Title: Silver in the Blood
Author: Jessica Day George
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 shape-shifters, 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.
I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I’d be lying if I said that’s not the sole reason I picked this one up. The reason I decided to buy and read it was because of the name Dracula. I’m a sucker (no pun intended?) for vampires, and I went into this thinking it would be some kind of sequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Boy was I wrong – it turned out to be something so much better!
I love period works – anything set in the past with ladies at the forefront of the story is almost immediately my cup of tea. Add in sprinkles of the supernatural and a dash of romance and it’s a dream come true. That’s basically how I feel about Silver in the Blood. The story follows a pair of cousins, Dacia and Lou, as they leave the comfort of society in New York to visit relatives they’ve never met in Romania. A decent amount of the book is spent with the cousins being apart during their travels, and while that got a little bit tedious at times, it only made me want to read on to finally see them interact together. At the start of the book, Dacia is the headstrong trouble-maker – the kind of girl the gossipy old ladies of the time period would tsk and shake their heads at. She’s strong spirited, intelligent, and has a rebellious streak. Her knack for scandalous behavior is only rivaled by her love for her cousin, Lou. Unlike Dacia, Lou is a much gentler, shyer soul at the start. Personally, I connected with Lou more easily than Dacia, but reading both of their portions of the story leading up to their reunion in Romania was thoroughly enjoyable. The rest of the cast, though not as much of a focus or developed as the two cousins, still felt pretty real, since they’re viewed through the eyes of the two girls.
In the interest of avoiding spoilers, I won’t go into the supernatural aspect of the book too much. I will say this, however – it’s a very interesting take on the story of historic Dracula. Also, it’s nothing to do with vampires! The Florescus have a very special set of abilities they use to serve the Draculas, who have no powers at all. It was great to see how Dacia and Lou grew into their abilities, and how each girl received the news. Both girls developed from teenagers obsessed with society and the latest fashion trend into young women with responsibilities, and that only made them more likable. Their powers, in my opinion, are not the real focus of their stories, but how they both handle the task set to them by the Dracula family. Dacia and Lou have to choose between what they think is right and their duty to their family – two things that are not always on opposite ends.
One of my favorite parts of the book had to be the setting. I’ve never read anything that takes place in Romania, nor have I ever been there, but it was impossible not to imagine that I had. With vivid and beautiful description without being overbearing, it was easy to feel like I was right there with Dacia and Lou. It’s clear while reading the book that the author has been to Romania, and was going out of her way to make great use of the scenery. The country felt like another character in itself – completely essential to the story. I can’t imagine this story taking place anywhere else.
The only reason this book doesn’t get 5 stars, is because I think there could have been more. Though it wasn’t a short story, it was a really quick read that left me wanting more. Some of the other characters could have been developed further, and I would have liked to see the evolution of Dacia and Lou’s relationships with their respective significant others. That being said, I’m not sure if the book is supposed to be the first in a series. Though it read like a complete story, it does set up a pretty interesting world and mythos. Either way – I highly recommend it to all fans of paranormal, lady-led literature!