Review: Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George

Publication: July 7th 2015 by Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover, 358 pages
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Dacia and Lou are cousins and best friends who've never known much about their Romanian heritage. Raised in America, they are on their first ever journey to meet their mysterious Romanian relatives. But as they draw closer to Romania, strange things start happening, and they begin to suspect their family of having some terrible secret- suspicions that in no way prepare them for what they learn when they arrive.

Jessica Day George really seems to write for a younger audience, in a way that doesn't translate well to other age groups.The writing very much feels geared toward a more juvenile audience. There's just something simplistic about the way in which the story is told, which was a bit of a weakness in this case. I'm always hesitant about making a comment like this, because books written for younger audiences can absoloutely be enjoyed by adults- it just depends on the story and how it is told. This story is told in a slightly juvenile way, which reduced my engagement.

Moving on to the story. There isn't anything technically wrong with it, its just not interesting to me personally, I'm not sure why. Dacia and Lou go to meet their Romanian family who are more than a little strange. At first the girls have no idea what is going on, of course, and eventually they uncover their magical legacy. The way this story progressed just... didn't intrigue me, the plot structure just dropped off- the flow of the plot didn't work. Sometimes a weak plot can be pulled along by engaging characters, but that wasn't the case in this story.

The thing with Lou and Dacia is they both go through somewhat rapid character changes, and I found myself slightly left behind by how quickly some of those changes happened. I think the main reason for that was mostly because their most fundamental character traits weren't satisfactorily established. If you're going to have some of a character's traits change that rapidly, you have to have a pre-established basis for the sudden change (ex. their values drive them to react a certain way that would seem contradictory to some of their personality traits), if that makes sense. I also definitely found myself enjoying one character point of view more than the other, which is always a risk in dual POV novels.

All that said, I still enjoyed parts of the novel. There were moments of humour that I found myself really enjoying, and there were some aspects of the girls' characters and journeys that did interest me. It was just that a lot of the story and the storytelling didn't keep me engaged. There was no connection there.

Overall, it was alright as a light read, but wasn't terribly impressive as a book. There was nothing about it that will stand out to me when I look back on books that I read this year.

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Kelly

I'm a reader and reviewer from Ontario, Canada, which mean that sometimes library trips take place place through a foot or so of snow. I'm going into my third year of university, studying Environmental Sciences, which I juggle with my almost constant reading. I've been blogging at at my own blog since 2012, and I'll be helping Yani out here on Paper Boulevard as a co-blogger.
KELLY

I'm a reader and reviewer from Ontario, Canada, which mean that sometimes library trips take place through a foot or so of snow. I'm going into my third year of university, studying Environmental Sciences, which I juggle with my almost constant reading. I've been blogging at my own blog and I'll be helping Yani out here as a co-blogger.

  1. I've read quite a few reviews on this title, and everyone seems to have the same problem, it reads too young for their tastes. & it's not like this is a bad thing, because I do read Middle Grade, but the simplicity of the writing can definitely take away from the story itself, making it almost boring for other age groups. This is definitely unfortunate being that the premise sounded so good, but I'll pass on this one!

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    1. It is something that I noticed in Jessica Day George's writing before, but it didn't really bother me as much as it did in this book. I have read and loved so many Middle Grade books- there are different kinds of MG book. I find writing style really influences that, and George's writing style didn't really work well for the story she was trying to tell.

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  2. Yep, I felt the same way towards this book. I had pretty high expectations and felt really let down honestly. I'm not sure I'd continue with the series. totally agree about it reading too young :-(

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    1. I'm not entirely sure if it is a series, I think that author said that it was written as a stand-alone, but that she has more ideas for the characters... I'm not sure if I'll be reading it, though, I'm not super impressed with this one.

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  3. I know next to nothing about Romania so this would be such an educational read :O Sad to hear that you weren't impressed by it and I know what you mean when sometimes the writing feels too juvenile and difficult to be enjoyed by all audiences.

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    1. I'm not sure if there's really that much Romania in it- the time that the girls spend there is mostly with their somewhat insular family, and I'm not sure how reflective that is of Romania as a country- though there are mentions of Romanian traditional food and clothing.

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  4. Kinda sucks it wasn't more impressive. But light reads are good from time to time.

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    1. They can't all be winners, I suppose. Light reads here and there are nice, especially when things are busy.

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