by Alison Goodman
Amazon / Goodreads
London, April 1812. Eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall 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?
In The Dark Days Club, internationally best-selling author Alison Goodman introduces readers to a heroine who is just as remarkable as Eona—and yet again reinvents an establlished literary genre, making it her own.
Review:The Dark Days Club has a fun premise and delivers on a romp of a romantic adventure, with darker overtones. While the story takes it's time to develop the characters and for the unique world of demons to be fleshed out, it was worth the slower pace to get to know these characters.
Lady Helen was a feisty character, typically unconventional enough to be open to embracing the darker world of battling demons, but she does struggle with changes to her world view, and I appreciated how realistically hesitant she was about embracing that. I felt the ultimate conflict of this story was in whether Helen could take on her role, and the conflict of some greater evil rising will be further explored in the later books. I may have had some moments when I felt like Helen was too naive or too indecisive, but it did feel right for the story that she was scared about the changes in her life.
The world-building was a highlight of this story for me. The demons had a unique spin to them, and it was intriguing to find out more about their limitations and the balance of power that exists between them and the Dark Days Club who are supposed to protect the innocent from them. Again, the realism to the fantasy was wonderful, and I think it set up what will be some fantastic plot twists in the next book(s).
There is a romance, and it is a nice slow-burn one - it doesn't take too much away from the action in the plot, and it presents Helen with some real options about what she wants from her life. I like that she is presented with a choice - one that is more normal than the other - and Helen has to wrestle with which one works better for her. I, of course, was partial to the darker, sarcastic Lord Carlton, and I really enjoyed his interactions with Helen which was very antagonistic in the beginning.
The Dark Days Club is sn enjoyable read, with a unique take on demons, a great protagonist, lots of potential in Helen, and the beginnings of an epic confrontation to come.