Goodreads: Silver in the Blood
Series: Silver in the Blood #1
Published: July 2015
Dacia and Lou, best friends and cousins, are thrilled to be visiting their Romanian relatives for the first time. But rumors swirl around their family and some of the locals even seem to believe in vampires! Will Dacia and Lou discover the family secret before it’s too late?
I have long been a fan of Jessica Day George’s work and I believed that if anyone could pull off yet another vampire/werewolf story, it would be her. Setting it in 1890s Romania with two New York society girls as the protagonists would surely make it original, I mused, and she is an expert hand at magic, so that part would be intriguing. However, the story progresses slowly and as I forced myself to slog through, I could only wonder what had happened.
The book relies heavily on mini cliffhangers and unspoken dangers to keep suspense strong–or at least I assume suspense was meant to be strong. Literally half the book goes through with constant perspective switches to keep plot points unresolved and during those scenes the protagonists ask the same questions of various individuals repeatedly, with no one willing to explain to them why they are in Romania or why their family is so odd. These tactics did not keep me on the edge of my seat, however, but tried my patience sorely. Worse, many of the questions asked have answers obvious to readers, so I found it impossible to share in the mystery surrounding Dacia and Lou, and just wished they would make some intelligent deductions and get on with it.
The plot finally gets moving halfway through, when the book suddenly transforms from a dull mystery to an action-packed magical adventure. The excitement was high and I enjoyed these parts, except that every couple scenes seems to be Dacia or Lou meeting one of their handsome suitors in a scandalous state of undress. Their suitors did not mind, of course, but it is the 1890s–why exactly are the men so willing to accept American society girls acting so unladylike? Their attitudes seemed anachronistic and the reliance on partial nudity to further the romance got old fast. I really wanted the girls and their suitors to get to know each other somewhere in between all their furtive peeping. I also really wanted to know what the rest of polite society thought of the girls’ actions.
I feel really conflicted about this book as I like the idea of real shape-shifters scandalizing early nineteenth century society, but the execution does not have the polish and skill I expected. Furthermore, Dacia and Lou’s actions are so inappropriate for their time period that I found my suspension of disbelief sorely taxed. I am not sure yet whether I want to read the sequel.