Review: The Secrets of Blood and Bone by Rebecca Alexander (Jackdaw Hammond #2)


The Secrets of Blood and Bone by Rebecca Alexander // VBCThe Secrets of Blood and Bone
(Jackdaw Hammond #2)
Rebecca Alexander
Published: Sept. 1, 2015 (Broadway Books)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Jannelle

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Note: While this review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books in the series.

After a near-death experience at the end of the first novel, The Secrets of Life and Death, Jackdaw Hammond (Jack for short) has been brought back to life, thanks to a few gulps of her friend Felix’s blood.

Jack is learning to accept the heightened awareness that came from drinking Felix’s blood, oblivious to life beforehand as she was living as a “borrowed timer,” someone living on borrowed time in a constant state of weakened energy and at the brink of death. The only reason she was still alive before ingesting the blood was because of magical and alchemical practices involving circles and potions that her foster mother, Maggie—a witch—had been assisting her with. Now Jack is helping her foster daughter Sadie become accustomed to life as a borrowed timer and Felix is traveling all over the world, searching for what the side effects to drinking blood are.

Running parallel to Felix and Jack’s story is that of Edward Kelley, world-renowned scientist and alchemist of the late 1500’s. Edward is also the man responsible for the alchemical (magical) texts followed around the world today. As Jack’s story progresses, so does Edwards, leading us to a whole new world of possibilities, full of vampires, werewolves, and of course, magick. Through his story we see just how pivotal the role of blood is in the magick and life of Jack and her family.

There are so many plot threads that you aren’t done with one before you’re wrapped up in another one. I loved how this helped the pace move along but sometimes it was too much. I needed to stop and recollect my thoughts on what I already knew happened and then fall back in to discover what may occur. It was brilliant and frustrating and above all, fascinating. You think you understand what is happening with Jack and then realize that you don’t. Don’t get me wrong; there were periods of time where I was incredibly frustrated because the mystery kept evolving and nothing was revealed. But that was also the beauty of The Secrets of Blood and Bone. I would even go so far as to say that it reminds me of the All Souls Trilogy in the complexity of the story. It isn’t until you get to the end of the novel that all of these varying plot points begin to come together.

The Secrets of Blood and Bone is part mystery-thriller, part urban fantasy with dashes of romance and historical fiction (emphasis on dash). I feel like this is a book that wants to be many things and is, in a way, all of them. If you haven’t read the first installment of the series, The Secrets of Life and Death (like I didn’t), I’m not sure I would recommend to read this one as a standalone. You definitely don’t need to have read the first installment as everything is spelled out ahead of time, but it helps in understanding the complex world-building of the series.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Secrets of Blood and Bone. The alternating points of view really helped push the story forward and made me feel like I was reading two separate novels at times. You can definitely expect me to pick up the next novel in the Jackdaw Hammond series (especially after that brutal cliffhanger at the end of this one). If you’re into dark urban fantasies or mysteries, this is a series you can’t miss out on.

Sexual content: kissing, references to rape, sexual violence, sex

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