The Dark Days Pact
by Alison Goodman
I started reading this book with a vague awareness of everything that happened beforehand. And considering that The Dark Days Club proved to be a laborious read in itself, I found myself temporarily relieved by how easy it was to acclimate myself back into this world. It didn’t take long before the events of what had happened started flooding back. So I was pretty optimistic that I will truly have a better time with The Dark Days Pact.
Unfortunately, it just wasn’t in the cards.
The Dark Days Pact picks up where the first book left off. Lady Helen Wrexhall is now a card-carrying member of the demon hunters that belong in The Dark Days Club. Having been cast aside by her only living family, she now resides with the Hammond siblings. She’s fully accepted her role as a Reclaimer under the tutelage of Lord Carlseton who, by the way, did his very best impression of a surly jerk. *snorts*. This guy is a piece of work and if one doesn’t know his background, one could easily lump him with the rest of the jackasses of the 18th century (along with Mr. Darcy. Probably.). It took a bit of time for me to warm up to his character in the first book. Back then, I could appreciate his enigmatic, mysterious character. He was unbearable in this installment, however. But you’ll have to forgive him. He’s under a lot of pressure. Besides the fact that Lord Carlseton was so obviously fighting off an exhausting attraction towards Helen (hence, the jerky attitude), he’s also suffering from a malady that comes from years of reaping demon souls.
Reclaimers aren’t supposed to be in a relationship with other Reclaimers so sparks flew whenever Lady Helen and Lord Carlseton were within each other’s vicinity. Sadly, the chemistry more often off the mark. In some ways, their relationship reminded me of Will and Tessa’s from The Infernal Devices from when they were just starting out. But alas, while Will and Tessa’s push and pull romance was convincing, Helen and Carlseton’s couldn’t begin to compare. Milquetoast is the word that comes to mind.
The love triangle in this book comes into more focus towards the ending – which, admittedly, added to the annoyance that I was already feeling throughout. Thankfully, Helen’s feelings were very clear whom she favors – which relieved the irritation some. Duke Selburn wouldn’t take no for an answer under the guise of keeping the word he gave to Helen’s brother to protect her. And even though he bore witness to Helen’s kickassery at one point, he still insisted that a fine woman such as her should be protected by a man like him. *eye roll*
We finally get to know a bit more about Lord Carleston’s history; the event that led him to believe that his wife perished through the hands of the Deceivers and ultimately, to his incarceration. Driven by a sense of duty to The Dark Days Club, his unrelenting need to rid the word of demons accelerated his descent to Cray Town (madness is a direct side effect to consuming demon souls). The only thing that could help him now was what was in the book.
Speaking of, the bulk of the plot deals with a book that Benchley has created. It contained information about Helen’s parents, history of Deceivers and Reclaimers; the cure for whatever’s ailing Lord Carlseton, and how to open the gate to Hellmouth, so to speak. So you can say this book is very much in high demand. The higher ups in the club suspected Lord Carleston of knowing more than he’s led them to believe. That he had a hand in creating the book.
I don’t know how you guys do it. But the Victorian period is not my favourite. I can’t sit back and not scream at the amount of mansplaining and hapless women whose daily existence is governed by the dictates of what society deemed as proper. I can’t do it. I can’t do it without wanting to face punch the nearest cravat-wearing douche within my sights. But if this is your type of thing, I’m not judging. I just get so mad!
THAT. ENDING. THOUGH.
What the freaking heck was that? Grrrrr.