“Her brother had not yet learned that, in the end, nothing ever stayed the same. Least of all people.”
I liked this one quite a bit! It did have a slower start; it wasn’t boring, but it did take its time to set up the story and establish the characters. It read pretty much like a classic YA Fantasy story, definitely good and I am looking forward to the next installment! It was a solid 3 stars for me, perfectly decent, but nothing spectacular.
I was definitely in the mood for a book like this, after reading some heavier, darker, and more involved novels. I was looking for some light, entertaining YA and that’s pretty much what I got here. I will say, though, that I was pleasantly surprised to see that the writing was refined, the characters were decent, and the story was actually a lot edgier and more realistic than I expected (well, as realistic as a Victorian, demon-hunting adventure story can be). Maybe it is because Helen is 18 here, right on the edge of YA and NA, but I liked that the book did not read too young for me to enjoy it. It’s not a guarantee or anything, but I tend to not like the younger or less mature side of YA.
So while I enjoyed this one a lot, I did think it started off pretty slow. The action really doesn’t get going until near the end of the novel. This isn’t terrible, as the book is very much focused on the growth and study of the characters, but it did seem to drag a little in certain parts. I thought the set up and explanation of the world was good, and necessary, but could have been split up some more with a few more action scenes. That being said, I do imagine the next two books in the trilogy will be more action-packed, now that the characters are up to speed with the world, and now that Helen is outside of her Aunt and Uncle’s house. That part was SO frustrating here! I understand that it was written to be, of course, but I feel like once Helen is away from the watchful eyes of her guardians, things can move a little quicker.
The setting of 1800’s England was very cool, and I really appreciated the care and research that Goodman put into it. It all read very authentic and well thought out. Then having a secret demon-hunting society in the midst of all of the promenades and balls, makes for a great backdrop. It reminds me quite a bit of the Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy by Libba Bray, which I loved when I was younger. They both have similar settings and gothic vibes. I think Goodman’s take on demons, and how the Dark Days Club was simultaneously working with them and trying to eradicate them, was very interesting, as well. Helen learning that there were Deceivers sprinkled throughout society, and being taught how to fight them and Reclaim human souls was awesome. Can’t wait to see more of that unfold!
I liked reading from Helen’s perspective. She is smart and authentic and interesting. Sometimes her thoughts get a little too heavy handed and her “oh no, stop thinking about him like that” moments are a bit annoying, but I feel like that is more the fault of the genre/intended audience. Overall, she is not a bad protagonist. The supporting characters are also nice. Carlston is a bit of a cliche and I am hoping he becomes more fleshed out in the second book, as a character and as a love interest. Don’t get me wrong, I am always a sucker for a dark, broody, possibly-homicidal love interest, but I want to see more from him, too. Helen’s friends are all very sweet and great to have around, especially in the scenes more focused on society and status. The Duke is actually really annoying. I know he is written to be “the good guy,” but he comes across as really controlling and possessive. Maybe that’s my “don’t pursue a girl who’s clearly not interested” mantra coming through, but I’d like to see how his character grows and changes for the better in the next installments.
Overall, this was a light, fun read and exactly what I was looking for at the time! I am very excited to continue the series and I have already checked out the sequel from my library, so I should be getting to it very soon.
I actually really like delving into some backlogged series that used to be more popular! What about you guys?
Title: The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)
Author: Alison Goodman
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy | Historical Fiction | Paranormal | Romance
Publication Date: January 26th, 2016
Page Count: 472
Buy It: Book Depository | Wordery