Title: The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2)
Author: Alison Goodman
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Teen/ young adult fiction, Historical fiction, Fantasy
Book format: Paperback
Description: Brighton, July 1812
Lady Helen Wrexhall has taken refuge in Brighton following the scandalous events at her presentation ball. Now she must complete her Reclaimer training, ready to battle the Grand Deceiver believed to have arrived in England.
Her mentor, Lord Carlston, is facing his own inner battle, and as he fights the violent darkness within his soul, Lady Helen’s loyalty is tested. Entrusted with a secret mission by the Home Office, she must make the agonising choice between betraying those around her or breaking her oath to the Dark Days Club.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: Oh wow, wow, wow! I loved reading this book so much and it was just as enjoyable as the previous book in the series ‘The Dark Days Club’. This time the story takes place in Brighton where Helen is going through her training to become a proper Reclaimer and hopefully bond with her Terrene, but when a representative from the Home Office comes to swear her offically into the Dark Days Club, Helen life bcomes much more complicated and she may have to make some difficult choices.
Just like in the first book this one is filled with a lot of detail and just sucks you in right away. It’s best to read the first book in the series to properly understand everything that’s happening although there is some explanation of what happened in the last book in case anyone has forgotten. Set in in the Regency period, which just makes you think of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, the story follows Helen as she’s dealing with her new powers as a Reclaimer and learning just how to deal with Deceivers (demons). The story is a sort of Regency period version of Buffy (the author’s own description compared the series to a Buffy/Pride and Prejudice) and I can’t help but enjoy this story as it’s so unique and yet so compelling to read! I like the way the author puts such detail into the descriptions and it reads very differently from most YA books I’ve read. The book (and in fact the whole series) is definitely a more detailed and complex read with a lot of words being by both the characters and sometimes the narrator which you may not know or understand entirely. I did find myself looking up the odd word or two, but this didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the tale and I felt as if it had transported me into the Regency period.
There’s something about the descriptions that is very vivid too. They really make me feel like I can see, smell, hear, taste and touch everything and it just made the whole story feel so amazing and compelling to read. The story is definitely darker than the first book and I feel it’s probably a little more gruesome too. In the first novel a lot of it was concerning Lady Helen and the etiquette of Regency society. It focused a lot on her learning about the dark world of the Deceivers and although it had a lot about the Deceivers, it didn’t focus on the dark stuff nearly as much as this one does. But this book is darker with Helen deeply involved in the Deceiver world and a lot of it takes place in the less savoury places in Brighton at the time.
I don’t want to give away what happens, especially as this is book two of the series but I never could stop reading this and it felt just as compelling as the first. I liked the new and more detailed story involving Mr Hammond and the way that Helen has moved on as a character to be less shy and more confident in her own self. But I also liked the accurate portrayal of the attitudes towards women and other minorities at the time, it just made this book feel all the more interesting and historically accurate.
The story just has one use of the s swear word which made sense given the context and situation it was used in. There isn’t anything too offensive in the book, although there are some very vivid and slightly more guesome descriptions of some things including a death (with a description of the sight and smell of what happens) which could upset some younger teens or those who are more sensitive to such things. Considering it is an historical fiction story there are a few instances of attitudes towards some characters that these days might be viewed as offensive although this didn’t upset me as I understood the historical setting and it made the story just feel more real.
The back of the book has some author’s notes which were really interesting to read and show you just how historically accurate the author has been when writing this. I like the fact a lot of it was accurate and even the added notes of the ‘cant’ language that was spoken at the time were very funny.
The story ends in a good way but leaves you a bit mid-tale as well. although a major part of the main plot is resolved it leaves you desperate to read the final part to see what will happen to the characters! The ending as well as the story as a whole made me feel a bit emotional too, especially at the growing love story and dilemma that Helen is left with at the end. I can’t wait to read the last book in the series, and can definitely recommend this book for anyone who is into both historical fiction and fantasy. But if you want to read it begin with the first book as you’ll know all the characters and really get into this so much more!
Read review of book 1 – The Dark Days Club by clicking here.
Do you enjoy historical fiction? What about when history is mixed with some fantasy? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