The truth of the matter is – I’m completely trash for this series. I thought I enjoyed the first book but it’s nothing compared to what I feel towards its sequel, The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen, #2) by Alison Goodman.
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.
Alison Goodman’s writing is fantastic. The historical details in this series are absolutely amazing. Goodman completely immerses you in Regency England, giving you vivid descriptions of the building, styles, and even daily life. I loved how she painted London in the first novel and was even able to surpass it with her descriptions of Brighton in this sequel. I’ve actually spent time in Brighton so I really enjoyed all of the mentions of places that I had visited, such as the Royal Pavilion. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, but I don’t think I have ever read a book that truly embodied the time period as much as this series does.
Helen is just as stubborn and fearless as ever. She has firmly accepted the role she must play as a member of The Dark Days Club and understands all of the problems that it brings. It’s interesting to see how Helen struggles with the choices she must make as member that conflict with how she’s been raised as a society lady. I love being able to see her two sides clash and how that affects her decisions, and not for the better either. Carlston is even more dark and broody than normal, as he is quickly losing his sanity. His behavior is extremely erratic in this book and I really liked how it left me on the edge of my seat because you never know what could happen next when he is present. Even with his questionable behavior, I’m still soooo obsessed with him. I know some people prefer Selburn to Carlston, but after getting to know the Duke more in this book, there’s just no way that I could ever like him as a character. In fact, I think I firmly hate him. All he ever does is screw things up and complicate them even more, not to mention how he treats Helen as a child. I HATE HIM!!!
I think the plot was even more fast-paced in this book. Helen is finally given her own personal assignments that involve her going undercover as man and lead to many places unsuitable for an aristocratic lady, such as a brothel *gasp!*. Not only is she working with Carlston, but also is tasked with spying on him and making sure that his madness does not take over. There were quite a few places that left me tense with suspense and wondering if everything was going to fall apart (and yup, sometimes it does). I appreciated how more of the Deceiver/Reclaimer world is present in this novel. I felt like that added a deeper element and gave a more vivid picture of how high the stakes are.
I think the only complaint you could make for this book is that the romantic elements are much more prevalent in the overall plotline than in the previous book. I actually really enjoyed that factor because I’m trash for romance, but I can see where some readers might not appreciate that as much. However, I do like how the romance actually affects the plot, complicating things ever more. This was really noticeable in the climax and left me going “WHAT?!” at the ending. Gotta love a good plot twist cliffhanger!
Do I recommend this book? Um, hell freaking yes I do! Seriously, this series has everything – paranormal demon fighters, fantastic historical setting, incredibly researched details, complex characters, and a doomed romance. I’m trash for it, y’all. Absolute trash.
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
Have you read The Dark Days Pact? How do you think it compared to the first book? Do you enjoy doomed romances? Were you as surprised by the ending as I was?