For me, The Secrets of Life and Death was one of the most original Fantasy and Mystery mash up I've read the last few years. Which might just go on to prove I don't really know anything about Fantasy or Folklore in general, as I had no clue who Elizabeth Báthory was, but she even has her own Wikipedia-page (in Dutch as well as in English).
This said, I really liked the beginning. I had no idea where the story was going (but in a good way). Everything involving the circles and the many rules that are linked to 'borrowing' time, suggest that behind the story there is a complicated set of rules for the magic, which is something I always appreciate. Unfortunately, since this is Urban Fantasy, we didn't get to see as much of it as I would have liked. Half of the chapters are however set in the seventeenth century and breathe a more traditional Fantasy air.
I was a bit confused though with the main character's name being Jack (as she was female) but I got used to it. What annoyed me more was the romance. It felt, once again, forced and didn't add anything to the story. Sure, Felix is a nice enough guy, but instalove isn't going to solve the problem as to why he is so determined to help them. (Even though it's obviously not save).
The end was less original unfortunately, which I thought was a pity since I enjoyed the first part so much. It was however still a very nice read and I will definitely check Rebecca Alexander's next book.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.