Review: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Review: The Dark Days Club by Alison GoodmanThe Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Series: Lady Helen #1
Published by Viking Juvenile on January 26, 2016
Genres: Historical, Paranormal
Pages: 496
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
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four-half-stars

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?

Because of how busy I’ve been at work, reading has been a struggle. At the end of the day, I’m so worn out that it’s all I can do to stare mindlessly at a TV show. The Dark Days Club sat on my hotel night stand for days untouched, because just the thickness of it was overwhelming (oo er) in my exhausted state. I finally got started on the airplane home. The Dark Days Club was so good that I didn’t even notice we sat on the tarmac for almost an hour before finally departing. BLESS Gaby (Bookish Broads) for sending it to me!

For some readers, The Dark Days Club might be a bit slow. It’s somewhere on the spectrum between Jane Austen and Gail Carriger, though closer to the Austen side. There is something deeply Austen-y about The Dark Days Club, even though most of the content is not something Austen would ever have written. Pride and Prejudice lovers will adore the subtle references (the letter! the dance!) and the headstrong heroine.

Lady Helen doesn’t want to get married yet. She’s young, decently attractive, and wealthy, so she shouldn’t have much trouble finding a husband despite the scandal surrounding her deceased mother. Helen, though, feels uncomfortable with the idea of marrying some man she’s barely met, and she certainly wouldn’t want to end up with a controlling asshat like her Uncle. Her useless brother refuses to help her, so she’s trying to mentally prepare herself for the season to come when life gets way more interesting and dangerous.

The Dark Days Club really surprised me with how gruesome and intense it was. I mean, with the Regency setting and high society, I had certain expectations (Austen again), which weren’t met. But I mean that in a good way. There’s a lot of inspiration drawn from Austen and some lovely homages, but Goodman has done something new and delightful, in a dark way. I was so not prepared for the non-graphic but still deeply affecting descriptions of sex and murder. Like, hello, you beautiful Christina book. Regency romance but with intense passions but also world building and Austen feels.

Paranormal romance can so easily go awry, at least for my particular tastes. It does seem to work best in historical novels. Partly, that’s due to the fact that instalove makes way more sense in the past, not that there’s instalove here, mind you. The romance is super duper shippy. There are a couple of scenes that, for all that they’re pretty mild, still manage to be incredibly hot. Lady Helen and William really need to get it on, okay.

The world building is strange, but it worked for me pretty well. I have some minor quibbles with it, but I do greatly appreciate that Goodman’s gone for a monster I’ve never heard of before. I wish Helen wasn’t the only super powerful lady, because that gets a little close to the whole chosen one thing, but her maid Darby’s pretty cool too. Also, and this will sound ridiculous out of context, but I totally did not understand the whip weapons at all.

Speaking of Darby, her inclusion is pretty bamf. She’s super religious, so I would have expected her to freak out and run screaming from Helen. Instead, she becomes such a great support for her. And I love that she has a burgeoning ship of her own. Side ships make books a better place.

The only real lack I’m feeling with The Dark Days Club is that aside from Helen, William, and Darby, the characters aren’t quite fully alive for me. They tend to be pretty one-note. It’s really frustrating when it comes to her brother, who she loves for no reason I can see. The girl hate she’s getting from Lady Margaret also irks me no end. And Helen’s very distant and forgetful about her best friend throughout the whole book. I mean, obviously I still love it, but I hope Goodman steps up some of the secondary characters in book two.

Book two needs to come to me ASAP. And by ASAP I mean it comes out in a year because the world cruel. Many dark days await until I can find out what happens to Lady Helen next and who the bad guy really is and when Helen and William will bone.

Favorite Quote:

“You know as well as I do that Mother was not mad.”

“Perhaps not, but she was selfish and wanton. I thought I would never say this, but I see her within you.”

“Then I am glad.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif hungry and horny buffy

6 responses to “Review: The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman”

  1. And the good reviews for this one just keep coming. Basically, at this point, I need this book like air. The slow pace doesn’t really bother me, especially if it delivers in terms of darkness, intensity, romance and even odd-world-building. Too bad for the secondary characters though, but that can always improve in sequels.
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #35My Profile

  2. Good to know! I have to admit thatthe thickness of this book has been deterring me a little. When I’m busy, I tend to want thinner books so I feel like I’m making headway even when I’m only reading 20 pages before passing out at night. I love P&P, so any book that reminds me of that book (especially one that isn’t yet another retelling) is a great thing. I’ll definitely make some time for this one. Great review!
    Natalie @Natflix&Books recently posted…Waiting on Wedesday (134) This is Our StoryMy Profile

  3. I loved Eona and I’ve been looking forward to read anything else by this author. Lady Helen sounds like the type of girl I will fall in love with 😀
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 250. Juliet Marillier – Dreamer’s pool.My Profile

  4. Oh! A Jane Austen-Gail Carriger spectrum?! Sold! This sounds great. I wish my library would hurry up and get this in stock, I’ve had it on hold for a month. (Longer books have been scaring me lately too. TV is so much more inviting for tired eyes haha.)

  5. combefunc says:

    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. Where such information?

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