My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
New York Times bestseller Alison Goodman’s eagerly awaited new project — a Regency adventure starring a stylish and intrepid demon-hunter!
London, April 1812. On the eve of 18-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the Queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears–and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?
Beware spoilers ahead!
This book was recommended to me by my GR friend Alyssa! I had heard about this author years ago along with her infamous series Eon. Back in November the publishing company released a sample for all the upcoming books. This book was amongst them. At the time I had been hearing so much about this book that I decided to read the sample. It was slow but I fell in love with the setting and Lady Helen. Alyssa’s review convinced me even more so I bought it. I am very happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book!
The book begins with Lady Helen practicing her curtsy for her presentation to the queen. Readers find out that this is a very important presentation especially to Helen. When Helen was 8 years old her mother and her father tried to flee London. They drowned when the ship sunk. After this it was announced that her parents committed treason against the crown.
The consequences were taken out on Helen and her brother. Helen is often compared to her mother and people fear that she is just like her mother. Helen has to act perfect so that people will see that she is nothing like her mother. Helen and her brother live with their Aunt and Uncle. And Helen’s Aunt tries to help her maintain perfection.
Her Aunt arrives with terrible news. One of Helen’s friends Delia, has now been shamed. Delia ran away with a man not intending to marry him. They reached a hotel and the man committed suicide in front of Delia. A witness also claims that before he heard gunfire he saw the start to glow. Helen feels horrible that she did not ask why Delia had been so upset. She partly blames herself for what happens.
That night Helen finds out from her handmaiden Darby that one of the other maids has gone missing. She was running and errand and never returned. But she couldn’t have run away because she belongings are still with them and she has mentioned sending money to her mother. Helen then promises Darby that she will try and look into Berta’s (the maid) disappearance.
Helen asks her older brother Andrew about it and mentions the area where Berta was last seen. He freezes and mentions Lord Carlston. When Helen asks for an explanation Andrew explains that 3 years ago Lord Carlston murdered his wife. There’s no proof but everyone knows he did it. Lord Carlston has returned and Andrew assumes that he must have been the one to kidnap Berta. He warns Helen to stay away from Lord Carlston.
The day of her presentation with the Queen Helen decides to take her mothers miniature with her. She has Darby tie it to her fan. She knows that she shouldn’t do it but she feels that her mother should be there with her. In some way.
Helen and her Aunt run into Lord Carlston. He’s pretty cold but he doesn’t seem the type to kidnap Berta. Lord Carlston takes an odd interest in her fan. After he repeatedly asks her to show it to him she gives in and does so. He returns it back without her mothers miniature. Helen is furious and invites him to her house in hopes of getting the miniature back from him. He agrees.
I honestly did not except this book to be that good! I was so surprised that I enjoyed it that much. I loved the writing style (third person)! It worked really well with the story. There was so much research that went into this that it was completely mind blowing! It was really cool to read about how formal everyone was. Unless they knew each other on a personal level they couldn’t say their first name. Hence why Lord Carlston is constantly referred to as Lord Carlston. I loved how rather than chapter numbers this book had the month, date, and year. Very cool! And it helps if you want to keep track if how long the book takes place.
Unto the characters! I loved Helen! She’s a very unique character. I felt for her whenever she had the battle with herself over what’s right and wrong. Should she trust Carlston when her reputation was already in ruin? I loved her friendship with Darby! It was sweet how loyal they were to each other.
I loved Helen’s Aunt! She was really fussy but thought of Helen’s best interest and has saved her multiple times from her Uncle’s wraith. Her Uncle views women as incompetent creatures that need to be controlled. He repeatedly tries to force his opinions done Helen’s throat. He also constantly reminds Helen about her mother. I honestly have no idea how Helen’s Aunt has managed with her husband for all these years. Helen and Andrew care for each other but are not close. Most of the time Andrew is out and the two don’t interact a lot.
When I first read about Carlston I felt for him. It must suck to come back home to hostility. What’s odd is that they have no proof that he murdered his wife but everyone believes it. After his first interaction with Helen I did not like him at all. I spent a good while disliking him. Until you find out that he’s not a wholly horrible person.
The world was unique! I haven’t read anything like it. You only touch upon the surface of it with some information here and there. But you don’t fully understand the world. It was interesting to read about the demons and the abilities that Carlston and Helen possess. As well as some information about the demons. Helen’s reaction to the world and her abilities was completely realistic.
You do get to find out about Helen’s mother and why she and her husband tried fleeing London. Unfortunately you are not told what happened the day they drowned. You do not find out what happened to Carlston’s wife and why he has been gone for the past 3 years.
The most interesting aspect about the demon’s was that Helen actually had a choice in joining the Dark Day’s Club. While Carlston’s methods are questionable he didn’t force Helen to join. Not only that but Helen also finds another way to choose whether she wants to join them. That doesn’t usually happen in fantasy so it was interesting to see it play out in this book.
I had only two problems with this. This book is very slow. There isn’t a lot of action instead there’s a larger focus on the characters. This bothered me at first but then I begun to appreciate it. It’s nice to read a book that’s character based. I was pretty upset that Helen didn’t interact with her brother. There were times when I would wonder what exactly her brother did with his spare time and where was he. This stopped bothering me as well. The author is likely to bring Andrew in more in the next book.
I should add that while there wasn’t a lot of romance there is a bit of a love triangle. It’s not annoying but it’s there. Don’t worry it doesn’t take over the plot.
Overall I really enjoyed this book! I am looking forward to the sequel! I recommend it to fans of historical fiction, fantasy, and fans of the author.