Title: Silver in the Blood (Silver in the Blood #1)
Author: Jessica Day George
YA – Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Release Date: July 7, 2015
For a while now, Jessica Day George has been one of my go-to authors for fantasy. She writes wonderfully unique, quirky, fun series that are simply a pleasure to read. Like Dragon Slippers, in which Creel is sacrificed to the local dragon, but talks her way out of his clutches, only to go on to change the world with a pair of strange slippers. Or the Castle Glower series, a delightful tale of a castle that has the ability to add and remove rooms and help the occupants inside defend against attack and treachery. These books have given me many a lovely hour of escaping into a new, magical world of wonder and delight.
Silver in the Blood is George’s newest title, and the start of a new series of the same name. In the first installment, cousins Dacia and Lou, both of New York City, return to their family’s ancestral home in Bucharest, Romania. They believe they are going to enjoy an extended stay in order to meet the family and learn about their heritage and Romanian culture. Instead, they find out that their family harbors an old, deep secret and that the girls have been brought to Romania to become officially initiated into the family order.
I’m not going to say more than that, because one of the best things about the book is the way that information is divulged. At first it seems fragmented and disorienting, but then I realized that it’s probably meant to feel exactly that way. The girls themselves are disoriented after arriving in a new country and begging for answers that aren’t exactly forthcoming. The suspense and intrigue adds to the mystery of the family and plays into their overall agenda.
George writes in the author’s note that Silver in the Blood was originally set in modern times and told through things like e-mails, text messages, and diary entries. Thanks to a friend’s suggestion, she wrote the book as historical fiction instead. Knowing that tidbit makes me appreciate the book even more. The historical setting serves the story well as a time and place steeped in history, lore, and political intrigue. Modern day technology and knowledge wouldn’t have done the job in quite the same way. As historical fiction, the reader is drawn into the polite society of Bucharest, which is a sharp contrast to other parts of the plot.
There’s plenty of romantic intrigue as well, with a host of charming suitors, each with their own stories and secrets. The romantic element didn’t feel added on hastily; it served to further the plot and reveal information that may not have been revealed so well elsewhere.
Although it took a while for me to warm up to this book, that was entirely my own fault, as I was reading in bits and pieces here and there. When I finally sat down to devote my full attention to the novel, I was drawn in and needed to know what was going to happen next. The pacing is superb, the plot suspenseful, and the historical setting a perfect complement to George’s unique blend of fantasy. I’m excited that this is a new series, although now I face the familiar difficulty of anticipating the next book.