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Review: Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

>>Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Title: Redemption in Indigo
Author: Karen Lord
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 188
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: August 1st, 2010
Publisher: Small Beer Press
Rating: 7

From Goodreads: Karen Lord’s debut novel is an intricately woven tale of adventure, magic, and the power of the human spirit. Paama’s husband is a fool and a glutton. Bad enough that he followed her to her parents’ home in the village of Makendha—now he’s disgraced himself by murdering livestock and stealing corn. When Paama leaves him for good, she attracts the attention of the undying ones—the djombi— who present her with a gift: the Chaos Stick, which allows her to manipulate the subtle forces of the world. Unfortunately, a wrathful djombi with indigo skin believes this power should be his and his alone.

Bursting with humor and rich in fantastic detail, Redemption in Indigo is a clever, contemporary fairy tale that introduces readers to a dynamic new voice in Caribbean literature. Lord’s world of spider tricksters and indigo immortals is inspired in part by a Senegalese folk tale—but Paama’s adventures are fresh, surprising, and utterly original.

Why did I read this book? It's February's pick for Calico Reactions Theme Park book club!

Source: Library

My Review
I’ve wanted to read Redemption in Indigo for quite a while, especially after reading The Book Smuggler’s review on it not too long ago.

On the whole, I enjoyed this book. It has elements of fantasy that I love: mythology, god-like beings (in this case the djombi) interacting with humans, a folklore-feeling to the story. One of the surprisingly pleasant aspects of the novel was humor invoked by the narrator. From the very first pages and the story of Paama’s glutton husband, I found myself smiling all the way through. I felt that after the first part of the book the tone changed a bit and because more serious, more ethereal. We are meant to follow Paama and her journey with the Chaos Stick to learn some sort of lesson or to have some sort of revelation.

At that point I had some trouble connecting with the story. Lord has some of the most entertaining and eloquent writing contained in this book, along with great fantastical ideas. In particular, I loved the sisters and their magic and the Trickster character. However, I’m not really a fan of the narrated story, one that appears as if it was told orally at some point. Also, following Paama in her fable-like adventure wasn’t enough to sustain me. I wanted answers, action, and some kind of major conflict. One could argue that Paama receiving the Stick was the major conflict, but I felt it was too metaphorical for me, or too easily meant to happen in order for her to grow.

Rating: 7
Redemption in Indigo is a deftly written and wholly unique book by an author that will definitely remain on my radar. I feel like it just wasn’t entirely for me due to the type of narration and story. I would recommend this to those interested as I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. The ending is quite good as well, which was a major bonus for me.

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