Monday, July 6, 2015

ARC Review: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Title: Silver in the Blood
Series: Silver in the Blood #1
Author: Jessica Day George
Published: July 7, 2015 by Bloomsbury
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: A 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 received an advance copy of this book from the publisher from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

Sometimes there are books that sound like they are perfectly suited to my reading tastes, and I love them. And then there are books that sound like I would love them and then they don't work. Unfortunately, Silver in the Blood was the latter. It had some good things going for it, but for some reason it didn't work for me.

One thing that did work was the characters. All the characters that Jessica Day George created here were complex and full of mystery, particularly the main characters. We first meet Dacia and Lou through their letters to one another as they travel separately to Romania. The girls could not be more different. Dacia is reckless and energetic finding herself in frequent trouble in an endearing way. While Lou is more calculating and thoughtful. She overthinks everything and is frequently nervous, again in an endearing way. But they have a wonderful relationship. They have nothing but respect for one another and they make each other better. I loved their friendship and would love to be part of their gang. But the best part of the characters is their development throughout the novel. It's very Taming of the Shrew/Sense & Sensibility. There's a point of role reversal where Lou becomes the strong and brash one and Dacia is the careful and nervous one. But by the end they each come into their own and become the kind of heroes that you can root for. They were fantastic.

I just wish that Dacia and Lou had as good of plot development as they had character development. I'm a plot-driven reader. It's not that I need there to be a lot of action, I just need there to be something for the characters to do. I don't like when there is nothing but exposition. I expect it in first books but here it just felt like too much. The real plot of the book didn't start until about 2/3rds of the way into the book and even then it was short-lived. The whole first half of the book was very slow paced and yes, it was establishing mystery and building to something unfortunately that something was outlined in the synopsis. The synopsis just gave away SO MUCH! It was the kind of dramatic irony that didn't work because I knew what was going to happen and it was frustrating because it just was getting there so slowly. And yet, when the supernatural elements of the story kicked it and the mystery stopped, it didn't get much better. If you are going to read this book I would say don't read the synopsis, go in relatively blind.

And while the plot didn't work, I did like the world of the book. This book is historical fantasy and Jessica Day George was able to create a lush and visual setting. Romania is not a place you hear much about but the few books that I have read which are set there definitely make it sound like a cool place. Here it definitely has some great old world charm and an interesting that the author utilizes very well. The book is part historical fiction and part supernatural. I really liked the historical elements. It takes place in a period of history that I always really enjoy. the late 19th Century. It is a time of change and modernization but there was also a lot of focus on traditions. The characters are young women when want more for themselves. They are torn between that and what their family expects of them. That all really worked. And while the supernatural elements were interesting, they felt a little basic. I think if there was more focus on that part of the story the book would have worked a little better for me.

This wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't for me. The characters were fantastic and the world was interesting the plot was just a little muddled and the synopsis gave too much away.

I give Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George 7.5 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you are a fan of historical fantasy, or supernatural reads then check this book out. But I would say if you have interest in it at all don't read the synopsis, the less you know the better. And I would also say if you are more of a character-driven reader than you will probably like this one. The characters are in fact amazing.

Have you read Silver in the Blood? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I HATE it when the whole book is given away in the synopsis!! Who does that?! I've seen this book around a lot lately and, while it does look good, I definitely wanted to see some reviews before reading. I'm not sure if this is the book for me because I also need a pretty good plot to stay interested. Great review!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. RIGHT! A synopsis that gives too much away is even worse than those "popular thing meets popular thing" tagline. It wouldn't have been that bad if they weren't trying to do a whole dramatic irony kind of thing. Yeah, I understand. I didn't hate it but a lot of the book didn't work for me and I think you would feel similarly about it.