Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Review: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Book One of the Silver in the Blood series
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

This book was quite different from what I was expecting! To be honest, I wasn't really sure what I was expecting, but I got something completely different, and I really liked it! This book has a younger YA feel to it - NOT Middle Grade, but definitely on the lower end of YA. The protagonists are seventeen, but the tone of the book is light and humorous, giving the book a younger feel. Not to say that the protagonists act immaturely! But I want to dispel the idea that this book is Middle Grade! It is indeed YA!

Dacia and Lou are set to visit their family in Romania. The cousins were born in America, their mothers not returning to Romania until now. Lou's father and two brothers accompany Lou and her mother, while Dacia and Aunt Kate (the third sister) travel as well. There is something sinister about the Florescu family - and Dacia and Lou are trapped in Romania by their own family. They find out that their family members are shape-shifters. The Florescus are an old family that protects another old family - the Draculas. Prince Mihai (a Dracula) has an odd interest in Dacia, and Lou and Dacia must figure out how they can escape their family, and save themselves.

This book is written in third person, dual perspective! Lou and Dacia are cousins, two very close cousins. I liked both of them. Lou is quiet and obedient, well-mannered, the peacekeeper. Dacia is a bit wild and reckless, and she thinks she is being sent to Romania with Aunt Kate as a punishment for an Incident in London with Lord Johnny (a young man a few years older than her). I liked Lou more than Dacia, but I liked them both (which is surprising for me - usually I dislike one heavily and like the other a lot). This relationship between the cousins reminds me of the relationship between the sisters in Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong!

I liked the structure of this book. We get the story, but there are also letters before every chapter. The letters are written by a number of characters, but mostly Dacia and Lou. They were interesting, and definitely lent themselves well to the plot. 

The story is very intriguing! Lou and Dacia slowly find out that the Florescu family are a family of shape-shifters. Lou's mother, Dacia's mother, the aunts, cousins, grandmother, are all shifters. Dacia is the Claw (wolf), and Lou is the Smoke (she can turn into a mist-like form). There is a ton of family history and drama associated with the girls' transformations - it's not as easy as, you're a wolf, welcome to the family!

Lou and Dacia are prisoners in their family's home, and they want nothing more to leave, especially after they shift and learn the truth. With the help of a group trying to stop Prince Mihai from taking over the throne of Romania, Lou and Dacia put their abilities to good use.

There is romance in this book! We hear about the Incident, with Dacia and Lord Johnny, from the beginning of the book. Lord Johnny appears later in the book, as one of the members of the Archangels, a group trying to stop Prince Mihai. He is accompanied by Theo Arkady, another young member of the Archangels. Lou and Theo have a bad start, in which Theo indirectly insults Lou when he meets her. But throughout the story (especially towards the end of the book), Lou's feelings toward him greatly change, especially when she realizes that he isn't disgusted with her abilities, and wants to help her. I really, really liked Theo. Theo and Lou are a great pair - Theo is very intelligent and attentive and kind, as is Lou.

I liked Dacia and Lord Johnny too! They're a fantastic pair as well. Lord Johnny is the tiniest bit sardonic, and Dacia is very wild and feisty. They always have hilarious interactions. I wanted more from Lou and Theo, but I liked seeing Lord Johnny and Dacia together.

I like the historical fiction setting of this book! Late nineteenth century Romania, with Parisian influences (in the gowns), and heavy Romanian history influences. I found the author's take on Dracula and Vlad the Impaler and whatnot very fascinating!

The ending of this book isn't perfectly wrapped up, so I'm excited to read more! I like how much Dacia and Lou grow and develop, really grounding themselves and finding their stride in terms of their abilities and their newly found forms. I'm curious to see how the author takes the story to another level, in the next book!

What I Did Not Like:

I thought there could have been more romance! Especially between Lou and Theo. I mean, the relationships are clearly developed, albeit slowly and surely. I suppose because this is historical fiction, the author didn't want the romance to be steamy and heavy. But still, more physical interactions between Lou and Theo would have made their relationship even more three-dimensional! Same with Lord Johnny and Dacia's relationship.

This book reads a bit younger in YA, so that could have also been why the romance was a bit tame. It's historical fiction, but also, the tone is light (despite the whole evil/darkness/light themes going on). Not to say that the protagonists aren't mature! They are! But the tone is on the lower end of YA (but not Middle Grade). I'm not always the biggest fan of lower YA, but I thought this novel was good.

I'm not too sure what the title is referring to! The "silver" reference is made several times throughout the book, but it's never stated explicitly (or even implied), what it means. I'd like to know!

Also, Lou undergoes a very rapid change, after her first time shifting. This change in personality was extremely fast, and I found it a bit out of place. Especially since Dacia didn't really undergo an immense personality change? It was just kind of sudden and weird. There wasn't too much I found negative though.

Would I Recommend It:

I found this book to be very interesting! I liked it, and I would recommend it. It's not one that you MUST read (like An Ember in the Ashes or The Wrath and the Dawn), but it's a good novel, especially if you see it in the library or already have a copy. Note my comments on it reading like a lower YA novel.


3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. I enjoyed the read! It was a bit slow at first, but it picked up nicely and I was rooting for the protagonists throughout the book. I'm excited about the sequel, and will definitely be reading it next year (hopefully I get the chance)!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. I saw this book in a blogger's book haul and was curious about it. I think I will be reading it after seeing your thoughts. I love blending of para and historical in a story.

    And that drives me nuts when I can't figure out what the title has to do with the story. ;)

    1. Ooo, good! Paranormal historical fiction almost always appeals to me, I love it!

  2. Hmmm, this sounds much more interesting that I thought before, even if it reads a lil on the younger side of the YA spectrum! Maybe I should have grabbed one ARC at BEA... oh well!

    1. I know! Totally agree - I honestly requested this one out of a smidgen of peer pressure. Maybe you should have! ;)

  3. The cover looks sooo good! I have seen this book around, and it's in my TBR now xD I haven't read that many good historical fiction novels so here's to hoping. Wonderful review overall <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

    1. YAY BENISH! If you read this one, I hope you love it! Thank you so much ^_^

  4. A unique blend to a story and your review is awesome! Hugs...Ro

  5. Stunning review Alyssa :D I'm so glad you liked this book. <3 I will be reading it shortly, once my hardcover arrives :) You make it sound exciting. Yay for liking the two romances :) Though I wish they hadn't been so tame, like you say.. hmm. But glad you liked it a lot, even so :D

    1. Thank you, Carina! I hope you enjoy the book, Carina! You should, it might work out perfectly for your tastes :)

  6. I'm glad to see you enjoyed this! I really like Jessica day George, so I'm definitely excited for this. I like the sounds of light and humourous (: Also, the romance!
    Thanks for the review, Alyssa!

    1. Ooo! I've yet to read any of her books, besides this one. The author said this is the most "mature" of her books (I know she writes a lot of MG). I enjoyed this one plenty! If you read it, I hope you like it, Cyn :D

  7. I didn't relate to either of the protagonists very well, and their almost personality switch midway was jarring, but I could definitely see this opening into series territory (though I'm not sure there is a second book?). I'm glad you enjoyed it, though. Great review!

    1. Awww! I'm sorry to hear that! I think this is a series, so I'm expecting a sequel honestly... thank you!


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