Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Summer, 1812. After the scandalous events at her presentation ball in London, Lady Helen has taken refuge at the fashionable seaside resort of Brighton, banished from her family and training as a Reclaimer with the covert Dark Days Club. She must learn to fight the dangerous energy-wielding Deceivers and prepare to face their master, the elusive Grand Deceiver.As she struggles to put aside her genteel upbringing, Helen realizes that her mentor, Lord Carlston, is fighting his own inner battle. Has the foul Deceiver energy poisoned his soul, or is something else driving him towards violent bouts of madness? Either way, Helen is desperate to help the man with whom she shares a deep but forbidden connection.When Mr. Pike, the hard bureaucratic heart of the Dark Days Club, arrives in Brighton, he has a secret mission for Helen: find the journal left by a mad rogue Reclaimer, before it falls into the hands of the Deceivers. Coerced by Pike, Helen has no choice but to do as ordered, knowing that the search for the journal may bring about Lord Carlston’s annihilation.
The Dark Days Pact is the second installment in author Alison Goodman's Lady Helen series. The series is set during England's Regency era, more to the point, July 1812. This was the time when England was facing wars against the American Colonies, and with Napoleon. It has been 47 days since Lady Helen Wrexhall's world changed. That is when she found out that she was a Reclaimer, just like her mother, and it is her job and a select others, to protect England from Deceivers, and more important, defeat the Great Deceiver who is said to rise along with the Great Reclaimer.
This group of people is called The Dark Days Club.
Goodman wastes absolutely no time in jumping right back into Helen's life, and her struggles with being the only living female Reclaimer. Because she is female, she is expected to dress like a man, and do what her "betters" tell her to do, most notably the arrogant Ignatious Pike. Pike tears a wide swath of destruction in this story and upsets the balance between Helen and her new allies. His main target though is Lord Carlston, her mentor, and the man she has suddenly became connected to after an encounter in the previous novel. Carlston himself is having major issues that seem to be spiraling out of control, and if Helen does find a way to save him, Pike may put him down.
Helen takes her oath to join the Dark Days Club even though her training is still in infant stages. She's also given an important job of searching for an incredibly important journal that was written by the former Reclaimer named Benchley who readers met in the first installment. Helen must do this without telling her mentor, or anyone else except Hammond. Helen knows now that if she messes up, or refuses Pike's orders, she can be charged with treason. Helen's own powers are slowly coming into full force, which is a good thing since she's supposed to do great things soon.
Helen was born to fight the hidden creatures. She is also a direct inheritor which makes her abilities all that more impressive considering she's a rookie when it comes to understanding her new world. Even though Helen is constrained by societies rules regarding women, she is a character who doesn't allow the misguided rules to stop her from doing what is right, and from protecting those she has put her faith in. These not only include Carlston, but her maid Darby who will become her Terrene when she's ready, Margaret Ridgewell, Mr. Hammond who have taken her in after her uncle cast her out of his home, and her best friend Delia Cransdon who had her own encounter with a Deceiver.
What I didn't Like: His name is the Selburn. The Duke of Selburn doesn't understand the world NO. If this were the 21st century, Helen would have labeled him a stalker and called the coppers on him. He would probably get off since he's snobbish and rich. Selburn is like an annoying gnat who continues to suck blood from the same healing sore. He pursues Helen, and gets into her business time and time again even though Helen has told him to bugger off. I suppose there will be those who will say that he means only the best for Helen, and yes, I get that. Even though it is apparent that Selburn will not go away any time soon, I still maintain that Helen is better suited with Carlston who needs to have his own life reexamined after some stunning secrets are revealed.
Despite my issues with Selburn, I have to admit that I hope he is the Great Evil that is coming soon. This series gets better with each book, and it a series that I encourage others to read. It is a series that features brilliant world building, and a cast of characters who are so far from perfect. One could say that there is no sophomore let down after the brilliant Dark Days Club. This is Helen's own coming of age story. It shows how much strength and confidence she gathers. Helen has to fight demons and male misogyny with equal force. One small misstep, could me the end of everything she's working towards. Bring on the next installment please?!?!