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The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen Trilogy Series #2)
     

The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen Trilogy Series #2)

4.7 3
by Alison Goodman
 

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Sequel to New York Times bestselling author Alison Goodman's acclaimed The Dark Days Club—a smashing combination of Buffy and Jane Austen!
 
Summer, 1812.
After the scandalous events at her presentation ball in London, Lady Helen has taken refuge at the fashionable seaside resort of Brighton,

Overview

Sequel to New York Times bestselling author Alison Goodman's acclaimed The Dark Days Club—a smashing combination of Buffy and Jane Austen!
 
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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The fantasy/Regency/history mashup readers didn't even know they wanted." —Kirkus Reviews

"A fast-moving plot, intriguing paranormal elements, and a developing love triangle make this book hard to put down. Diverse, well-drawn supporting characters add depth, and readers will find it difficult not to root for the first female Reclaimer—a strong yet relatable protagonist." —School Library Journal

"The attraction between Helen andCarlston is masterfully developed, and there is plenty of action and suspense to hook less romance-inclined readers as well. The last several chapters are a gripping headlong rush into a cliffhanger ending that promises more Lady Helen adventures to come." —Booklist

Praise of Alison Goodman's The Dark Days Club:

"This fantastic introduction leaves us hungry for more." —Entertainment Weekly

★ "Delicious. . . . Lady Helen is a well-drawn heroine, and her struggle to free herself from the stilted life of an early 19th century noblewoman and embrace her wilder, darker self is powerfully delineated." —Publishers Weeklystarred review
 
★ "Fast-paced, rich in description, with fascinating characters and excitement, this tale from Australian author Goodman will leave fantasy fans wanting more." —School Library Journalstarred review
 
"[The Dark Days Club] takes off in a delightful way, juxtaposing the laced-up expectations of society against the newly stirring blood of a worthy heroine. . . . Try this with fans of genre twisters such as Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." —Booklist
 
"[Goodman's] impeccable research shines through on every page . . . and brings to life questions of freedom and choice for women. Readers willing to embrace the deep, deliberately paced journey will find the pace and tension increasing until the end leaves them eager for the next volume." —Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal
01/01/2017
Gr 9 Up—Following The Dark Days Club, this is the second book in this well-received series that blends Regency romance with supernatural adventure. In this installment, Lady Helen has moved to a fashionable seaside resort town, purportedly to recover from an incident in London that introduced her to the Dark Days Club and the hidden, esoteric work of the Reclaimers. However, her time is actually devoted to training so that she can fight the demonic Deceivers. Before Lady Helen's training is complete, she uncovers a supernatural conspiracy and struggles to learn the truth about it while also protecting her mentor, Lord Carlston, who is fighting his own internal demons. A fast-moving plot, intriguing paranormal elements, and a developing love triangle make this book hard to put down. Diverse, well-drawn supporting characters add depth, and readers will find it difficult not to root for the first female Reclaimer—a strong yet relatable protagonist. VERDICT This stand-alone series title is recommended as a first purchase. With obvious appeal to fantasy readers, this novel will also draw teens who enjoy historical fiction and mysteries.—Sunnie Scarpa, Wallingford Public Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
2016-11-16
Following the events of The Dark Days Club (2016), Lady Helen is back, still grappling with propriety and power. Amid the seasonal intrigue in Brighton, Lady Helen Wrexhall has begun her Reclaimer training in earnest, supported by a motley crew: Lady Margaret and her brother (who have an unexpected past); Delia Cransdon, not quite ruined by a failed elopement; stalwart servants Darby and Mr. Quinn (a Pacific Islander, the only person of color in a sea of Regency white); and of course the enigmatic and entirely too attractive Lord Carlston, who may be slipping into madness from his repeated encounters with the terrifying Deceivers who walk among and feed off humankind. Goodman delicately balances multiple strands, tying together a slow but steady plot that moves inexorably to an action-packed climax, with a love triangle that is thematically perfect: Selburn celebrates and cherishes Helen, while Carlston pushes her. In love as in her Reclaimer powers, Helen must determine her willingness to break the rules and be her own woman, making mistakes along the way and pushing back against those, both human and Deceiver, who seek to control her. It all plays out against an impeccably researched and detailed Regency setting, and if too much time is spent in Helen's head—well, she has a great deal to understand, and it's not surprising if it's taking her time to find her way through. The fantasy/Regency/history mashup readers didn't even know they wanted. (Historical fantasy. 13 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670785483
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
01/31/2017
Series:
Lady Helen Trilogy Series , #2
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
28,650
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.90(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
Friday, 3 July 1812
 
At Lord Carlston’s bidding, Lady Helen Wrexhall studied the gentleman walking rapidly toward them up the rise of Brighton’s Marine Parade. Even at such a distance she could see that he was a thin, bitter-faced man in a sober blue coat rather badly cut across his stooped shoulders, and an unfashionable tri­corn hat drawn low over his brow.
 
