New York Times bestseller Alison Goodman’s eagerly awaited new project: a Regency adventure starring a stylish and intrepid demon-hunter!
London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London.
There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society.
Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes?
And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published January 26th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Three and a half stars: A well researched regency historical with an interesting paranormal element, but the pacing drags.
Lady Helen Wrexhall is anxiously planning her presentation to the Queen. It should be an exciting time in a young girl's life, but Helen has the shadow of her disgraced mother hanging over her head. Still, Helen hopes to make a good impression. Unfortunately, before her presentation, Helen learns one of the household maids has gone missing. Helen vows that she will do everything she can to bring her home. Little does she know, Helen's search will take her into the dark depths of London, where an unexpected ally will show her there are more things to fear out there than Helen thought possible. Once Helen learns the truth, she must make a hard choice. Does she chose the simple life or does she take on the monsters?
What I Liked:
- The Dark Days Club is a book that will appeal to regency fans as well as Urban Fantasy lovers. If you want a book steeped in all things regency with an interesting paranormal twist, this is one to take on.
- Lady Helen Wrexhall is a likable heroine. At eighteen, she is debuting for the Season. That means an endless amount of balls and parties where Helen will hopefully snare a suitable husband. I liked that Helen was intelligent, and that she was not focused on frivolity and romance. She is down to earth, practical and she loves to read and educate herself on the sly. When Helen learns about her unique abilities, and when she is confronted by the demons masquerading amongst the humans, she takes it all in stride. I loved that both Helen and her maid, Darby, are not silly, empty headed young girls. They are smart and sophisticated and fun to follow.
- The book starts out rather ordinary with talk of balls and catching husbands and all that, but then there are some interesting paranormal events. Once the paranormal portion comes into play, the story takes off. I enjoyed exploring the paranormal element in this one and learning about the roles of the Reclaimers and the Demons.
- I appreciated that this was a well researched regency book. The author does a good job of portraying the good, bad and the ugly during the era. Yes, there are plenty of lovely descriptions of balls, and gowns and all that you love in the era, but then the ugly sides are exposed too, such as the challenges women in this time faced. Furthermore, there is also the filth and squalor in the dark parts of the town that so many people forget. I liked that this one focused on the good and the ills of the society during this time frame.
- Lord Carlston is a conundrum. When he is first introduced, he is a man who has been shunned by society, but then his layers are peeled back and the reader learns his dark secrets. I liked that I was constantly guessing about him, and even though the author tried to deter me a few times, I liked him all the way through. There is something appealing about a man who turns his nose up at societal expectations.
- The ending is fast, furious and full of danger and excitement. It is a whirlwind for sure. When the dust settles, it concludes in a good spot without a cliffhanger, but there are so many questions that need to be answered.
And The Not So Much:
- My biggest issue with this book was the slow pace. The first third of the book dragged for me as it was mostly about Helen attending balls and being a proper lady. Once she is immersed into the world of the Dark Days Club, things become interesting. The book comes in at just under five hundred pages, and I found that it got to be long and tedious during certain portions. I wanted more demon hunting and danger.
- The cast of characters is frustrating. Most of them are rather unlikable aside from Helen and her maid. I personally liked Carlston, but not everyone will. I especially didn't like Helen's Uncle and Lady Margaret.
- I was irritated by the lack of answers. I wanted a better understanding of what exactly happened to Helen's mother. Why was she branded a traitor? Was her death an accident or was she killed? Furthermore, what was the deal with Carlston's wife, Elise? What happened to her? By the end of the book, I had a whole bunch of questions and found few answers. It is tiresome to have to wait for the next book.
- The ending was chaotic and extremely fast paced especially in comparison to the rest of the book. So much happens in those final pages, it makes your head spin. I wish that there was more focus on the big events at the end.
- For all you romance lovers, you will be disappointed that there really isn't a romance. There is almost a love triangle but not really. Helen starts feeling attracted to the man who is helping her, but she doesn't fully trust him. Then Helen all of a sudden has a suitor who wants her hand in marriage. Helen doesn't really know the man who wants to marry her, and there are no romantic sparks. By the time the book ends, there is still no romantic development. There are hints of a romance to come, but nothing yet.
The Dark Days Club was an interesting read, and I appreciated that there was a great deal of research done to make it accurate, and that it had a unique paranormal twist. However, I was frustrated by the slow pace, at times the book is down right tedious. I was wanting more action and danger. The ending is fast and chaotic, and even though it doesn't end with a cliffhanger, there are many unresolved issues and lots of questions. I only hope that there isn't a long wait for next book. I would recommend this for fans of the regency era who want a bit of paranormal.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.