[699]: The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

A promising start that slowly degressed into a Victorian doldrum.


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.

  • Uuuugh. Yeah. I peeked at the ending for this one. I’m not reading it until book three is out 🙁 So disappointing. People told me the book was good. That there was no love triangle. Hahaha. That is not what I would call the ending at all. Ugh. I’m disappointed too, tbh. I liked book one, but didn’t love it. Had high hopes for this sequel. Sigh. But I don’t think I would enjoy it; same as you. Aaanyway 🙂 Gorgeous review Joy. <3 I'm so sorry this book had tons of issues : But yay for still liking a lot of it. <3

  • Oh no, it sounds like this was far from a pleasant reading experience for you! I’m definitely someone who enjoys reading about the Victorian era (and earlier periods too, which of course have even more mansplaining hahaha) but I can see why it’s frustrating for some people. It sucks for heroines like Helen who can’t really seem to *do* anything without getting in trouble!

  • Sounds like this one struck a cord with you! A shame this one wasn’t what you hoped it would be!

  • LOL! I have to have a bluestocking or at least some female who rails against the conventions of the time for me to really want a Victorian or Regency romance. I actually feel that way with most historical romances (Scottish romances included). Or, at the very least, the guy who goes against convention and is enlightened even for our current age. I hesitate reading this one mostly on the grounds of your reaction to the ending. I’m an ending girl so… um… maybe? LOL

  • Awwww, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this book. :/ I liked it a great deal – I feel like the author did a good job of taking the story even further. I HAAAAAAAATED the ending! It’s not going to stick, I’m sure, but still. Ugh! I definitely will be reading book three, because if a certain thing doesn’t happen… I’m going to be furious. :O It’s too bad you didn’t like this one, but great review!

    Have a wonderful week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  • I don’t read any books from a Victorian era, nothing about that time is appealing to me. I’m glad you found some redeeming features though!

  • Well, I’m a fan of this time period with all the details and writing style that often means slower reads. I’m crossing my fingers that this one works for me as I really like book one. 🙂

  • This might make me a little crazier.

  • a bit complicated about some points here…

  • Karen

    Ha! I can’t read it either for the same reasons.

    Oh my God – you showed some ankle! Horror!!! lol

    The whole thing drives me nuts and makes me hate everyone. I tend to like it only if the heroines are feisty and go against the norms. Which probably isn’t as realistic to the period but that’s the only way I can read it.

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

  • RO

    I used to really get into the Victorian period so many years ago, and some were really awesome. However, this is a time that would have been hard for me to live in because I can be so outspoken. Great review on why it didn’t work. Hugs…

  • I bought the first book from a second hand book store, but have yet to read it. I’m also a bit iffy reading about the Victorian period, especially when the prose tends to be quite stilted and formal.

  • shootingstarsmag

    I have the first book but I still need to read it. I’m sorry this one didn’t work for you though! I don’t read a ton of books in the Victorian Era, but it depends. 🙂

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

  • this sounds like it had some interesting qualities but seems to falter in a lot of places. I am curious about the ending tho… I wanted to read book 1 last year, mer, maybe I’ll still get around to it….

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one more! I’m a huge fan of the Victorian Era, though, mostly because I like reading about characters like Helen who break the stereotypical mold of the time and her struggles balancing being true to herself and being true to the societal norms of the time. It’s more of an inner struggle and I like books that explore that. I will agree with you that the ending was rough… I didn’t see that coming but I’m hoping the third book doesn’t drag out the drama for too long. Wonderful review, Joy!

  • This would annoying me on every level. I usually can’t read any kind of histroicals for the reason you’ve mentioned!

  • I have the first book sitting on my shelf…unread. I will have to keep your thoughts in mind. I might wait until the next book is released to start reading them. I don’t like endings that make me growl 🙂

  • Oh noes! Gosh I didnt even realize this is out already. I loved the first book and I know we don’t exactly have the same tastes when it comes to this sub genre so I’ll give it a shot and we’ll see… lol

  • The ending has me worried ….

  • I’m waiting for the last book to be out before jumping into this one, but hmmm now I’m reconsidering this series. These books are hugeeee and that usually leads to me being bored. It’s a bummer about the romance and the triangle too. Ugh. It does sound like it has a lot of potential however.

  • I do like reading about the Victorian era just because of all the class and the prestige around. But it is horrible about how much women were put down at the time. I’m not sure how so many novels get away with it, but there are so many books with independent women in the Victoria era. You just have to find the golden ones. I am so sorry that this didn’t work out for you though and that you couldn’t enjoy it :/ I haven’t tried the first book and to be honest, I doubt I will…

  • ChristinaBookAddict

    Haha. I died of laughter regarding your thoughts on the time period. You are so right. You have to be in the mood to deal with all the BS of the Victorian period. As a feminist, it is hard to take. I enjoyed the first book, but I’m not sure I will pick up this sequel. Thanks for your honest thoughts. It’s always disappointing when the sequel just doesn’t work.

  • I’m not a big fan of Historicals. Sorry this one didn’t work out as good as you’d hoped. The love triangle would drive me nuts too.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

  • I was in the middle of reading The Dark Days Club but I stopped it ’cause it was boring. so. boring. I decided to wait for your review for this 2nd book to see how it is, and now I can’t believe that I’ll finally, finally DNF a book for real. Thanks for the honest review, Joy.

  • kindlemom1

    I usually love this period but it sounds like overall this book was a big mess. I’m not sure it would be for me either and that is saying something so don’t feel bad at all that this didn’t work for you. 😉 Wonderful honest review Joy!