Greetings and welcome back to JSoF on the new schedule! I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and this week I’m bringing a wonderful book series to your attention.
This might be a regular thing so I Googled “Elements of a Book Review” and found a site that told me there are 7 Elements of a Good Book Review so here they are:
- Title: The Indigo Series; Author: Louise Cooper; Genre: Fantasy
- Personal Reactions: Absolutely loves this series. It was a fast, fun read that made me rethink the roles of female characters in fantasy and the nature of the hero’s journey. I like this series for the same reasons I like Lord of the Rings: Strong themes of duty, friendship, and discovering self-awareness when faced with the truth of the Heroic journey.
- Summary: The series begins with Princess Anghara who despite being betrothed to a man she actually loves has a lot of anger and discontent towards her place in life. She yearns-unknowingly-for more than just the life of a king’s daughter and sister to the future king. This yearning, matched with her anger, leads her to the Tower of Regrets. The Tower is an ancient building built by a man of legend in a time when demons preyed on humanity. For all of recorded history the people have been warned never to go near it. Anghara rashly flaunts these warnings and enters the tower, unleashing a demonic horde that ravishes her home and leaves her with a mixed curse-blessing of immortality until she tracks down and defeats each of the demons she set free. There are 8 books in the series and each book after the first follows Anghara, who takes the name Indigo, as she journeys the Earth and faces off against the seven demons. Each book introduces a new set of characters, and this keeps the series interesting and fresh with each new installment.
- Characters: Speaking of characters…As the main protagonist and central to each book, the reader has to like Indigo or the books are going to be a hard read. I’ll admit that at first I had doubts about her likeability. In the first novel-and indeed at moments throughout the series-Indigo is an angry young woman who lashes out at people. Her anger was a turn-off for me at first but I soon realized that the journey was about learning to control that anger and focus it to accomplish her goals.
- Style: Which brings us to character development. It was extremely rewarding to see how Indigo grew from a spoiled young Princess into a fully independent and self-aware woman. This series is less about an epic quest to save the world and more about one woman’s journey of self-discovery. And it is a beautiful, thought-provoking journey. Cooper handles this journey deftly, writing with a very engaging style: I saw the world and the characters unfolding in my mind and the books moved at a very fast pace. I never got bored and I was eager to continue reading, devouring all 8 books within a month.
->How is this series not a set of Blockbuster movies? I could easily see this being translated to the big screen, and the timing couldn’t be better for such a heroine’s quest. And every single installment would pass the Bechdel test. Hollywood! Get on this!
- Time/Culture/Perspective: This series was published in the late 80s and early 90s and I’m shocked that I never heard of it until now. A long-time fan of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s work in the Historical Fiction/Fantasy genre, I’m beginning to understand that the late 80s was a time when female authors were bringing strong women to the front of their fantasy novels, no longer mere objects of admiration or dutiful and passive servants in a male-dominated hierarchy. Certainly Indigo encounters the Patriarchy throughout her journey but she negotiates it and wins, even when her power is taken from her. In an interesting twist the 6th book has her spending time among a matriarchal society and she discovers that even women are prone to tyranny and violence. A powerful message for young women trying to make sense of the world. It is refreshing to read about women who take action as agents of change-and in their own stories no less!
- Recommendation: This makes the Indigo series well-worth reading. Not only is it a great quest filled with magic-goddesses, demons, alternate dimensions and talking wolves-but it is also a definite feminist read. And when I say “feminist” I use it in its definitive meaning: a woman has an equal opportunity to make choices and follow her own life’s path. I highly recommend the Indigo series by Louise Cooper to everyone who enjoys Fantasy-Adventure novels and anyone searching for a strong female protagonist.
And I really hope this becomes a movie series.
In conclusion, I would like to give a brief tribute to Louise Cooper. She was born in England in 1952. She began writing at a young age and hated school so much that she persuaded her parents to let her quit at age 15 to continue writing. At 20 she published her first novel and became a full-time writer in 1977. She published more than 80 novels for both adults and children before passing away at the age of 57 suddenly from a brain aneurysm in October 2009.
Thank you Louise Cooper for giving us your stories. You are an inspiration and I won’t forget to keep writing, every day, because I might not have tomorrow. Don’t wait to follow your dreams! Follow them now, because tomorrow is not guaranteed!