Series: Lady Helen #2
Written by: Alison Goodman
Published: January 31, 2017 by Razorbill (Penguin)
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen to spend the summer season in Brighton so that he can train her new Reclaimer powers. However, the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work have taken hold, and his sanity is beginning to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are even higher for Helen as she struggles to become the warrior that everyone expects her to be.
For one thing I love the way this book handles the historical elements. So many fantasies and historical mysteries these days take place in Victorian England. And now I am totally a fan of this setting so I love reading those kinds of books, but sometimes they don't handle it in the way that I hope. In The Dark Days Pact it was handled perfectly. The author clearly did her research into what life was like in the Victorian era and she does a great job of incorporating things that might otherwise seem mundane into the story. I loved the historical aspects of the first book in the series and I loved it again in this book.
But the best thing about the historical fiction of this book is the themes it addresses about women and their place in society. So much of the plot and historical aspects of this book involve around Lady Helen and the unique position she is in as a female Reclaimer. I mean they even make learn how to dress and act like a man so she can get around and fight more easily. I mean they're not even trying to veil that symbolism. But I honestly loved it. I am such a sucker for feminist themes and I love the way it was perfectly handled to bring attention to the historical perspective in a way that felt relevant and interesting.
But the thing that really impressed me about this book was the plot development. For one thing, this was an incredibly thrilling read, especially as it built to the climax. And I will say, the pacing was a bit slow and it took awhile to get going, when it did it was amazing. This is a book and a series that is full of exciting action scenes and tons of mystery that kept me on my toes from beginning to end. You guys probably know that I'm a huge plot-driven reader and I need an exciting plot and I definitely found one here. And honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by that because in the first book I felt like the thrills and fantasy elements were lacking. Here they existed in force and I loved that. It's definitely an exciting plot.
I also really enjoy the characters in this book. How can I not love Lady Helen as she literally fights for humanity in a society that sees her as a lesser class citizen. She's tough, smarty, and sassy. I love the way she developed throughout this book becoming a hero and still fighting convention. Alison Goodman plays with the "Chosen One" trope a lot with Lady Helen and as always I enjoyed that a ton. But this is also a book that is full of complex and engaging secondary characters. So many of them are either completely villainous or potentially villainous and you know how I feel about a dark and dubious character. There were some great dubious old characters back again like the Duke of Selburn who I am super suspicious of, and some really great new characters like Pike and the Comte who are complex in a dark and odious way. But seriously every character in this book was incredibly engaging.
Then again, everything about this book was engaging. I seriously couldn't stop reading it. The audiobook was amazing and it was a sequel that I might say is better than the original. I love the direction this series is going and I can't wait to see where it goes in the next book. It's a thrilling read with a great historical fiction world and an exciting fantasy world.
I give The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman 9 out of 10 stars
Have you read The Dark Days Pact? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!