Mon
Jan 30 2017 12:15pm

First Look: Alison Goodman’s The Dark Days Pact (January 31, 2017)

The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

Alison Goodman
The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen Series #2)
Viking / January 31, 2017 / $18.99 print, $10.99 digital

If you thought you loved the Lady Helen novels after their premiere with The Dark Days Club last year, brace yourselves friends. Because love is about to become obsession.

The Dark Days Pact is everything that the increasing tension in The Dark Days Club promised us the sequel would be: an intense, terrifying, thrilling rush of romance and battle, blood and beating hearts, enemies and lovers. Darker, faster, at times absolutely hair-raising, this book is the critical moment at the height of a trilogy when the risks have never been greater and the rewards seem fewer and farther between.

In The Dark Days Pact we return to heroine and reluctant reclaimer Helen, who is living in seclusion in Brighton with Lady Margaret and Mr. Hammond after being discarded by her uncle at the end of the first book. (Following that amazing kiss on the floor of her bedroom with Carlston where she saved his life after the deceiver attack that killed the horrible Benchley.) Her potential betrothal to the Duke of Selburn (Looooove him) has imploded following the scandal, she is estranged from her family, surrounded by a frightening new reality—but, well, at least Brighton is quieter than London! Unfortunately, while life in Brighton may move at a more sedate pace, Helen’s life has not exactly quieted down.

The Dark Days Club began with a murder and a scandal, but still managed to feel somewhat light at the beginning, engaging readers in this story of discovery and becoming. A new world was unfolding before Helen and yes it was terrifying, but it was also attractive and fascinating. The Dark Days Pact, on the other hand, leaves you feeling hunted all the way through. As though time is constantly on the verge of running out, if it hasn’t already. And that tension permeates every aspect of the book, from Helen’s strained relationships with Carlston and Selburn, to her hunt for a mysterious, monstrous journal that might hold all the answers she has been seeking—and might just help save the life of the man she loves.

But even within this grim sequel we still see something flickering in the darkness - a source of hope and light. At the heart of The Dark Days Pact is a little seed of love that proves to be inextinguishable. Even as Helen is striding forth to face these magnificently crafted, unforgettable horrors she is also spinning a web of love around herself - gathering a small army of friends, allies and potential lovers to see her though.

I clutched this book—and I do mean clutched—in my hands and did not let it go until I was finished. I couldn’t have if I tried. I am so beyond impressed with this series. Every choice that Goodman makes just sells me on it more. She never forsakes her romance plots for the sake of her fantasy plots, nor vice versa. The Lady Helen novels are the perfect blend of regency romance and urban fantasy - truly the perfect marriage of two worlds. It’s two heroes competing for your hand in a public dance, and the feel of a knife hilt in your grip all at once.

So here’s your reader’s caveat:

Keep your “the monsters can’t get me under here” blanket close, your tissues closer, and get ready to fall in love all over again with Goodman's magical Regency world. The Dark Days Pact is an epic, romantic, compelling read that you will not be able to put down. Just don’t forget to leave the light on.

***

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman, available January 31, 2017:

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Jessica Avery grew up in the frosty, but not quite frozen, woods of Western Maine, where for seven or so chilly months of the year there’s not much to do but read. She got her start with romance novels early and in the last few years has set out to make a career of it, but in blogging about and pursuing the academic study of Popular Romance. You think she would have moved somewhere warm by now, but those Maine roots grow deep.

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5 comments
Kahintenn
1. Kahintenn
Excellent review! I'm off to find these two books.
Jessica Avery
3. RomancingtheBookworm
@Kahintenn: DO. Becuase they are SO fantastic, I can't wait for the next book. Like I said, Goodman has an unCANNY ability to balance her story elements and the result is as magical as her fictional universe.

@TeddyP: Right?! Oh gosh, It's so gorgeous. My only qualm is the braid - you'll understand why when the book gets started - but otherwise Helen decked out in her male garb makes my heart go pitter patter.
Kahintenn
4. raakettu
Such a great review, The Dark Days Pact sounds amazing! I can't wait to get my copy... Btw, Goodman mentioned this review on her blog as well, saying "Seriously, I think this may be the best review I will ever receive in my life!" (www.darkdaysclub.com) :)
Jessica Avery
5. RomancingtheBookworm
@Raakettu: OMG THANK YOU! I would not have seen that and now I'm fangirling beyond belief! I'm so glad that she liked my review! :D *dies happy*
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