It’s been called “Jane Austen meets Cassandra Clare”, and while that is pretty accurate, we here at MP! are firm believers in books being judged by their own merits and not wholly on their likeness to another author. Which is fortunate for Alison Goodman because ‘The Dark Days Club’ is rather wonderful all on its own.
Take a step back in time with Alison Goodman, to a darker London than your history books recall. Exceedingly well researched and saturated with historical accuracy, this is one book that will not disappoint historical YA fans. Lady Helen knows her place as a young lady in 19th century England, but her responsibilities as a demon-slayer begin to infringe on the propriety and sophistication with which she is supposed to act. This balance between being a proper young lady and also a soldier against the supernatural is truly fascinating, and gives real insight into the issues of the time.
It’s easy to write a novel in which a young woman becomes a bad-ass demon-hunter, blowing men away like dust and casting off all of the rules of the time, but it is another entirely to reveal the truth of a time, which Goodman does perfectly.
Lady Helen does indeed embody many of feminism’s ideals, being brave, clever and opinionated, but within the frame of her culture, making her both admirable and realistic. Aside from this, our leading lady is entirely likeable, her most defining traits being her curiosity and deep care for others, such as her maid, Darby. This is the kind of girl we want to be protecting the citizens of London from danger.
Speaking of danger, ‘The Dark Days Club’ differentiates itself from Cassie further with its distinct demonology. Throughout this entire novel, we didn’t run into any vampires or werewolves or creatures with black eyes, but we did come face to face with a few Deceivers. Ever present in everyday society, but hidden behind human faces, Goodman’s new brand of demon is interesting and new – definitely something we want to learn more about in Book 2. We won’t go into too much detail, but Goodman really brings some fresh ideas to these Hellish forces which proves great fun to learn about.
Another aspect of this series we are not done learning about is indeed Lord Carlston. Shady, dangerous, and utterly gorgeous, all we know of him in the beginning is that he left society after it was widely believed he murdered his wife, and by the end…well, we’ll just say there needs to be a sequel – fast.
Fans of Will Herondale, Mr Darcy and other sour, sarcastic and infuriatingly attractive characters will be immediately drawn to Goodman’s romantic anti-hero.
Our top tip for reading ‘The Dark Days Club’? Be patient. This is an historical-fantasy hybrid of a book, and Goodman’s language does indeed mirror Austen’s. There can be dense passages describing Helen’s thoughts or the scene in which she finds herself, and the pacing may be a little slower (at least in the beginning) than other YA novels, but we urge you to give this book time if you’re not familiar with this older style of writing. Once you are immersed in the language and the pacing, you will fully appreciate the beautiful, detailed descriptions and charming formal wording. And when the action kicks in? You’ll know all about it.
Perfect for long nights with tea (even more perfect for long nights by candlelight) if you’re looking for a highly entertaining, well-written historical accurate story about magic and murder, then Alison Goodman is at the top of our list of recommendations.
Fancy a read? You can grab your copy of ‘The Dark Days Club’ now!
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