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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Blood and Silver is a work of fiction in the historical western and drama sub-genres and was penned by author Vali Benson. Written for young adult audiences, the work is accessible to all readers as it does not contain graphic content. The setting is Arizona, 1880, in a town where a young girl finds herself lacking in options when her drug-addled mother is unable to help her. Wise and plucky, twelve-year-old Carissa Beaumont hatches a plan to help her mother and escape the brothel in which she lives, but it involves making some unlikely friendships that may bring yet more danger that she was not anticipating.
Author Vali Benson has created an accessible and updated take on the western genre which can be enjoyed by young adult readers and nostalgic adults alike. At its center, the story takes on the bond of Carissa and Mai-Lin, an emotional arc that resonates strongly and is well developed in the narrative presentation and dialogue of the characters. Both girls are hardy and quick-witted for the era, which makes for an exciting and nail-biting adventure when they have to find ways to get out of trouble. All of this is set against a fiercely accurate historical backdrop, where it’s clear that Benson has put a lot of work into researching the way of life, the cultural and racial mix of people, and the grim realities of life in the old west. Overall, I would definitely recommend Blood and Silver as an enthralling historical read.