Title: Silver in the Blood
Author: Jessica Day George
Age Group: Middle schoolers and up
My Rating: 2/4 Stars
Synopsis: “As debutantes in 1890s New York City, cousins Dacia and Lou knew little about their mysterious Romanian relatives, the Florescus. Now, upon turning seventeen, the girls must journey to Romania–a journey that seems to be both reward and punishment–to meet their cousins and their tyrant of a grandmother and to learn the secrets of their family. Secrets spoken of in whispers. Dangerous secrets known as the Claw, the Wing, and the Smoke. But as dangerous as those family secrets might be, even more dangerous is the centuries-old bond between the Florescus and the royal Dracula family, and it seems that it’s time for Dacia and Lou to give up their life in New York society and take their place among the servants of the Draculas. When the devilish heir, Mihai Dracula, sets his sights on Dacia as part of his evil, power-hungry plan, the girls must accept or fight against this cruel inheritance. Do they have the courage to break the shackles of their upbringing and set the course of their own destiny?”
I wasn’t particularly a fan of Jessica Day George at any point, but I have read two of her trilogies (Twelve Dancing Princesses and Dragon Slippers), which were great fun, as well as having enjoyed some of the Castle Glower Series’ books, until I outgrew them. So, naturally, when I saw another book by her I was intrigued, a feeling that only grew when I read the interesting plot summary.
Funny thing is, this book isn’t necessarily what you would think it would be about (if that makes sense). When you think of the family name Dracula, you might assume it’s a vampire story, which this most certainly is not. It is in a similar vein, and deals with mythical creatures and legends, but vampires aren’t the truth of it at all. Honestly, this is what led me to keep reading the book. It surprised me with the inventive ideas that were eventually presented.
I don’t use the word ‘eventually’ lightly. The book started out with a solid introduction and I could sense the beginnings of either a suspenseful mystery or a thrilling adventure. However, I don’t think that either of these things were truly shown. During the first half of the book, there was a lot of subtle foreshadowing and a lot of mystery, which was initially great. Then, I started to get tired of the way the characters were dealing with the lack of solid fact about their family. The two cousins were constantly questioning people for answers and always getting nothing in return. This started to drag on and I was relieved when the full truth was fully uncovered for the girls. This finally made the book feel more exciting and that’s really when the adventure started- this was about halfway through the book.
After I finished reading, I read the author’s note, where she talked about going to Romania to conduct research and how she tried to show the beauty of Romania throughout the book. I think that this effort might have overshadowed her descriptions of other things, specifically the characters. I had a hard time imagining Lou for quite a while until the author finally added a tidbit about her curly hair.
Now, a few notes on the subject of romance. Dacia and Lord Johnny were an amazing pair to read about, but Theo and Lou? You can tell that Theo had a bit of a crush on Lou since the beginning of the book. The only thing I struggled with is that I felt like Lou reciprocating these feelings came so suddenly. It almost seemed unnatural to me how she started to feel this way so quickly, but I’m no expert…
I really wanted to like this book more than I did, so I’m finishing up this review up with a bit about the characters. I really ended up liking the characters, especially the main two girls. At the end of the book, I felt very satisfied with how they had changed and became rounded during their story. Seeing this change was a nice refresher for me at the end.