YA Book Reviews

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

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?

The first book in the Lady Helen series was actually quite enjoyable. Hailed as “Pride and Prejudice meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” The Dark Days Club is a unique and twisted dark fantasy set in one of the most fascinating (and steamy) eras of history.

This book met my goals for a fantasy romance and exceeded them: no love triangle, strong female friendships, and choice. Sometimes love triangles make for a thrilling plotline, but in recent young adult lit, it’s been way overused and depended on. To be honest, there isn’t a lot of romance present in the first place, but what’s there is nice and expertly crafted. Lady Helen’s relationship with her maid, Darby, is just as excellent – they have a strong and healthy bond that made my heart happy with every interaction. On top of that, the major reason they were fantastic was because of Helen’s choice. Does she want to join the Reclaimers, or live a comfortable, demon-free life with her aunt and uncle? Darby explicitly tells Helen that she will always be there, no matter what Helen chooses. Cue the single tear of friend love.

Personally, my biggest complaint for the book and why it is a shorter review than usual is because it’s not very memorable. I really can’t think of much to say about it beyond that it was a bit lengthy, and I enjoyed it as a light read. This isn’t to say the book doesn’t get serious and jaw-dropping at times; just that, a month after reading the book, nothing really sticks out for me. Maybe if I reviewed it immediately after I finished, I would have had more to say, but alas.

If you are a fan of Regency-era books, I would definitely recommend starting the Lady Helen series. Don’t let my poor memory stop you from enjoying this light yet fulfilling series beginner. There aren’t a lot of Regency YA books at the forefront of the genre right now, though I have heard great things about Love, Lies, and Spies and Newt’s Emerald for those of you who are interested. I am personally a much bigger fan of Victorian-era YA lit, so if you prefer that time period, keep a weather eye out for future reviews of some of my personal favorites such as A Great and Terrible Beauty and Leviathan, and check out my previous reviews of Clockwork Angel and Prudence. Happy blogging!

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