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Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George eARC {2.5 Stars}

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George is the first in a new historical fantasy series from one of my favorite middle grade authors. However, my expectations came back to bite me because Silver in the Blood ended up being rather slow with a fairly predictable plot and characters switching personality traits as often as dresses. Maybe historical fantasy just isn’t for me?

Note: I received an advanced copy of Silver in the Blood from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George eARC {2.5 Stars}

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George (Silver in the Blood #1)
Published by Bloomsbury on July 7th, 2015
Genres: Historical Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 358 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley
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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.

2.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • Silver in the Blood takes a while to reveal its supernatural elements, but once they are revealed, they are a pretty interesting take on the tried-and-true Dracula and shapeshifting powers tale. I’m amused that I just recently watched Dracula Untold, so I actually know a tiny bit about Vlad the Impaler already, which was helpful for Silver in the Blood ;-).
  • The two main characters of Silver in the Blood, Lou and Dacia, are cousins but also best friends. Their friendship is a major element of Silver in the Blood and I really liked how loyal they both were to each other despite all the craziness happening around them. Female friendship FTW!
  • The historical fantasy setting of Silver in the Blood was a lot of fun. Romania sounds lovely based on the descriptions and I almost wanted to go out and get a dress after reading about all of the girls’ dresses, haha.
  • There are letters from Lou and Dacia interspersed throughout Silver in the Blood that add a nice extra level of commentary on everything that happens. I’ve always been a fan of this story telling technique to fit in more thoughts from the main characters on events that happened otherwise too quickly.

Weaknesses:

  • Silver in the Blood is really darn slow. The first half is pretty much all the girls wandering around Europe and waiting to find out the big secret and while it picks up a bit after that, I still wasn’t really drawn in.
  • There are a lot of romantic interests and all of them came off as rather creepy at one point or another. Can I pick none of the above?
  • I have a really hard time connecting with heroines that only react instead of making their own choices and acting purposefully on those choices. Dacia and Lou are apparently a product of their time despite their unique situations and while they handle themselves well in the various crises, they don’t do much proactively outside of those crises.
  • Nearly every character had a 180 personality flip during Silver in the Blood. Some of these abrupt changes made sense, but it still ended up feeling quite overly convenient that the shy one is now bold and the bold one is now shy, etc.
  • I was never really surprised while reading Silver in the Blood and had few moments where I really wondered about anything. I could always easily see where the plot would take us, which bores me quickly.
  • The magic of Silver in the Blood was probably my biggest disappointment. Everything is quite straightforward and over-powered without much intricacy at all to make it interesting. Once you find out what the girls can do, that’s pretty much all there is to it, no strings attached.

Summary:

Silver in the Blood had potential, but in the end it just didn’t work for me. Everything felt rather unimaginative and predictable and while I liked the girls well enough, their inaction kept me from being able to really connect with them. I’m interested to see where the series goes, but my favorite George series is going to remain the Castle Glower books.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

© 2015 – 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. I had that same problem: an inability to relate to the characters. This was a little on the disappointing side, and I haven’t seen news on a sequel yet. But it is a series, right? Either way, great review! And there’s definitely better historical fantasy out there. Can’t think of any off the top of my head, but adventure is out there!
    Kel @ Booked til Tuesday recently posted…Art It Up! – Elsa (DA)My Profile

  2. This sounded like the best place for me to start with George’s writing, because, to my sadness (or maybe that’s shame) I’ve not actually read any of her books yet. (I was going to ask for suggestions but, it sounds like you’d suggest Castle Glower series as a place to start.) I’d be willing to forgive most of the things you listed as weaknesses – but I have a problem with reactive heroines, too. And If I don’t like the main character at least on some level, I have a hard time liking the book. I’ll certainly keep this book in consideration (I do, after all, love historical fantasy) but…I think it will be pushed down my need/want list a bit.
    Amy @ Pages of Starlight recently posted…June Wrap-UpMy Profile

  3. BLAH. I have this ARC and now I’m dreading it. I mentioned to someone that it sounded like an MG response to ACOTAR and they said that the comparison hit the issue right on the head.

    I should read it. I just don’t want to.
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Garden Gazette: June Wrap UpMy Profile

  4. I actually DNF this one – because I could not get over how slow it was. From the % I was at, I felt like I should KNOW SOMETHING, ya know? haha

    Anyway, I think the creep factor of all the love interests would have bothered me too.
    tonyalee recently posted…Let’s Talk: Blogger to Blogger | Reading & Writing ReviewsMy Profile

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