Review: Blue Magic

Posted: October 29, 2012 by in Books We Like (4/5 single_star) Meta: A.M. Dellamonica, Urban Fantasy

Unfortunately for A.M. Dellamonica, here at EBR we don’t have an ecofantasy label. So if you search for more ecofantasy on the site you may have trouble sorting it from all the other fantasy out there. By labeling it ecofantasy Dellamonic is screaming to you her political leanings, but fortunately they don’t get in the way of telling a fascinating story.

BLUE MAGIC (Amazon) is the second book in a duet. I didn’t have trouble getting into the story despite not having read book one, INDIGO SPRINGS (Amazon). Dellamonica brings us up to date quickly without burdening the novel with tedious infodumps. If anything, Dellamonica seems incapable of writing a word more than is necessary.

The story revolves around Astrid, enchantress, witch–and now refugee camp leader and potential savior of the world. She’s doing her darnedest to keep the vitagua well–the physical source of all magic–from exploding and forcing its way into the world, thereby causing massive death and destruction in the process. The well will explode, of that there’s no doubt, but Astrid is trying to make it so the damage won’t be as severe.

Too bad that everyone seems to think that just nuking Indigo Springs, the town where the well is located, will solve the problem. While trying to keep the U.S. military off her back, Astrid has her army of volunteers to help spread magic and prevent Armageddon. But she still needs help, because right now she’s the only one who can use the vitagua to enchant object and disperse the magic before everything goes boom.

Enter Will Forest, the reluctant wizard. His children are missing, his wife has run off to join the cult of destructive witch Sahara Knax, and his role with the U.S. government military is becoming foggier by the day. Astrid must recruit him or else die of exhaustion from trying to do it all.

Explaining this story in three paragraphs is a gross over-simplification of a complex and twisty novel (it continues what was likely a complicated and twisty first novel). The cast of characters is vast, and since it’s a carryover from book one, we don’t get as much background, and it’s sometime hard to remember who everyone is. Fortunately, we only have four main PoV characters: Astrid, Will, Astrid’s “father” Everett, and Juanita (a U.S. Marshal). Since the story anchors around these four, we understand that the rest can be put aside as necessary to keep moving forward.

BLUE MAGIC is less about the characters themselves, than it is about the magic itself and how having magic would affect our lives--for good or evil.

And forward we move. Quickly. Dellamonica starts with a bang and carries us swiftly from scene to scene, throwing information and people and plot and setting at us with wild abandon. Don’t worry, just drink it in as you go and you’ll assimilate enough to understand what’s going on, despite problems with flow and transitions. Characters will suddenly decide to act and then magic moves them halfway across the world and there will be a fight and then it’s over and everyone is home or dead or dealing with the fallout. The execution of the plot is unruly and sometime awkward. But here it’s the ideas that will grab you.

BLUE MAGIC deals with the interesting concept of how a non-magical society would deal with the sudden reality of magic invading our world with strangeness and yet wonder at the same time. For centuries the Fyremen have been suppressing all of the sources of magic vitagua. But trying to bottle magic was an impossible task, and everyone must now deal with the fallout of their good intentions. How would governments try to handle it? Astrid and her altruistic volunteers want to help people, but must release the magic on the sly. The Fyremen won’t give up and continue to hunt down any magic user. Those who’ve used magic for selfish purposes have given people like Astrid a bad name. It’s all mixed up and promises an explosion of an ending.

I had a hard time actually liking anyone in the story, with the exception of Juanita. This is likely from not having read the first book. But even Astrid, our heroine, was passive and flat, working to put out fires and let people come to her. She works herself crazy and in ways that seem impossible wish fulfillment–she was hard for me to comprehend.

Ultimately, BLUE MAGIC is less about the characters themselves, than it is about the magic itself and how having magic would affect our lives–for good or evil.

  • Recommended Age: 15+ more for comprehension than content
  • Language: A handful
  • Violence: There are a lot of deaths, some of them more gruesome than others, but they lack detail
  • Sex: Implied

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