Book Review: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

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.

Silver in the Blood|Jessica Day George | Young Adult|Fantasy & Magic
On Sale Date: July 7, 2015|Hardcover, 368 pages|Bloomsbury USA Children
Amazon | Goodreads

“Then tell us this: what are the Claw and the Wing? And the Smoke?”

With SILVER IN THE BLOOD author, Jessica Day George creates a fun and entertaining story to escape to. Combining adventure and mystery with a fantastic Romanian setting, seventeen-year-old cousins Dacia and Lou find themselves caught between deadly family secrets and their heritage as part of The Claw, The Wing, and The Smoke.

“I can’t believe it … I don’t want to believe you’re going to … join us…”

The historical and cultural feel to the story is one of the highlights of SILVER IN THE BLOOD. Romania is brought vividly to life and the landscape and culture of its setting are easily captured through Jessica Day George's writing. I felt much like a traveler seeing and hearing the sights and sounds. I believe the author traveled to Romania for this book and her research definitely gives the story a wonderful, authentic feel. Little period details can go a long way and she accomplishes this, making the setting one of my favorite aspects to the story.

“Stop dithering and tell us! … It’s just...not something I imagined my beautiful cousins being a part of.”

The story opens with cousins Dacia and Lou traveling, one by ship and one by train, leaving their social life of New York behind for their native country Romania. I really enjoyed the clever use of correspondence, telegrams and diary entries shared between Darcy and Lou. It gives the story charm and creates a nice historical flavor all the while we get to know the girls as their voices alternate in the chapters. Despite having enjoyed this, my only wish was for the actual journey to have ended sooner. The foreshadowing began to wear on me as the pace is slow in the beginning and I was anxious to be in Romania and find out more about their mysterious heritage.

"I cannot tell you what it all means! I promise that I would if I could. But you’ll find out soon."

I love it when a Young Adult story features strong friendships and in SILVER IN THE BLOOD there's a sweet bond between Dacia and Lou. A sister like affection that is tested and proves to be stronger than any villain who tries to tear them apart. I found Dacia and Lou both to be endearing young heroines, each having her own distinct personality traits which I liked. Dacia is vivacious and bold while Lou is more understated and somewhat timid. Jessica Day George has a few surprises in store for the reader and our girls go through some interesting challenges that test their endurances and personality allowing us to witness some great character growth.

“Why not now? Why can’t anyone tell us anything?"

I have to mention that yes, there is some wonderful references to the classic story of Dracula, and even the historic Dracula family and of Transylvania not to be missed. There's a light touch of the paranormal aspect with shapeshifters which are hinted along with plenty of schemings, and dark family secrets.

“It’s not something you can simply tell someone...”

The romance is sweet while being just hinted at and feels appropriate for what younger tweens might expect in a Jessica Day George story. There's a moody prince and two daring and dashing gentleman vying for Dacia and Lou's favors. The villain/s are dastardly of course. I do have to mention that though I enjoyed them, I would have liked something more to sink my teeth into. Either more swoon in the romance or booing for the villains.

“It’s something that you have to . . . see . . . for yourself.”

SILVER IN THE BLOOD is a charming read overall and should please younger fans and new alike. With just a hint of romance and paranormal to entice readers while terrific historical accents and sisterly friendship between heroines will continue to captivate them. A very enjoyable read to add to the shelf. I'm looking foirward to exploring more of this series in the future.

My rating: 4 stars. I liked it!

PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by Bloomsbury USA Children in exchange for my fair review. Thank you, Bloomsbury USA Children for the review opportunity.