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Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George eARC (2 stars)

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Silver in the Blood reminds me of the movie, "Hugo," in that you start thinking it's one kind of story, heading in a certain direction, and then it shifts and becomes something totally different midway through. Unfortunately, Silver in the Blood didn't pull of the transition between Victorian and paranormal as smoothly as I hoped, but I think readers who relate to the protagonists will be willing to overlook this and will enjoy the story as a whole.


This eARC was provided through NetGalley for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Series: Silver in the Blood #1
Genres: YA, Paranormal, Historical
Published on July 7, 2015
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
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.

Review:
I sped through Silver in the Blood in two sittings, but I'm not quite sure how to rate or review it. Like most Jessica Day George books I've read, you finish it feeling pretty content, but not overly wowed or thrilled; and Silver in the Blood almost feels like two different kinds of novels mashed into one. The first half is Victorian suspense with mystic undertones, and the second is full fledged paranormal with a dash of romance and action.

The shift from Victorian to historical paranormal doesn't happen until about halfway through the story. Up until then, it's two rich, slightly spoiled American girls traveling through Europe and either having a very good time or encountering obstacles (e.g., a handsome stalker, not being allowed outside, arguments over whether to date a prince, etc.).

The other reason I failed to fully connect with the novel was that I didn't relate to either of the two protagonists. One is extroverted, brash, impulsive, and a little full of herself. The other is introverted, quiet, and kind of a doormat. Both love fashion and romance and seem to have limited plans or aspirations. Then (slight spoiler) their personalities flip two-thirds through in a major, instantaneous way.

The romance stays pretty far in the background, but there are clear pairings by the end with implied happily ever afters. The one cousin is a major flirt and is infatuated with at least three different guys at different points in the story, at least two of which are obviously bad choices.

If you're looking for a standard Victorian, romance, mystery, or paranormal tale, you won't find that here. Silver in the Blood is a melting pot of all those genres and more--family, politics, Romania and even Dracula. It may not be quite what you expected, but if any of these elements sound appealing, give it a try. :)

4 comments :

  1. I haven't read anything by Jessica Day George, but I was excited for this one, based on that great cover and the summary. The shift that you describe sounds poorly handled. But Dracula makes an appearance? That could make up for some flaws. :)

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    1. I've heard a lot of people rave about George's MG series, and I've read some of her YA fairy tale retellings before with slightly better luck. There is a Dracula included, but I think he was a bit of a missed opportunity. Have to give "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" the edge. ;)

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  2. This is the second two-star review that I've read for this book. It makes me kind of glad that I turned down a review copy. :-)

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    1. Yeah, I still think a lot of readers will love it, but that switch-in-the-middle just didn't quite mesh for me.

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