Hello! I am very excited for the review that I bring you today, which is a review of a newly released, young adult, historical fiction novel. So, read on for a review of Blood and Silver, by Vali Benson!
Blood and Silver
Author: Vali Benson
Release Date: April 3rd 2020
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction
*this review is spoiler free*
What is a twelve year old girl to do when she finds herself in the silver boom town of Tombstone, Arizona, in 1880, and her only home is a brothel and her only parent is a drug-addicted mother? If she is Carissa Beaumont, she outsmarts the evil madam and figures a way out.
After tricking the madam, Miss Lucille, into summoning a doctor for her mother, Lisette, she discovers that Miss Lucille has been drugging her. She and the kind doctor make a plan to try to save Lisette by dosing her down on the drug.
Doctor Henderson tells Carissa that the only source for the drug is a Chinese immigrant named China Mary, who lives in Hoptown, at the other end of Tombstone. Carissa has no choice but to go to the powerful woman for help. Many say that China Mary is the one who really controls Tombstone.
China Mary admires Carissa’s brave spirit, and uses her influence to get her a job at the new Grand Hotel, which will free Carissa from her many duties at Miss Lucille’s. She will work along with Mary’s twelve year old niece, Mai-Lin. The two girls become fast friends.
Then, disaster strikes, and the two girls must work together to stay alive.
With a host of colorful characters and meticulous attention to period detail, Blood and Silver is a story of the best and worst of human nature, the passion for survival and the beauty of true friendship.
I received a digital review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The plot seemed okay at first, and in my opinion, it only got better as the story moved on. It is the sort of plot that twists and turns, and that was interesting. In the beginning, maybe for the first quarter of the book, I was a bit unsure of what was going on. However, I was very impressed by how complex the plot was. After reading the first few chapters, I was not impressed and was prepared to give the book a low rating. However, once I got further into the book, more of the pieces I’d been confused about came together and began to make more sense.
I must say, though, that the book was a bit heavier than I expected it to be. What Miss Lucille does to Lisette and all of her girls is cruel, and the topics that the book covered were topics that I have not seen written about in many young adult novels.
But what are you going to expect from a book with the word blood in the title?
The writing in Blood and Silver was okay. The dialogue was nice, and the character’s personalities were definitely shown through the way they spoke. What I appreciated and enjoyed the most about the writing is how the dialects and accents of the different characters stayed true to the time period that the book took place in, and also their comfort with the English language.
I felt like as with the plot, the characters started out a bit confusing. I didn’t understand or really get to know the characters in the first few chapters, but as the book progressed I felt like the characters began to become more complex and relatable.
My favorite aspect of the characters was how the different characters changed and evolved throughout the book. Carissa, the main character, really changes throughout the story, and I loved being able to read about that. I also loved how Lisette’s character was shown.
Vali started and sold two successful businesses before she decided to pursue her real passion of writing. She published several articles in a variety of periodicals, including History Magazine before she decided to try her hand at fiction.
In April of 2020, Vali published her first novel, “Blood and Silver”. That same month, she was also made a member of the Western Writers of America.
Vali grew up in the Midwest. She now lives in Tucson with her husband, two sons and two grandchildren.
I wasn’t sure how much I’d like the book when I first started it, and in the beginning, I wasn’t very impressed. However, as the book continued, I began to enjoy it more and more. The plot was complex, which I enjoyed, and the way that the characters evolved throughout the book was very fun to read. The writing was pretty good, although it wasn’t my favorite. I did like, however, how the dialogue was written according to the characters’ accents and also how it was relevant to the time period the book took place in.
My rating: 4/5 stars
To who? Those in search of historical fiction with strong friendships, brave characters, and a story taking place in a real town, with incredible accuracy to the time.