Recently I completed reading Indigo, a NaNoWriMo2013 project by Kelsey Ryan/Skyhuntress on Wattpad. It follows the story of a lone, unusual hero called Athira, who spends most of her time acting as a vigilante whilst going after the source of the unusual disturbances in the world of Thols.
Contains spoilers (duh).
I haven’t enjoyed a fantasy book to this extent since Sally’s Paladin near when I first joined Wattpad. In my experience, appealing fantasy/sci-fi books are appealing in three aspects (does not have to fulfill all three): characters, plot, mechanics. Sally’s characters and plot were amazing. The characters were solid, their interactions realistic and entertaining, and the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. The mechanics was not as strong as there wasn’t much magic involved, but like I said, not all three aspects have to be fulfilled to make a good book, in my opinion.
Kelsey’s Indigo had gutsy, solid, and frankly hilarious characters. Even stoic, deadpan Athira had her moments of glorious humour, most of the time brought out by Shift. Their loveableness meant that, for me, even if the story mechanics or plot were dire, I would still carry on reading just to see how these quirky beings continue to live.
Except the plot and mechanics were equally great.
Yes, the story’s a tad rough, but I understand Kelsey has a rewritten version offline as we speak. In terms of characters, I would have liked to see the twins and Tracker have a more significant role, would have liked Karma fleshed out more and be scarier, would be nice to see more of Reader’s MO, but I enjoyed it all. The solidity of each person was excellent and their interactions made every scene enjoyable. Zoe’s purity and naivete, Raph’s insufferable righteousness, Shift’s loveable idiocy, Athira’s deadpan manner, Talia’s scepticism but true loyalty — they’re all solid. I found myself crying at their jokes, sniggering at the jibes, and yelling at the hated characters (cough Discord and Talia cough). Kione is probably the least well-built of the Indigo lot if I need to point a finger, because there isn’t much chance for us to see how he reacts to situation when he’s stuck behind the computer most of the time. Raph is probably the least interesting character as he’s too uptight and follows by the rules, very predictable. Perhaps as a reader if I could see why he acts that way, at least he can seem more human than robot.
The mechanics is quite unique. There is a lot of reference to light: spectrum, the seven colours of rainbow, the bloody rainbow machine itself, prism, etc. But each colour ability is a class of its own, from weapon conjuring to blasts of energy to psychic powers, and even within that, each person is different and utilises it in a different way. Discord combining his air element to yellow colour is genius, I have to say. He deserves his title of Elite if he wasn’t such a git. But he’s a git. So he doesn’t deserve it.
Now, the plot. Kelsey can be forgiven if the plot isn’t as stellar, as the characterisations and mechanics already make the story excellent, but her plot is also gripping. What started as Athira looking for the source of disturbances in the real world and on her runes turned into a tear-jerking reunion between friends, working for the good, destruction of the justice system from within, reorganising the havoc that was her mindscape, and almost destroying their world by summoning an ancient godly beast from a different realm. And all the while Athira isn’t even sure if her actions are her own or if she was being manipulated.
I mean, talk about a mindwomble.
I also love the fact that the MC isn’t infallible and, unlike many of the anime plots, doesn’t keep ‘levelling up’ until she’s all-powerful and can take out an ancient god. She can’t. Because she’s just human. So it takes fire to fight with fire, and they did just that. And that is excellent, logical. I’m looking at you, Naruto, Bleach, the Resident Evil films. You can’t just keep throwing increasingly more monstrous and logic- and science-defying enemies and expect your little mortal MC to just karate-chop them into oblivion each time.
And the peppering of humour in the middle has had tears on multiple occasions. The snark, the weaponised fricking turtle — comedy gold. Even the romance was all right (eh, I’m not much of a fan of romance. Even Paladin had me gagging a little).
Kelsey tells me publishing Indigo is well on its way. Well, I, for one, will definitely buy myself a copy when it comes out.
In the mean time, go check it out, godammit. You’re missing out.