“Can you really see him in detail from this far away?” Mr. Hammond asked, squinting at the tiny figure. “He is little more than a blur to me.”
 
“Of course she can: it is part of the gift,” his sister said. “Do stop making comments, Michael.”
 
“I can even see his expression, Mr. Hammond,” Helen said across Lady Margaret’s rebuke. The woman was forever criticizing and correcting. “I can report that the gentleman’s countenance is quite sour. Probably a bad kipper for breakfast.”
 
Mr. Hammond laughed. “Bad kipper. Did you hear that, Margaret?”
 
“Quite,” his sister said, her expression as sour as the one under discussion.
 
Lord Carlston thumped the ebony tip of his cane into the dirt path. “Lady Helen, focus. What do you notice about his gait?”
 
She smothered a sigh. So it was to be another lesson on manly pedestrianism. His lordship was adamant that she perfect a male disguise; their duties, he said, would take them into taverns and the like, and she must convince as a man. Clearly, however, she had not yet mastered her understanding of the masculine stride.
 
She studied his lordship from the corner of her eye. Today he looked older than his twenty-six years, weary and distant, the bold angles of his face set into stern command. The forbidding expres­sion was becoming all too familiar. Ever since she had been cast out of her uncle’s house four weeks ago, she had watched Lord Carlston retreat from the strange energy that leaped between them when they touched, pushing it behind his new role of instructor. It felt as if a shared pulse was slowly being extinguished. Yet what could she say? Nothing between them had ever been voiced, could ever be voiced. He was, by law, still married. She must quash the energy, too, although she did not know how. Whenever he guided her arm through a sword stroke or showed her how to punch, it felt as if her body were aflame.
 
He had noticed her scrutiny. She saw something flicker in his eyes—that pulse perhaps, not totally quelled—and then a lift of his dark slanted eyebrows called her to the task at hand. She shifted her parasol, taking refuge behind the green silk shield—Dear God, do not let him see the flush upon my cheeks—and returned her attention to the fast-approaching figure.
 
“He moves his arms with vigor,” she ventured. “And keeps his eyes to the fore.”
 
“No, forget his eyes and arms. Do you see how each pace is at least this long?” Lord Carlston’s cane plunged into the dirt again, measuring a good length from the toe of his right Hessian boot. “And despite those rounded shoulders, there is confidence in his upper body. You must take up more space when you walk and move with greater purpose.”
 
Space and purpose. Helen took an experimental step alongside the flimsy fence that safeguarded the sheer drop to the beach. The hem of her promenade gown brought her up short, the sudden halt causing her touch watch to swing out on the end of its silk neck-cord and slap back against her ribs. Despite its compact size, the watch was no small weight—a product of the hidden crys­tal lens folded inside—and its impact left a definite sting, even through her layers of muslin and lawn. She gathered up the green enameled case and cupped it in her palm, the diamond arrow at its center pointing to the large emerald set at the eleven o’clock mark. Lord Carlston had given her the watch to replace the minia­ture portrait of her mother that had contained its own lens, which she had lost to the enemy. A most forgiving gesture on his lord­ship’s part, considering the alchemy built into the miniature, and how dangerous it was to them all.
 
“Lady Helen?” Lord Carlston’s voice sharpened. “Do I have your attention?”
 
She jerked her head up and let the watch drop back to the end of its cord. “Of course. More space and purpose.”
 
She had no difficulty with the idea of more purpose. Surely that was just a matter of taking a longer stride—something that would be far more achievable when she was clad in breeches. Her long, lean measurements had already been given to a London tailor to sew her a pair of buckskins and all the other gentlemanly accou­trements. She was to be a fine young man, at least in the cut of her clothing. Her manner, however, was not so easily stitched into masculinity. According to his lordship, she still needed to deepen her voice, be less careful with the placement of her arms and legs, and now also take up more space. No easy task, since she had spent most of her life learning to control any excess gesture or movement. Nevertheless, she gathered up the hem of her gown, squared her shoulders, and rocked forward onto the balls of her feet.
 
“For goodness’ sake, you cannot go striding around with your skirts up,” Lady Margaret hissed. “Someone may see.”
 
“It is not as if she is galloping along the seafront in her chemise, my dear,” Mr. Hammond said.
 
“That may be so,” his sister replied, her delicate features pinched beneath her straw-chip hat, “but it is past the breakfast hour, and we are in full view of everyone’s drawing rooms.”
 
They all looked across at the row of houses that lined the Parade. Most of them were still shuttered, but enough had their windows exposed to the bright July morning to give credence to Lady Margaret’s alarm.
 
