Author: Jessica Day George
Genre: young adult, supernatural fiction, historical fiction
Series: Silver in the Blood #1
Published: July 2015
Source: ARC copy provided by publishers for review
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.
Today, I'm hosting a discussion review of Silver in the Blood with
Lyn from Great Imaginations!
Jessie: You ready to talk Silver in the Blood, lady??
Lyn: Yes, ma'am! Alright, so, did you feel like this was more MG than YA at times?
Jessie: Yes! A lot of the journal entries and letters especially felt younger to me. They just read very basic and unsubtle.
Lyn: That was pretty much the entire feel for me. Very basic. At times, the book pulled through and got interesting, but then it fizzled back out again. There was a lot of potential, but instead, there was a lot of unneeded focus on the tangled romances happening.
Jessie: I was completed bored by the romances. I couldn't take either seriously and I was just far more interested in the far more creative angle the adapting of DraculaI loved the idea of the Smoke, the Wing, and the Claw. Not to mention a secret order sworn to fight them!
Lyn: I wish that the Dracula thing would have played out more! It was pushed to the back when it was the most interesting thing happening! I would have LOVED to see more of that come through! Right when it got ugly, the book backed off of it and turned it attention to the romance and the ongoing mystery. It was so frustrating to see that part get pushed to the side.
That part (the paranormal part) was really great, and I liked that it kept to the creepy vibes of the atmosphere, but it seems, like all of the other plot devices, as soon as it started getting darker, the book pulled back.
Jessie: Agreed. The book worked much better, and felt more original, when it dove into that aspect. Or even the familial struggles. I liked that it wasn't a typical "oh hey we can shapeshift, awesome!" reaction for the girls but it wasn't explored enough. Ioana is evil -- but that's not enough characterization.
Lyn: It seemed that the story was too afraid to get bold, and relied on fluffing up the plot to make it more appealing. Girls LIKE dark things. It almost seemed insulting.Ioana was very one dimensional. I never really got a feel for her beyond "mean and old".
Jessie: I don't mind fluff, though. And I wouldn't have minded this being pure fluff had the characterization been there to back it up. But it wasn't, for the guys or the girls. Which means I just didn't care at all for a large portion of their motivations. I liked that it was an unexpected angle -- and I liked how the magic passed down thought it was clever -- but it lacked depth. Like the characters.
Lyn: Fluff is good as long as it isn't padding the grittier parts of the book. Then it just feels like cushioning instead of natural banter or an atmosphere change.
Lyn: The mythology was the strongest part of the novel. It could have relied a lot more on that, instead of the "who do I like more" struggle. I also wanted to see more of the Archangel workings, but once again, it was just passed over for the sake of the LUV SCENES.
The angle....it was coming. For a book that wrote very basic characters, there was no chance for redemption for the rougher characters. Everyone stayed in their role, which was disappointing.
Jessie: I agree. When the book got creative -- the mythology with Dracula/the Florescus, the Wing, the Smoke, the Claw, how the ability passes down -- was when I loved the book and it reminded me of Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian but for YA.
Nope, not much change happens for the characters at all. Despite the obvious, I mean.
Lyn: Agreed, so so agree.There is another part that really bothered me, and it ended up lowering the rating of the novel; I felt that this book was very sexist.
Jessie: How so?
Lyn: Will Carver was used as a strawman to point out what was "manly". He was an artist, which the girls internally mocked, and then, when he has a GUT pointed at his HEAD, Dacia says for him to "be a man." What was he suppose to do, just brush off that someone was going to kill him!
Will was treated like this little dandy man and was used to make the other men in the novel more masculine. It was terribly offensive, and I didn't appreciate it at all.
Jessie: Ah yeah the depiction of Will was probably the worst but I didn't think along those lines as I was reading it.
Lyn: I almost threw the book across the room when Dacia sneered at him when he was freaking out with the gun.Then, on top of that, there is a girl that is NEARLY RAPED in front of everyone, and she is just able to brush it off and go along with it? And everyone was just to muddle around while the guy was undressing her?
Jessie: YES. I made a note of that while reading and it was literally just: "?????" because I couldn't see it playing out that way.
Lyn: Agreed! I kept thinking SOMEONE STOP HIM INSTEAD OF LETTING HIM RAMBLE ON. HE IS GOING TO RAPE THAT GIRL.And in the next scene, the girl is all just okay with it. She was terrified by surprise paranormal powers but just kinda brushes off a rape attempt? Because rape is REAL and therefore less terrifying than the unknown superpowers?
Jessie: Not a fan of that scene of how it was handled. Went from a 3.5 to a 3 for me.
Lyn: That nearly ended it. Also, I am really REALLY sick of seeing rape as a device in most female-centered fiction. I am so OVER it. Saving the girl from rape is a trope that makes me want to spit up blood.
And then, there is other small issues I couldn't ignore. The dad just LEAVES his daughter with people he fears? But he takes the other kids? Oh HELL no!
Jessie: I think she explained that -- that he was forced to leave and stayed as close as he dared. In Hungary, yes, but still.
Lyn: I really couldn't swallow that excuse
Jessie: It was in one of the journal entries, I think? I just remember thinking it was a flimsy excuse since Radu/etc. hadn't really been shown as that much of a threat at that point in the novel.
Lyn: Agreed. I seriously do not see a father that dismissed a teacher because of abusive practices just up and giving up. It didn't fit. He was already spooked, and it just seemed so out of place.I think this novel had a lot of good intentions, and there were some great parts, but it never really fit together, like this was two different novels that was attempted to be made into one paranormal romance.
Jessie: I think it would have been much more cohesive as just a paranormal book. Or even one with a sliiiight romance. But all that angst overwhelmed the interesting parts of the plot.
Lyn: Agreed - it was drowning in its own love story, and I was pretty done with it by the halfway point. After the mystery was revealed, the book just fell apart and cracked under the tremendous weight of the bogged-down plot.
Jessie: Final rating?
Lyn: I ended up giving this one 2.5 stars. The rape and the sexism really bothered the hell out of me.
Jessie: I was slightly higher -- 3/5.
1 star removed for the romances and my lack of care.
1 star removed for the reasons you just stated.
Lyn: Are you going to continue the series?
Jessie: I am going to wait on reviews. I won't be trying the next one until I've heard back from a trusted blog.
Lyn: Good idea. I think I am going to have to part ways with this series. WOMP WOMP. Do we have anything else to add?
Jessie: I thiiiiiink no? I love the cover?
Lyn: Oh, yes, the cover was actually awesome, and I really got it when I finished the book. So kudos for tying in the book with the novel!
Check out some of our other discussion reviews:
- Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen
- Black Iris by Leah Raeder (with Kara, also of Great Imaginations)
- Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
- Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma (also with Kara of Great Imaginations and Bekka of Pretty Deadly Reviews)
- Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfeld (also with Pixie of Great Imaginations)