her victims, leaving them withered and comatose. But the reader doesn't know any of the victims well, so the only scary sequence is the climactic battle between Sydney and the witch -- which involves spells that injure and burn but don't seem to cause any deaths.

Sex

The Indigo Spell puts the forbidden romance between Sydney and Adrian front and center. Despite Sydney's logical reasons to keep him at a distance, they keep finding themselves in compromising positions. There are discussions of her virginity and several passionate kisses -- a couple of which end in full-on, horizontal making out and going farther than Sydney has ever been with a guy (he even gives her a prominent hickey). Sydney wonders about Adrian's past experiences with girls. One plot point makes it clear that due to a "spirit bond" between Adrian and Jill, she can "see" him hooking up in her mind.

Language

Similar to the other Bloodlines books, there are a few instances of "s--t," "a--hole," "pissed," and "bulls--t," plus one "goddamned" and lesser insults like "stupid" and "idiot."

Consumerism

Sydney is a gearhead who adores her Subaru Outback and Adrian's classic Mustang.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Sydney isn't a fan of alcohol, but Adrian (who's 21) and others drink at a wedding reception, and some sorority/fraternity members get drunk at a college party. Adrian smokes clove cigarettes and gets drunk once.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Indigo Spell is the third installment in Richelle Mead's best-selling Bloodlines series. After building up the chemistry between protagonist Sydney Sage and her vampire love interest, Adrian, Mead lets the spark fly, and romance takes the spotlight. There are several passionate kissing scenes and two all-out makeout sessions. The language is pretty mild compared with other teen books, but there are a few instances of "s--t" and "a--hole." So far, this is the series' least violent novel; there's suspense, action, and a magic-based fight, but no one actually dies. This series continues to explore issues of discrimination, questioning authority, and finding true love.

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What's the story?

At the end of The Golden Lily, Alchemist prodigy Sydney Sage and Moroi vampire Adrian Ivashkov finally gave into their feelings for each other in one climactic kiss. INDIGO SPELL explores the aftermath of the "monumental kiss": Sydney knows that a future with Adrian is forbidden, but the more she resists, the more she realizes how much and how often she needs him. Convinced at first that what she feels is lust and not love, Sydney throws herself into investigating Marcus Finch, a rebel ex-Alchemist on the run from the organization. As she deals with the secrets Marcus reveals about the Alchemists, Sydney must also contend with a dangerous witch who might be targeting her.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Readers patiently waiting for the Sydney and Adrian relationship to finally move forward are duly rewarded with the most romantic installment in the Bloodlines series to date. The charming, artistic Adrian is everpresent in the story, and he perfectly balances Sydney's high-strung, type-A tendencies. That said, Mead's focus on the star-crossed lovers comes at the expense of secondary characters Jill, Angeline, Eddie, and Trey; there's considerably less about them here than in the first two novels, but it's clear they will feature more prominently in upcoming stories.

Although there's action and intrigue -- particularly about the former Alchemists who want to "break" the ceremonial tattoo that bonds them to the order -- this book is mostly about Sydney's character development. An Alchemist trained to regard vampires with a healthy dose of revulsion, Sydney knows that her blossoming and at times overwhelming feelings for Adrian go against everything she's been taught -- as does her newfound proficiency with magic. Faced with so many life-altering decisions, Sydney is a compelling protagonist you can't help but root for, even when she's exasperating. Mead is an author who knows how to keep you interested in her universe of characters, and it's already obvious the fourth book will be a game-changer.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss the ongoing popularity of paranormal teen romances. Why do you think these multiple-installment series are so much trendier than stand-alone books?

  • Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series is being made into a movie. Do you think Bloodlines would also make a good film prospect?

  • After waiting two novels for the chemistry to build up between Sydney and Adrian, the author finally ups the romance here. Do you think the love story adds to plot development?

Book details

Author:Richelle Mead
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Razorbill
Publication date:February 12, 2013
Number of pages:401
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of The Indigo Spell: Bloodlines, Book 3 was written by

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