The second book in the series. Sequel to Indigo Springs.

Publication year: 2012
Format: print
Page count: 382
Publisher: TOR

As sometimes happens with sequels, I didn’t like it as much as the first book. The book, Indigo Springs, has quite an intimate feel to it and in contrast Blue Magic is epic in scope. Blue Magic has four POV characters and two of them are familiar from the previous book, Astrid Lethewood and Will Forest. In addition, we follow Astrid’s gender changed parent, Ev Lethewood, and Juanita Corazon who is a US Marshal. In Indigo Springs a group of friends discovered blue, liquid magic (called vitagua) and it bled into the real world.

Blue Magic starts pretty much from where Indigo Springs left off. In the first book, US Army had imprisoned Astrid but she managed to get away, and now Sahara and some of her followers are in prison. In fact, the book starts with the beginning of their trial. Sahara Knax and her mystics are charged with terrorism because they brought magic into the real world and killed people. They are also trying to convert other people into following goddess Sahara. Sahara’s followers call themselves the Alchemites and they call Astrid the Filthwitch. The two groups of mystics are sworn enemies.

Juanita is charged with guarding Sahara. However, the Alchemites have kidnapped her brother (sort of, he is trapped in a dream world along with others) and are blackmailing Juanita into helping them. She’s not happy with the situation but has to reluctantly smuggle enchanted objects to Sahara. She’s also personally loyal to the judge of the trial so her loyalties are very much divided.

Will Forest is in the same dilemma. He’s a hostage negotiator in the employ of the US Army and their local commander, general Roche, is his old friend. Will’s wife Caroline, now ex-wife, is one of Sahara’s most reverent followers and she’s also on trial. Worse, Caroline has kidnapped their two children and Will don’t know where they are. He only knows that the Alchemites have them. He tries to persuade Caroline to give up the kids she’s adamant. Astrid offers him a way to get to the kids to safety through magic.

Ev Lethewood started her life as a woman and gave birth to Astrid. However, she was never comfortable in a woman’s body and Astrid’s father was the only man she’s ever been attracted to. When she was exposed to magic, it promptly changed her into a man and he feels that is right. Astrid has sent him to the Unreal. The Unreal is another world where the magic comes from. Religious zealots have imprisoned a lot of people in there, over the centuries. Most of them are buried and frozen under the magical ice and Astrid is trying to free them. The most vocal amongst them is Teoquan who is very angry that he and his people have been entombed into the Unreal and he wants revenge.

And then there are the Fyremen. They are an ancient brotherhood of religious zealots who have been taught that all magic and magic users are evil. They punish the use of magic by burning the witches and banished people into the Unreal. US Army has allied themselves with the Fyremen.

Astrid and her group are trying to mitigate the drastic effects of the magic when more and more bleed into the real world. Astrid has seen glimpses of the future and she’s sure that things will be alright for most people. Everyone calls this the Ever After. However, she doesn’t know how that bright future will come about and lots of people will die before it happens. So, she and her people are trying to save as many people as they can.

Despite the fact that Astrid has a lot of volunteers following her, she feels alienated. She’s not entirely sure if she can trust the knowledge she receives through magic but she tries to be optimistic. She’s been in love with Sahara for a long time and Sahara has betrayed her, showing that Sahara only cares about Sahara. She’s developing feelings for Will and her magical insight tells her that they will become a couple in the future. However, Will doesn’t trust her and it seems unlikely that he will ever be attracted to her. She’s also not so sure she can trust him. She’s also not a leader and yet a lot of people are depending on her. Most of her life she’s been a gardener.

The book is fast-paced and has quite short chapters. The scenes change quickly and compared to the previous book, Blue Magic has surprisingly many fight scenes.

The book has a lot of secondary characters. Most of them have some personality but many are barely more than names. Patience is one of them more intriguing. She was an old woman, Astrid’s neighbor, whom the magic transformed into the most beautiful woman ever. However, because people’s perceptions and opinions of beauty change, she can also change herself. Teoquan is an interesting foil to the pacifistic aims of Astrid’s group.

Astrid herself seems to be a pacifist but some of her followers aren’t. Some of them want quick and decisive action against the Fyremen and even the Army.

I quite enjoyed it.

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