Review: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Series: Lady Helen #1

the dark days club -alison goodmanNew York Times bestseller Alison Goodman’s eagerly awaited new project: a Regency adventure starring a stylish and intrepid demon-hunter!

London, April 1812. Eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall is on the eve of her debut presentation at the royal court of George III. Her life should revolve around gowns, dancing and securing a suitable marriage. Instead, when one of her family’s maids disappears, she is drawn into the shadows of Regency London.

There she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few chosen to stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons that has infiltrated all levels of society. Carlston is not a man she should be anywhere near, especially with the taint of scandal that surrounds him. Yet he offers her help – and the possibility of finally discovering the truth about the mysterious deaths of her parents.

Soon the two of them are investigating a terrifying conspiracy that threatens to plunge the newly Enlightened world back into darkness. But can Helen trust a man whose own life is built on lies? And does she have the strength to face the dangers of this hidden world and learn the truth about her family’s legacy?

Set in the glittering social world of the Regency upper crust, The Dark Days Club is a supernatural adventure that introduces New York Times bestselling author Alison Goodman’s Lady Helen Wrexhall – another heroine whom like Eona, readers can take to their hearts.

4 Drink Me Potions

The Dark Days Club reminds me of all the reasons why I adore historical fantasies. With the delicious and dark setting of the Regency era in London, we follow the perfect heroine in her journey into the paranormal world living right beside her.

Lady Helen wasn’t immediately what you would expect of a heroine in a high fantasy novel. She wasn’t necessarily abhorrent to the life of a lady in 1812. Countless parties, mindless gossip among the peerage and entrance into the society as a woman, she was groomed for this. Not some evil-fighting secret club. So it’s no wonder that she wasn’t exactly all gung ho for the craziness that tends to follow hunting inhuman creatures known as Deceivers.

There wasn’t as much action as I would have expected for the length of the book, but where it lacked in exciting fights, the extreme detail of the time period was amazing and not as tedious as one may think. The descriptions into Lady Helen’s world really immersed you into this time period of London. I will admit, I’ve always loved a good book in historical London. Normally it’s Victorian London, but Regency London was absolutely perfect for the setting of the novel. Civil unrest was coming what with the illness of the King and the antics of the French with Napolean Bonaparte. This was perfect for an evilness creeping into the world that the Dark Days Club was hoping to avoid.

There is a whole lot of background setting for the series in this first novel. It gave a chance to understand the numerous characters that were introduced. Helen was very easy to like. Hung under the black cloud that was her mother’s traitorous reputation and her uncle’s very male-dominant views, it wasn’t easy to be a less-than-submissive woman. I loved her strong belief in her mother, and later, her hard decisions when it came to figuring out what she was. Her want and loyalty to treat others kindly, including those who were under her on the societal ladder like her maids, made me admire her more. She was a nice balance of learning independence without being overbearingly arrogant of herself but still being a team player requiring support from others at times.

As for the romance part of this story, unfortunately there wasn’t a whole lot of it. Lord Carlston was, however, the perfect potential partner for her. He himself had a scandalous reputation to the rest of society, that wasn’t fully explained yet in The Dark Days Club. One can hope it’ll be fleshed out in the next one ’cause I’m very anxious to know the answer. He was a great mentor to Lady Helen, but the delicious undertones of other possibilities to their relationship made me very hopeful that there’d be TONS more to the two of them next time. (Here’s to hoping, at least. Please, Ms. Goodman?) In a way, I’m kind of glad romance wasn’t a huge part in this book. It may have taken away from the glorious introduction of the world of Deceivers and the people born to fight against them.

A historical fantasy novel may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but hold that yawn for a second and give this a try. Goodman’s thorough research into the era and depictions of certain real life figures in that time period enhanced the setting while still making it her own unique creation. Lady Helen’s adventures will suck you in as she dives into a dark world of monsters living among men. There may have been the odd moment of slower pacing, but overall, The Dark Days Club is everything and more that it promised to be. Intrigue, a bit of murder mystery and hints of romance, this novel is purely a delightful read.

Overall Recommendation:
The Dark Days Club features a protagonist learning to be courageous in a world of evil that has just opened up to her. With both familiar historical figures and well-thought out characters, Goodman presents a beautifully realistic setting in Regency London. Well-paced and immersive, we follow Lady Helen’s adventurous introduction into inhuman creatures known as Deceivers, all the while mentored by the mysterious and handsome Lord Carlston who may also hold more than just friendly feelings. Although explicit romance was kept to a minimal, the dark intrigue and descriptive feel of the novel provides more than enough excitement to last the length of the novel. Here’s to hoping for more of Lady Helen’s adventures (and a bit more romance with Lord Carlston) in the coming sequel! A definite recommendation.

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