Thursday, July 16, 2015

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Silver in the Blood
by Jessica Day George
Read: July 7 - 9, 2015
Published: July 7, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: Galley from publisher (Thank you!)
Category: YA, fantasy, shape shifting, Vlad, Bucharest
Series: Silver in the Blood #1

New York Times bestselling author brings dark secrets to life in a lush new YA perfect for fans of Libba Bray or Cassandra Clare.

Society girls from New York City circa 1890, Dacia and Lou never desired to know more about their lineage, instead preferring to gossip about the mysterious Romanian family that they barely knew. But upon turning seventeen, the girls must return to their homeland to meet their relatives, find proper husbands, and—most terrifyingly—learn the deep family secrets of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke. The Florescus, after all, are shape-shifters, and it is time for Dacia and Lou to fulfill the prophecy that demands their acceptance of this fate... or fight against this cruel inheritance with all their might.

With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.

I'm a great fan of historical fantasy, and the idea of this book excited me right away - Romania, Vlad and Dracula references as well as shape shifters. Plus the 19th century setting was a plus for me. However the character voices and tone of the story read much younger and lighter than I expected for the setting and themes, and that affected my enjoyment of the story. I wished for a lot more atmosphere and mood in these pages, which is one of my favorite elements of this genre. But even though this overall story read young to me, there are some more serious, darker events that happen near the end of this book that make definitely a YA read.

Dacia and Louisa (Lou) are 17 year old cousins from wealthy New York families - on their fathers' sides. Their mothers are sisters from Romanian, though the girls don't know much about that part of their family, since they've never been to visit. That is until this summer when they are to travel to Romania to stay for several months and meet their relatives at last. The book begins when both girls are in-route to Bucharest. Right away strange things begin to happen and the girls realize that their heritage is much different than they ever imagined. 

I liked Dacia and Lou from the start, though when we meet them, they are silly society girls, more concerned with their social standing, gowns and getting husbands than anything else. Dacia is the feistier of the two, while Lou is quieter and much more of a rule follower. I liked seeing them both come into their own in this story, though Lou especially has a bit of a personality change with her first transformation, that I didn't quite understand. But I did enjoy the new Lou. I also liked the letters and diary entries we got from each girls at the beginning of the chapters. As the story was written in third person, it was a great way to hear from each of them in their voices. 

Each girl gets her own romance and both are sweet and slowly developing throughout the course of the story, though not heavy on the swoon (or physical activity, which follows historical customs). At first it appears that Dacia is going to have multiple suiters, but only one of them goes anywhere, and I never worried about a love triangle developing. She only truly falls for one of them and there isn't any wavering once that happens.

I never really felt strongly convinced about the mission of the Florescues (Dacia and Lou's family), the villains were one dimensional, and I started to feel like the drama building at the end was all a bit silly. 
I'm not sure if I enjoyed this book enough to continue the series if it became one. But Silver in the Blood read quickly for me and I enjoyed it as a palate cleanser. 

Love Triangle Factor: None (maybe very mild in the first 1/3)
Cliffhanger Scale: Low. 
The end of this one wraps well, though there are some lose ends that could be developed in the future. 


  1. I felt the same; I think I was more excited by the idea of the book than the actual execution, and I may or may not pick up the sequel. Great review! :)

  2. Not sure I'm even gonna read this one, L! I like historical fantasy but this was seeming kind of... frivolous? And not much romance for such a big book definitely turns me off. :/
    Maybe one day! Lovely review, friend!

  3. I had such a problem with this book because of its execution. The way the characters were presented are very all over the place and like you said, young. It did get ridiculous as it went on.

    Is it bad that I was more interested in Aunt Kate's history with Matthias, Prince Mihai's uncle? Because I wanted that story.

  4. Glad to hear that there's no love triangle! Sad to hear that there's not a lot of swoon and the villains are one dimensional. I've enjoyed JGD's other stuff, but I might wait on this a little more since it doesn't sound like super fantastic. Great review, Lauren!

  5. I'm definitely interested in this book because I love historical fantasy - but I've not been hearing the best things about it. I've still not decided if it's for me or not. (And I've already got a book by George that I have to read before I buy anything else of hers.) Sorry to hear you didn't like this book more.

  6. The synopsis definitely piqued my interest, but I keep reading pretty meh reviews for this one so I'm not sure about this one. Great review! ~Pam

  7. Stunning review Lauren :D I'm so glad you liked this book. I must read my hardcover soonish. So glad you liked the characters :) And that both romances are sweet. <3 Though, aw, I want things to be more physical :p but yay for no triangles, so that's a plus :) The story seems pretty amazing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about it. <3

  8. Hmmm ... I don't think I've ever read anything by this author, although I keep meaning to. I did take a class from her at a writing conference and it was fantastic. I think I'll read this book eventually, but I'm not feeling any real need to rush. Thanks for the review!

  9. The drama and tension was definitely a bit one-dimensional but I really enjoyed the story as a whole, especially the two girls and their relationship.


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