The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman, published January 2016 by Walker Books.
Read: March 2016
Genre: Young Adult/Historical/Paranormal
Get It Now: Wordery
Goodreads Synopsis: London, April 1812. 18 year old Lady Helen is on the eve of her debut presentation to the Queen. Her life should be about gowns and dancing, and securing a suitable marriage. Instead, when one of her family’s housemaids goes missing, Lady Helen is drawn to the shadows of Regency London. There, she finds William, the Earl of Carlston. He has noticed the disappearance, too, and is one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of powerful demons that has infiltrated every level of society. But Lady Helen’s curiosity is the last thing Carlston wants—especially when he sees the searching intelligence behind her fluttering fan. Should Helen trust a man whose reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her headstrong sense of justice lead them both into a death trap?
Let’s get it all out in the open from the start! I very nearly DNF’d this read on a couple of different occasions. I’m not going to lie, it’s quite a long read, for the first quarter (maybe even the first third) it’s quite slow, and as it is a historical/regency era book, there were times when it read a little like a Jane Austin novel (which is excellent if you’re a fan of that style of writing, personally I usually struggle with it). So, why am I giving this book 4/5* if all you’ve heard so far are the issues I had with it?
Because once you get used to the writing style, once you get past the first third of the book, and once the action starts happening, this book seriously picks up pace, smacks you in the face with a gripping story-line, and reads like a cross between Pride and Prejudice and Shadowhunters, which I think is a really interesting concept. While I initially struggled with the writing style, it actually grew on me, and by the end I could really appreciate the care Goodman has clearly taken to make the novel have an authentic Regency voice. Yes, this book is a slower read, because there’s quite a bit of world building to do, both from a historical and paranormal point of view, but now that the foundations are set I’m absolutely itching to get my hands on the next instalment!
As a modern day woman, I do have a problem with how our main character, Helen, is sometimes treated, and the restrictions placed on her life. However, within the setting it is historically accurate, so I just have to suck it up. It does makes for an interesting (though sometimes frustrating) conundrum – how she can kick-ass when she has a curfew, and needs to be chaperoned practically everywhere she goes? I can see how this can sometimes limit where Goodman can take the story, but due to a few plot points, I’m hoping the action drives up a notch in book 2.
Lady Helen is obviously in the market for a fella (a.k.a man, husband, other half), so there are a couple of potential relationships hinted at throughout the novel, one of which is very slow burning and pretty intense/hot considering there’s minimal sexual activity/detail. Not to fear for those who are a little tired of romances and love triangles, the romance side of the story really does take a back seat in this series (so far), but I’ve a feeling it will become more prominent in future books.
If you are thinking about reading this book, or you’ve picked it up and tried a few chapters and haven’t gotten into it, you are going to want to hang in there. This is definitely a DNF you will regret.
“Only a fool would blindly believe everything she was told.”
“Girls were meant to paint screens, sob out ballads, and play the pianoforte, not see through the masks of polite society.”
Have you read The Dark Days Club, or have I convinced you to pick it up? Let me know in the comments!