SOURCE: Bought (Gift Money)
TITLE: The Dark Days Pact
AUTHOR: Alison Goodman
SERIES: Lady Helen (#2)
PUBLISHER: Walker Books
GENRE: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
RATING: 3.5/5 Stars
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 and her maid, Darby, to spend the summer season in Bristol, where Helen can sharpen her Reclaimer powers. Then the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work take hold, and his sanity begins 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 ever higher for Helen, and her decision will truly change the world…
What I Liked:
- The world-building in this book is just as impressive as book one. Goodman is so meticulous in her detail, and I loved learning so much about the historical context of the early 1800s as well as the expansion on the rules of the Deceivers that Lady Helen is fighting. Merging the fantastical 'saving the world from demonic beasts' and very real 19th century British society and culture was awesome!
- The characters were very memorable and well-developed. It has been a while since reading book one of the series, but I loved seeing Mr Hammond and Darby again, as well as meeting new characters like Sprat! Helen and Carlston grew a lot during this book and I liked watching their sizzling romance develop, though I'm sad that there wasn't more of them together in this book.
- Goodman writes very well and executed this plot perfectly. Helen really came into her own as a strong, clever character and it felt like an important part of the overriding story instead of filler material. I'm very keen to find out what happens next!
What I Disliked:
- I didn't like this as much as I liked book one. As much as I felt Goodman did a great job with this sequel, the huge amount of time it took me to read this meant that I found it a little too easy to put down for days on end. That's partly down to the slump of course, but also this book's pacing was very slow.
- That cliffhanger was horrible! While the pacing picked up towards the end, I didn't enjoy the conclusion because I (rightly) guessed that it was going to be one of those 'everything has gone wrong' endings that I hate so much. The ones that leave pretty much no hope and make you have to pick up the next book to make sure everything ends okay. I find them too disheartening and not in the least bit satisfying.
I really felt that Goodman continued so much good work here. The concept behind this series is fantastic and I enjoy seeing the vast amounts of research that have gone into it. I also loved seeing more character revelations (Hammond's life is really expanded upon here, as well as his relationship with his sister Margaret) and expansion. I just really wish that the pace was a little quicker so that I could have remained transfixed more easily, and that I had at least been able to come out of the end not feeling like absolutely everything had gone wrong. Still, I will be reading book three.