*I received a free e-copy of this book through edelweiss in return for an honest review.
Title: The Secrets of Life and Death
Author: Rebecca Alexander
Recommended If You Like: Mystery, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Magic, Alchemy
Published: October 7th 2014 by Broadway Books
The minute I read the summery of this book I knew I had to have it! Alchemy, Countess Bathory, and is listed for lovers of The All Souls Trilogy and The Physic Book of Deliverence Dane (two of my favorite books by the way)…the book was practically screaming my name.
I was so excited for this book, and it starts off with a bang and a (duh duh duh) murder. In the beginning I enjoyed how it explained everything about the occult so I didn’t have to look it up. Great for those unfamiliar with terminology and it does it in a non dumbed down way. I also liked how it switched back and forth from the past and the present. It made the story more interesting and fun. However, at times I didn’t find this easy to read at times and found myself having to reread sentences to fully understand what was happening. It just didn’t flow well to me.
The character were great and really make this story come to life. Dee and his assistant Kelley were my favorite characters, and they are actual historical alchemists. They are asked to save Countess Bathory with magic which goes against everything they believe, plus the Inquisition is interested in them as well. I enjoyed Jackdaw and Felix but I did not enjoy their…wait for it…instalove. Yep, it’s one of those stories. Which really bothered me and is partly the reason I knocked off a couple stars(but there’s more reasons why!), but it didn’t make me hate them. They were still good characters and worked well together.
But one big problem I had was with how quickly everyone who were introduced as enemies, quickly became allies. I don’t want to say too much and spoil part of the story, but it was a huge issue with me. Just like the relationship between Jack and Felix just suddenly became romantic, it was the same with so many other characters. They would suddenly start to work together right after (I do mean like the next sentence) saying they didn’t trust them blah blah. It was weird and ruined the story for me bit. Plus, I don’t feel there was much character development from the beginning to the end, but like I said earlier they are still enjoyable. The last issue I had was a lack of detail. There’s a part of the book that goes straight into an action scene but there was no real lead up to it. I wish the author would have elaborated a little more.
Overall, I liked this book and it was a lot of fun even though it did have a few issues. I learned somethings, such as there is a modern inquisition(did you know that?) and it was a great twist to the Countess Bathory legend.
I hope you all enjoyed this and found it useful. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. ❤ you guys and have a great day!