A little late in the day for it, but time for my very last #FridayReads review of 2016! I have no idea how I missed reviewing Alison Goodman’s THE DARK DAYS CLUB. This book was easily one of my favorites of the year combining a delightful Regency setting with a dark and twisty paranormal lore that I enjoyed the hell out of.
So what to say about this one? First up, I really enjoyed the female friendships in this story. As I think I’ve mentioned in the past, I feel like that aspect is often missing from YA fantasy & science fiction. We get a ton of the “girls who aren’t like other girls” and who prove it by either interacting with next to no other ladies in the course of the story, or who are at odds and/or look down on the few they do meet with. Not so in this one! Lady Helen, despite having concerns that are decidedly not like those the rest of the Ton have to deal with, doesn’t isolate herself from other women. From the sadly “ruined” friend she takes care to worry and look out for to her high society companions to her maid, Darby, Helen respects and admires most of the women around here, even if she is occasionally exasperated by them or, in the case of her aunt, feels stifled by them. Even in the latter cases, we never get the impression that Helen feels the women to be “lesser” to the men around her simply for being women, and that is SO, SO refreshing to read in YA, especially in a period novel.
The magical rules of the world were definitely something I hadn’t seen before either. The secret society operating loosely under the British government is something I’ve seen before, but never quite with the angle this one takes on and certainly not quite as immersed in the gorgeous Regency details like this one is. The closest I think I’ve come to this feel in a book is SORCERY AND CECELIA (which by the way I DEFINITELY recommend), but that has a much more humorous outlook than DARK DAYS CLUB.
I will say bits of the romance and slight love triangle were hard for me, though this is one of those books where I honestly don’t know how to explain quite why? Really Lady Helen was the star for me, and I would have been perfectly happy for her to tell both of her would-be (or trying to assure he wouldn’t be in the case of one) suitors to leave her be while she saved the world LOL. I’ve noticed I’m a little harder on romantic subplots in my larger SFF stories lately. Not sure what the shift is, but oh well. LOL
In any case, this book really was fantastic, and as is always a good sign, I’ve already preordered the next book!
Have any of you joined Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club? Have another book you’d think I’d enjoy after reading this one? Let me know in the comments or over at twitter!