Title: The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)
Author: Alison Goodman
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Young adult/teen fiction, Historical, Fantasy – supernatural
Book format: Paperback
Description: London, April 1812.
Lady Helen Wrexhall is set to step into Regency Society and find a husband. But this step will take her from glittering ballrooms and the bright lights of Vauxhall Gardens into a shadowy world of demonic creatures and deadly power.
Drawing her into the underworld is Lord Carlston, a man of dubious reputation and infuriating manners. He believes Helen has a destiny beyond the ballroom; a sacred duty to protect humanity. Not the usual aspirations of a young lady in her first London Season.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: Wow, what can I say except that this novel has really taken me on an historical journey, and I’ve loved every minute of it! ‘The Dark Days Club’ is the first in the Lady Helen trilogy and is set during the Regency period in Britian, London 1812 to be precise. Lady Helen Wrexhall has been brought up by her Uncle and Aunt after her parents’ death, and is ready for the Season, a time of balls and many other events, where she will hope to meet the right man and eventually marry. But when a distant cousin Lord Carlston enters her life, she discovers that she is destined to be more than a just a Lady and wife, her destiny is to be dealing with some dark, demonic creatures.
I have really enjoyed reading this story. It starts off following Helen as she’s preparing to meet the Queen in a few days for her Presentation. The story begins slowly and the pace of the whole novel isn’t too fast. The writing is different to many young adult novels I read, it’s slower and more descrptive, but this wasn’t a problem as scenes came alive as I read them. The writing somehow created such a vivid picture in my mind that I really felt I was a part of the story, living and feeling what was happening in Lady Helen’s world.
Although this is a historical fiction to begin with, with the tension building up slowly, we eventually learn about the supernatural world that Lady Helen is destined to be a part of. The creatures that are described aren’t scary in their description but it’s what they do and how it is kept hidden from humanity that gives this aspect of the story a certain creepy quality. I like the fact that Lady Helen isn’t just all happy to be welcomed into this new world and she has a hard time adjusting to its many horrors.
I don’t want to go into detail about the plot, it’s better if you read it, but it is just brilliant. You learn more and more about Helen’s abilities as the story progresses, as well as the true horrors of the creatures she is destined to fight and the realities of what happens if she does. The vivid way in which the scenes are described really give some of the grimmer parts a horrible feel. You really do sense what the characters are feeling, and Regency London, particularly the worse parts, feels like a horrible place to be, especially with the smells vividly described. I like the way the descriptions also did a good job of showing what was happening during some fighting. Sometimes descriptions of fast moving scenes like this get confused but this author has done an excellent job of explaining everything fully, without taking up lages of text. I felt every moment of the scene and could picture the whole thing in my mind.
The story has some twists as you discover things about certain characters, I like the fact I couldn’t predict any of these before reading them. The ending is good and satisfying, and I like the way it played out right to the last minute. It felt like a good ending and I’m excited to see what happens in the next book.
The book is advised to be for ages 14 and over and I would say that I don’t think very young teens (or pre-teens) would enjoy this book so much unless they are prepared for a few dark scenes. There is not really any horrible violence although characters do fight the supernatural creatures. There isn’t any actual sex in the book but there are a few sexual references including very brief but graphic descriptions of sex and there is some detailed description of death which I would say might not be appropriate for the youngest of teens. It’s only briefly in the book here nad there but worth mentioning in case anyone is sensitive. However for anyone more mature, this book is vey good and there is no swearing in it apart from charaters saying “Lord!”
This book has really drawn me in and kept me mesmerised and glued to its pages for the last few days. I’ve been so engrossed in reading this that I’ve had to have family physically take the book out of my hands to do things like eat dinner, as I’d spend the whole day not doing anything but reading! I really can’t recommend it enough if you enjoy Regency historical fiction and don’t mind a supernatural twist on the story (it is as the author puts it – think Pride and Prejudice mixed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer – though I’d say less cheesy than that sounds). If you enjoy supernatural fantasy and historical fiction mixed in I’d urge everyone to try reading this book. I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book in the trilogy.
An added note about the paperback is that it’s a gorgeous embossed cover with lovely gold lettering and border!
Have you read the Lady Helen trilogy? Do you like historical fiction books, or fantasy? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