The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I'm giving this 2 stars because I have to respect an author that puts so much effort and detail into their book. However, I can't say that I liked this book. In fact, I found it really boring and just a little tedious to get through.
My main complaint is Helen. I know a lot of reviewers believe she's the best part of the book but I felt that she spent too much time allowing other opinions to change her own. She was too quick to take the words of others as truth instead of making the choices for herself. As for the Dark Days Club itself, she kept going back and forth about whether to embrace her destiny or turn her back on it and the Club, right to the very end of the book. Maybe it wouldn't have bothered me so much if the choice she'd ended up making hadn't been the result of the situation she'd found herself in. The choice was practically made for her and I can't help feeling it was a bit of an easy out for Helen.
But I guess I can't be too hard on Helen because it seemed that she came from a terrible family. I thought her brother Andrew had a tendency to sulk (honestly, it seemed like every time he appeared it was to look at Helen with disappointment), and her Uncle was a horrible, disgusting bully. Lord Carlston seemed to fit the mysterious suitor parameters but aside from that, nothing truly interesting or personal was ever given in the book to really develop his character. The man is suspected of a horrible crime and Helen never managed to ask him about it. She asked other characters about it but not him and that just feels wrong, especially when you take into account that Helen has to decide whether she trusts Lord Carlston over the course of the book and the answer to that question could have put everything in a different light. Helen just takes the others at their word, decides it wouldn't matter even if she did ask because she couldn't be sure if his answer was the truth, and then forgets about it for the rest of the book. Good grief, that drove me nuts.
The rest of the characters received the same treatment, tiny details to explain their current actions but not enough to make anyone a true standout in the story. For a book that nearly came out to 500 pages, I feel that the only character we really came to learn anything about was Helen and since I really didn't like Helen, the whole book was disappointing. And the monsters were weird. Just their descriptions of what they looked like and what they could do. It was all very simple but at the same time almost underdeveloped. I expected more threat but they seemed almost tame, which didn't help to make the story interesting.
I have no idea if I'll try reading the next book. I can only hope that the sequel actually delves into each of the characters, explaining their choices and how they came to be part of the Dark Days Club, while at the same time really exploring the threat that the Club is meant to fight. That's a book I would be interested in reading, a story that explores the true details of the world that Goodman only gave glimpses of in this book.
Rating on my scale of 1 to 10 Stars: 2 Stars.
What do you know? My scale still worked with this one.