Debut novelist Simmonds blends romance with fantasy in the first book in The Indigo Chronicles.
Nineteen-year-old half-Spanish, half-English Ella, who swears loudly and frequently, has recently moved from Spain to London following her mother’s marriage to a wealthy hotel owner. She hasn’t made any friends in London, and her mother mostly leaves Ella to herself as she becomes immersed in her new husband’s life. After a few seemingly accidental encounters with blue-eyed hot guy Zac where he comes to her rescue—helping to carry her books after they fall out of her bags, coming to her aid in an exclusive nightclub when she’s injured by a broken champagne glass—Ella falls for him. Zac, however, has long ago fallen for her. This is where the novel begins to feel contrived: It turns out Zac is harboring a life-changing secret, and when he reveals too much to Ella, they must run for their lives. Despite touching on some weighty topics, the novel remains firmly in romantic fantasy territory. While it may appeal to those who like their romance laced with a bit of grit, the writing lacks finesse, with pedestrian dialogue and characters whose feelings are spelled out in repetitive detail. The worldbuilding fails to be immersive, making it difficult for readers to suspend disbelief.
An interesting premise but the execution lets it down. (Fantasy. 14-18)