Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Published: July 7th, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
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 shapeshifters, 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.
This book was such a gem. I found it while scrolling through Pinterest. I was looking for new books to add to my TBR and I stumbled upon this one and when I saw the cover I was floored. It was so gorgeous. I loved the use of the type for the title and the illustrated/sketchy feel of the cover design. Craig Phillips and Betts Greene did a fantastic job. The actual story was so fun. I loved the historical setting of the book it really added to my overall enjoyment. Mrs.George really did her research because I felt like I was in Romania and every other city the cousins embarked to just by her descriptions. I love a story that uses the paranormal or mythical creatures because I am a huge fan and the nod to the original Dracula was such a lovely touch. Anyway, as I was saying the story was really unique with the gothic setting and romance (not romance driven at all I will speak more about this later.) It was such a powerful tale of transformation emotionally, physically, and mentally. The author is really excellent at character development and description.
“The Florescu country estate was a few miles from Bran, hidden in the rolling, forested slopes of the Carpathians. It was a long, low house, whitewashed, and with a red tile roof in the style of the local farmhouses, just on a much grander scale.”
She wrote an epic tale that was character and plot driven and it was wonderfully blended with a Romanian backdrop. The lavish estates surrounded by the Carpathian wilderness made a wondrous setting to this epic clash between high society’s customs, family loyalties, and supernatural powers. It was a beautifully crafted tale and I am so sad that it ended on a mini cliffhanger as it is a stand alone and I find myself wanting to know what will happen to The Wing.
“Though she was no less magnificent, standing there like some ancient warrior queen.”
1) The Character Growth
The story follows two debutante cousins, from New York in the 1890s, Dacia and Lou. Their growth was truly inspiring so I will talk about each cousin individually. First I want to talk about Dacia because her growth was different than normal. Usually, a character goes from weak to strong but Dacia goes from strong minded to timid then back to her true self and even better. We are introduced to her as a strong willed rebellious woman that takes control of her life. As the tale progresses she learns more about her family, their history, Prince Mihai’s real intentions, and the real reason she is back in Romania. With all this knowledge you see Dacia shrink in on herself and it’s so sad to see. But my girl soon learns her true strength, potential, and acceptance of herself which brings about an even better Dacia.
“I am already a queen, Dacia told herself. And it’s time that I selected a new role for my people.”
Lou, on the other hand, starts out timid and delicate. She is very sensitive to many things and can become extremely apprehensive when under pressure, fear, or nervous. She cries easily and when spoken to sternly or rudely it stays on her mind for some time and bothers her. As her character learns of the family ties to the Dracula family and more she becomes stronger. She becomes less afraid, doesn’t let people speak down to her, and protects Dacia while she was down instead of needing the protection.
“Why should I? Lou asked. I am the smoke…But Lou was clearly not in the mood to let her finish. I am the smoke, she snapped.”
Lord Johnny had some growth as well where he went from seeing their powers as a curse to realizing the cousins especially Dacia were not like their family.
2) Plot Driven vs Romance Driven
I love a good romance and I am completely a hopeless romantic but in a story, I need it to fit in smoothly or not be overbearing. What I mean by this is, as a hopeless romantic I obviously love romance that defies all romance but when the book synopsis promises more than that I want more than that. This story gives me that. The romance is there lurking in the shadows with a flirtatious smile here, a blush there, a hand move over there, a quaint remark over there, etc. The most romance we see is one in Mr.Arkady’s letter to his parents where he mentions a family heir loom to be given to Lou.
“Mother, if I die, I beg of you to send grandmother’s amber necklace, which she left to me, to Miss Maria Louisa Neulander of New York City…I wish this young lady to have it as an apology for the many ways in which I wronged her.”
Two in the end when Lord Johnny actually makes a move on Dacia.
“There’s also adventure, he told her. Not to mention romance!
Romance? Are you quite certain?
Oh yes! Lord Johnny bent his head and kissed her. There must be romance.”
3) The Unique Story
I haven’t read many or any story like this one and it’s one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much. Usually, a story involving wolves is the whole werewolf or vampire tale but not this one. It’s all about different shapeshifters, their abilities, and the Draculas are not as powerful as one might think. The difference is what really kept me page turning and falling in love with every aspect of this book.
“An excellent battle, yipped Aunt Kate, slipping beneath the bench as well. ‘You have proven yourself to be a powerful warrior.’
We shall not speak of it again,’ Dacia snarled.
Aunt Kate bowed her head in deference to her queen.”
1) Slow Beginning *this was the reason it was a 4 star*
Now I was rather busy when reading this book so I didn’t get to read it as fast as I would have liked, but the beginning was really slow. It was a lot of wordiness filled with some unnecessary filler plot that didn’t add to the real overall plot. The imagery she created was nice but I had to wait for about 10 chapters to get to the real good stuff and I like my intro chapters to last five chapters and under depending on the length.
2) Prince Mihai
I severely disliked Prince Mihai which I am assuming was the point of his character so claps to Jessica Day George to creating a truly evil villain. To anyone who may be triggered by mentions of rape he does threaten this upon the cousins at one point. The story talks so much about monsters but the ones considered monsters are not and this man is. The way he forces himself into Dacia’s life with false pretenses and tries to force her into a sham of a wedding with her families help makes me so angry to think of. But, Dacia’s growth and understanding of who she was, her power, and not letting this man own her was like watching a child become a grown woman.
“Freed of her Parisian finery, Dacia changed…Mihai flung himself backward, scrambling across the bed toward the open window…Then she locked her gaze on Mihai, and growled low in her throat. So beautiful, Dacia heard Lord Johnny say as she leaped.”
3) Lady Iona and the Florescu Family
I also wanted to fight Lady Iona, Dacia and Lou’s grandma. The way she tries to own their life and use their powers, the way she does the rest of the family, to help Prince Mihai and the Draculas just shows her evil nature. The whole family is so afraid of her and under her thumb, it’s pathetic and I felt for the cousins so much because they were so alone in their fight to own their life. I hated most of their family also lol because they were useless until the girls became basically the head of the family. The things Lady Iona did to the other Smoke children was so evil I really was so happy when the girls became their own and defied her and the family.
“I am the smoke, she snapped…And Dacia is the queen of the Clasw, Lou said. In case you’ve forgotten…We won’t be taking orders from anyone. You can try and lock us in our rooms, but I doubt very much any lock could hold me.”
Truly a unique book I am really surprised it was a standalone book as I stated because the ending had closure but left me with one burning question. What will come of the Wing? I feel that it adds to the magic though in a way but I can’t help it if Mrs.George left me wanting more. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the supernatural, historical fiction, a bit of romance, and wonderful character growth.