Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: June 23th, 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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London, 1725. Everybody has a secret. Lady A will keep yours—for a price. This sumptuous, scandalous YA novel is wickedly addictive. Lady A is the most notorious blackmailer in the city. With just a mask and a gown to disguise her, she sweeps into lavish balls and exclusive events collecting the most valuable currency in 1725 London—secrets. But leading a double life isn't easy. By day Lady A is just a sixteen-year-old girl named Arista who lives in fear of her abusive master, Bones, and passes herself off as a boy to move safely through the squalor of London's slums. When Bones attempts to dispose of his pawn forever, Arista is rescued by the last person she expects: Jonathan Wild, the infamous Thief Taker General who moves seamlessly between the city's criminal underworld and its most elite upper circles. Arista partners with Wild on her own terms in the hopes of saving enough money to buy passage out of London. Everything changes when she meets Graeden Sinclair, the son of a wealthy merchant. Grae has traveled the world, has seen the exotic lands Arista has longed to escape to her whole life, and he loves Arista for who she is—not for what she can do for him. Being with Grae gives something Arista something precious that she swore off long ago: hope. He has promised to help Arista escape the life of crime that has claimed her since she was a child. But can you ever truly escape the past?
This novel had quite the premise, it appealed to me on every level. I mean come on, historical fiction coupled up with a complex blackmail scenario? Sign me up. Unfortunately with Tangled Webs I found myself simply unable to finish it. I ended up marking it as DNF at 30 percent just because I was so, so, so detached and bored out of my mind. The biggest issue for me was definitely the writing in this one. It just read as so bland and typical, and because of that the characters ended up in the same boat for me. You see I didn’t end up finishing this one not because it was overwhelmingly rage inducing, but rather because it was was so utterly mediocre for me. I had no interest or investment on what happened in terms of plot, characters, romance…anything. I think it says something that a story about blackmailing in the 1700s was so boring.
Perhaps that has something to do with the fact the story didn’t really feel like it took place in the 1700s. I felt as though the lack of worldbuilding made it feel like the novel could have taken place in Canada in the 1940s, or really any time period at all. Given this is a historical fiction novel, I do find the historical elements to be quite crucial and it would be an understatement to say Tangled Webs was lacking in that department. The setting and time period added nothing to the novel at all.
There was definitely romance in Tangled Webs…unfortunately. I didn’t read the story long enough to see if the love triangle presented was in fact a love triangle, but from what I’ve gathered this seems to be the case. The love triangle is between the main character’s sole confident (who has been with her over the course of her whole life and has saved it on a few occasions) and this random gentleman she met one night at a ball and is completely head over heels in love with. I can already make a guess who the main character ended up with (and I looked some reviews to confirm) and it’s truly just sad to me despite how many times we’ve raged about insta-love it continues to prevail in YA fiction. It honestly makes zero sense to me and never will. Of course, since I felt so detached from the characters, their romance(s) among each other definitely didn’t result in swooning, but rather rolling my eyes on an extremely frequent basis.
Overall, I found myself extremely disappointed by Tangled Webs. I couldn’t get through more than 30 percent of the novel due to my extreme ennui, the lackluster romance, how the historical elements were lacking and how I frankly didn’t have a single care towards any of the characters.
~Thanks to Disney Hyperion for the review copy!~
DNFSilver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: July 7th, 2015
Genres: YA, Historical, Romance
Source: Received in exchange for review
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A New York Times bestselling author brings dark secrets to life in a lush new YA perfect for fans of Libba Bray or Cassandra Clare. 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. With a gorgeous Romanian setting, stunning Parisian gowns, and dark brooding young men, readers will be swept up by this epic adventure of two girls in a battle for their lives.
I went into Silver in the Blood expecting a fun fast paced paranormal story with historical elements. I didn’t quite get that, and I think it’s important for some to be aware of what this story is about as their enjoyment may be contingent one my previous description. For me I found Silver in the Blood I found the story to be a quite slowly paced historical fiction novel with whispers of paranormal that focuses on the two main characters and their friendships. Dacia and Lou are the main characters of this story and are cousins who completely different from eachother on nearly every level. However, I found themselves to just be beautifully developed and experienced such great character growth as the story went on. I personally found myself able to connect easier with Lou and preferred her character overall, but I also liked what Dacia brought to the table. It’s inarguable that both cousins, while inherently different, manage to compliment each-other on a wonderful level. I loved getting to see their relationship be strong, get challenged and change as the story went on. It’s quite rare nowadays when a sister like relationship like this is highlighted and it was a beauty to see honestly.
The action in Silver in the Blood picks up in the last third, the first two thirds honestly were just building up the suspense to an almost unbearable degree and an exploration of historical Romania. Not to say I didn’t like the Romania elements, quite on the contrary actually. I felt the historical elements in this worked quite well and was undeniably atmospheric. When the action did finally hit its mark I found myself completely immersed in the novel and the paranormal aspect was finally brought to a head. The concept was of the Wing, Claw and Smoke truly was fascinating and I loved the way it was interpreted and applied. I personally would have liked to see more of it though.
There was romance in this one. Ehhhh. Thank goodness it didn’t take over the plot of the story as quite honestly it didn’t do too much for me. I felt like both relationships highlight in Silver in the Blood could have been developed better as especially one of them gave off some insta-love vibes. I much preferred the relationship between Lou and Dacia to that of either of them and their love interests. Furthermore, their love interests themselves were barely explored and fell flat to me. They were quite one dimensional, and I think that same description could definitely be applied to numerous other side characters and certainly the caricature like antagonist.
Overall, I think Silver in the Blood isn’t for everybody. However, despite not enjoying some aspects I did manage to like the novel overall. I found the main characters and their relationship combined with the historical setting worked for me.
~Thanks to Bloomsbury Childrens for the review copy!~
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