Saturday, November 21, 2015

#Saturday Review - The Secrets of Blood and Bone by Rebecca Alexander (Fantasy)

Series: Jackdaw Hammond # 2
Format: E-Galley, 384 pages
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Broadway Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Historical Fiction, Paranormal

Following her showdown with Elizabeth Bathory, Jackdaw Hammond is running from her past, hiding from her future, and hoping to contain her newfound thirst for blood. Buying an overgrown home in the middle of nowhere seems like the perfect place to escape…at least until she finds herself in the sights of a murderous family with a terrible secret and a penchant for dark magic. 

Meanwhile, her old ally Felix Guichard has gone to New Orleans to conduct his own investigation into the nature of blood magic, but is soon sucked into the intrigues of the city’s occult underworld. But Jack will need Felix more than she knows, for the battle for her soul is set to begin.

Her only salvation may lie with the secrets of 16th century master occultist Edward Kelley, and a dangerous mission he undertook in Venice to confront the Inquisition, the darkest deeds of his own past, and the fearsome power of Elizabeth Bathory.

The Secrets of Blood and Bone is the second novel in the Jackdaw Hammond series. Once again author Rebecca Alexander spins a story that takes place both in the 16th century with Edward Kelley (1596), and in the present with main characters Jack, Sadie, Felix, and Maggie. Kelley's story actually takes place a full year after the end of The Secrets of Life and Death. 

Kelley travels to Venice, Italy in search of answers for his new patron, Lord Robert Dannick. (pay attention to that name, it will come back again in Jack's storyline). Dannick believes that Venice holds the answers to what is ailing his son, and needs Kelley to find it. Kelley's experiences are fraught with dangerous situations of betrayal, kidnapping, plots, lies, deceptions, and men and women who would be called Skinwalkers. I kind of feel sorry for Kelley. He's been through so much, and he is still not out of the woods yet with the Inquisition, nor Elizabeth Bathory. 

In the present, it has been THREE months since Jack, Felix, and an inquisitor named McNamara fought and defeated Elizabeth Bathory. Jack and Sadie have since moved to Bee Cottage where they face a major refurbishing job, and more challenges. Their first challenge is that the former owner of the Cottage, Ellen, was murdered. The second challenge becomes a matter of life and death when Sir Henry Dannick puts Jack, and Sadie's lives in danger in order to find a book that might help his grandson Callum walk again. 

One could say that Jack has moved on from the character we first met in The Secrets of Life and Death. She no longer supplies ingredients for sorcery, magic, and witchcraft with no questions asked. Instead, she has kind of matured and is dealing with a new body. That's an important attribute. If you've read the first book, you know that Jack was saved by Maggie. 20 years later, by drinking Felix's blood, she is facing a whole slew of challenges.

Sadie is another character I truly adore. She's come a very long way. She's got some neat new magical abilities, but she still struggles with what she is, and staying alive. I loved her connection to nature, including Bee Cottage's garden that is protective of those who reside in there. I do feel emotions for the girl since she has to distance herself from the only person who knows that she isn't really dead...her mother.

While Jack and Sadie are in Bee Cottage, Felix travels from New Orleans, to Paris searching for answers about what happens to people who drink blood. Felix is a puzzling character at times. I know he cares about Jack. I know that he is searching for answers. But, he has no clue what challenges Sadie and Jack face each and every day as "Borrowed Timers." I think the relationship between Jack and Felix needs a break. Felix is very judgmental at times, and that absolutely nothing to help the issues at hand. 

Since I have now read two books in this series, it is only fair of me to say that Edward Kelley gets more than his fair share of story time. In fact, his story time is nearly every other chapter, while Felix picks up the slack not dedicated to Jack. Previously, I had a minor problem with this series being labeled as Jack's since there are so many different narratives at play. Alexander has made it a point of flip flopping between main characters as well. 

As a side note, Kelley's story is pure fiction. The author has put Kelley in a situation that he was never in, according to all accounts. However, Kelley's journey does, in fact, connect with what Jack and the others will eventually deal with in the 21st Century. There is a third book releasing in 2016 called The Secrets of Time and Fate. Apparently, Alexander will continue her time warp flip flopping between Kelley and Jack, Sadie, and Felix. One can only hope that certain answers about Jack and Sadie are answers quickly.

**I received this book for free from (Publisher) via (NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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