“I doubt that one or two steps will bring us undone,” his lord­ship told her, “but your caution is exemplary.”
 
Helen let go of her skirts and turned toward the sea to hide her pique, her eyes fixed upon a three-masted war-sloop no doubt making its way to Plymouth before joining the newly declared war with the United States. Perhaps it could aim its cannons at Lady Margaret and her exemplary caution instead, Helen thought, then immediately felt churlish. The woman was irritating, but she and her brother had been valued members of the Dark Days Club for over five years, whereas Helen had only just joined the secret order that protected mankind from the Deceivers. And although Lady Margaret and her brother were not Reclaimers like herself and Lord Carlston—rare warriors born to fight the hid­den creatures—it could not be denied that they were also placing themselves in great danger. Not to mention the fact they had been kind enough to take her in after she had been expelled from her Uncle Pennworth’s house.

Meet the Author

Alison Goodman is the author of the internationally bestselling and award-winning Eon/Eon duology, as well as the YA science fiction thriller Singing the Dogstar Blues, and an adult novel, A New Kind of Death (originally titled Killing the Rabbit). She was a D.J. O'Hearn Memorial Fellow at Melbourne University, holds a Master of Arts, and teaches creative writing at the postgraduate level.

She is on Twitter @AlisonGoodman and keeps a constantly-growing Regency treasure trove at www.pinterest.com/alisongoodman.

Alison Goodman and her husband live in Victoria, Australia, with their irrepressible terrier, Xander.

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The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen Trilogy Series #2) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Truly unique, brilliant, gripping... I only wonder how Goodman will resolve the plot in just one more book. I hope she doesn't succumb to GRR Martin disease, since this book & its predecessor are among the best things I've read in a long time.
book_junkee 19 days ago
After reading and loving The Dark Days Club, I knew I would be devouring the sequel as soon as I could. And when I saw The Dark Days Pact available, I legit screamed and downloaded it. Lady Helen is still just as awesome as she was before. She's stronger this time around and I really enjoyed seeing her work out the new facets of her powers. The rest of the gang is all here and they're definitely in for some changes. There are a lot of twists and revelations in this book and I was on the edge of my seat for the last quarter of it. I just couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Be prepared for anything and everything, but it's the ending that just might kill you in the most delicious way. The third book has quickly become a title that I would do horrible things for. I can't wait to see what happens next. **Huge thanks to Viking Books and Edelweiss for providing the arc free of charge**
Alyssa75 21 days ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman Book Two of the Lady Helen series Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers Publication Date: January 31, 2017 Rating: 4 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen and her maid, Darby, to spend the summer season in Bristol, where Helen can sharpen her Reclaimer powers. Then the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work take hold, and his sanity begins to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are ever higher for Helen, and her decision will truly change the world… What I Liked: The Dark Days Pact is an excellent follow-up to The Dark Days Club - it follows none of the sequel slump pattern that we've seen so often in Young Adult trilogies. I liked The Dark Days Club very much, though at times I found that book to drag a little. This sequel was thoroughly intriguing and entertaining, with a lot of action and revelations, and a little bit of angst. I enjoyed this book immensely and I am looking forward to reading the final book in the series. Lady Helen is well on her way to becoming a fully trained Reclaimer, and an official member of the Dark Days Club. Mr. Pike comes to Bristol to swear her in, and he also gives her a task: obtain an important journal of a secretive nature. But it's clear that Mr. Pike has another intent - spy on Lord Carlston, and get rid of him. But Lord Carlston has been showing signs of deterioration, in his health. Time is running out to find a cure, which also hinges upon the journal. Helen must get the journal before Carlston does, or risk breaking her oath as Club member. But she doesn't trust anyone except Carlston, Mr. Hammond, Mr. Quinn, and Darby, and she doesn't think Mr. Pike is honorable. The journal itself isn't what it seems, and Helen's decision about what to do with it will have consequences she can't comprehend. This sequel moves at a faster pace than The Dark Days Club, which I appreciated. I loved The Dark Days Club, but there were definitely times when I really felt the length of the book (500+ pages). This book is also around that page length, but it has more action and intrigue, in my opinion. Helen was always getting up to something sneaky, which I thought was hilarious (good for her!). You can clearly see Helen's growth, in this novel! Much of this book is focused on her training as a Reclaimer, and so we see her grow in that way, but also in general. She stands up for herself and doesn't let herself get shuffled around. When her oath to the Days Days Club comes up against her loyalty to her friends, and Carlston, she doesn't meekly follow one side or the other. She seeks more information and bides her time, but ultimately, she makes decisions. I wouldn't say she is totally decisive at first, but she really grows into a stronger character. There are so many feminist moments in this book in which I was cheering for Helen. Especially every time she told Selburn she didn't need a protector - you go, girl! Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)