Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

What can I say? The Dark Days Club was supposed to provide a nice historical fiction feel from the vein of Jane Austen along with a fun supernatural fantasy and of course, a kick-ass female....

I did not get that. Goodman was very very proud of the fact that she did so much research into the Regency era that she had to let us know throughout the book about all the details! All the words like hoyden and by jove! She took me out of her world fast with her blatant snippets of historical minutiae. The story refused to flow for me. And because she focused so much on the Regency details her supernatural world-building completely fell apart. Her mythology is confusing. Demon-like energy beings from who knows where sucking out the lifeforces of all humans via nasty energy tentacles and whips only seen by our heroine and her fellow reclaimers and only via some weird crystal apparatus.

She tries really hard to combine supernatural Christian and Eastern philosophies along with natural philosophies. It just ends up a mess. Lady Helen says how well-read she is but the author doesn't show how well-read she is. Her thoughts and views and inner musings are really not well-read. She's your typical selfish rich upper class Regency Lady. All about duty and the balls and social graces. After she gains her powers she only plays with them once dancing alone in her room. That's it. No tests on how far she can go to read her uncle or aunt or anyone else unless she's told to. No tests of strength unless she's told to.

Also the love triangle? Was so weak. Both are boring and of course both hate each other and are in love with her because author said so....

I also didn't like the literal demonization of all of humanity. Yes we have sex and we lust and we're greedy but lets not say it's only the lower classes that take it too far and basically all the demons have control of the lower classes...just not my cup of tea. Lady Helen has to go down to the horrible parts of town, aka where all the poor people are. The stench and filth are terrible and she has the gall to ask how people can live like this? Really? The fate of the world rests on such caring and humane people as Lady Helen....oh boy. And let's not forget how she discovers Lord Carlston's humanity when he deigns to bow low to a lower class mother whose son's soul has just been redeemed....Really? What a super guy to bow to a lowly woman.

I know my modern sensibilities are getting in the way. And I'm not denying that that would be a sign of humanity back in those days. But it's not a story I'm really interested in. The characters are just blah. The secondary characters are worse. Poor things. Her lady's maid Darby only exists for serving Helen. She has no mind of her own at all. She couldn't be happier than to be a lowly servant in a rich upper class home. I'm sure she's grateful but that's all she wants to be or achieve in life? Don't think so. Servants are human beings with lives and wants and needs. She was so bland I didn't even realize she was only twenty until the author said so 3/4 through the book.

I can also appreciate that Helen may have a hard time with gaining all these new powers and finding out about demons and the Dark Days Club. I can accept all those things. But the author did not make me care one whit about Helen or any of that Regency World. I'm kind of rooting for the demons. At least they know how to have fun....

Maybe the second book gets better? I hope so.