Tag Archives: regency

Late to the Party ARC Review – The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

15993203Title: The Dark Days Club

Author:  Alison Goodman

Rating:  ★★★

Synopsis: London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-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?

Huge thank you to Razorbill Canada for this ARC!

Sam’s Review:

I am insanely torn with how I feel about The Dark Days Club. This was a book adored by so many of my friends, and it hard everything I should have loved in a story: regency era politics, paranormal magic fun times, and in depth, gorgeous world-building.

And yet, I was bored for large chunks of this novel. It seemed like Goodman had so much she wanted to build in this story, so there would be these periods where I was completely in love and engaged with the story, and other moments where I found myself screaming “GET ON WITH IT!” It’s a book that just felt like such a mixed bag — if the world building was on and awesome, then the characters felt flat. If the world building was boring, the characters oddly seemed more engaging. I feel like this book is just too difficult to describe, but it made my emotions flip flop all over the place.

For me, there are chunks of this novel that are just perfectly described, and then other moments where I found myself slogging through the text to get to the good bits. I loved the last hundred pages of the story, while the middle just felt like it carried on too long. I admit, I think so much was just built up in this story that the characters were just missing the spark for me. I wanted more from them, and I wanted to have a strong connection… but it never quite happened. The pacing is slow and deliberate, but even then I felt like I was missing something a lot of the time.

I feel like The Dark Days Club is going to be a polarizing read for a lot of folks. This was my first Alison Goodman book, and I do plan on giving her another shot given that I have Eon sitting on my shelves. I’m unsure as to whether or not I will continue with this series, as it’s interesting, but it didn’t quite keep my attention. This is great for lovers of paranormal, as well as historical fiction, and I do think it’s worth the shot if you can handle a slower burn read.

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ARC Review – Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

17350916Title:  Landry Park

Author: Bethany Hagen

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2

Synopsis: In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty – her family and the estate she loves dearly – and desire.

Sam’s Review

Huge thank you to Dial Books for Young Readers/Razorbill Canada for this advance reader’s copy.

This book. I don’t even know where to begin. I didn’t even have it on my radar until it showed up in my mailbox. It’s one of those books where the blurb in some ways does it no favours, making it out to be something you may have read or encountered before.

Landry Park is pretty damn fabulous and Hagen is surprisingly masterful in how she handles the development of her characters. Madeline is a heroine who gets crap done and she easy to have misconceptions about at the beginning of the story, yet her transformation as the narrative moves is phenomenally done. All the characters have a ton of depth, they are likable, their motives have a strong meaning, this book is such a page-turner! You want to keep going, and the book wants, no, demands your attention in such a way that most dystopian titles just don’t do (at least for me).

The issues of classism are very apparent in Landry Park and the way it is handled is pretty awesome. In some ways, we’ve seen the Rootless is countless other dystopian novels, but they are at times, a difficult group to sympathize with. However, as the novel unfolds you see how Madeline, David and Jude all change their tunes. The world Hagen presents is dark, but it’s also a regency novel with modern twists and turns. I think the best way to approach this book is to treat it like a dystopian version ofNorth and the South, though I can see why comparisons toDownton Abbey are made.

And then the ending… holy tension driven, Batman! I knew as soon as I hit the last fifty pages that I was going to barrel through to the end. This is one of those novels that just sucks you in, puts in debutante claws into you, and demands your attention, and I really loved the book for it. The elitism, the expectation, the drama, it’s all there and its done so well. You really feel for the characters in this story, you want to see them grow, and heck, I even liked the romance, which I don’t say too often about YA dystopian novels. Madeline is a great heroine, and I found myself cheering for her from start to finish.

Though I will say, damn Jude needs more love.

But in all seriousness, Landry Park is a fantastic debut and it has something for every reader. The world feels so believable and raw, the writing is gorgeous, the characters are full of surprise and depth. This book may have some familiar tones to it, but all in all, Landry Park is one debutante ball you may want to attend.