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?
The novel is set in 1812, during the Regency era. Goodman has obviously done her research and it gives the story a great authentic feel. It's super interesting to learn about social customs of the time. If that sounds boring, its totally not! Don't worry, it's not like a school textbook on the Regency era, with lists and info dumps, you just read and afterwards think 'wow- I learned something cool there!'
One thing that always niggles me in historical novels is when authors try hard to have their characters act like real people of that time would do. BUT, the romance will feel rushed so that it can lead up to an inevitable kiss by the end. I don't mind not having a kiss in the first book, I prefer for it to feel real and develop naturally. Goodman manages to brilliantly create tension between her two characters mostly through their conversations and body language. She adapts to rules such as women not being allowed to go out with a man (not from her family) alone and does it expertly.
You might think 'oh, so basically the mortal instruments, set in 1812 - its just another infernal devices!' But you'd be wrong. The demons in this novel aren't anything like the ones in the Shadowhunter Chronicles, instead of ugly and grotesque creatures, these demons look human. And they feed on something very peculiar...
The novel features a wonderful female friendship between Helen and her lady's maid Darby. They both look out for each other and confide in one another. I'm excited to see if how their friendship grows in the next book.
Often in fantasy novels, there's a 'chosen one' who finds out they're destined to do/be something and they're shocked but shoulder the responsibility and go on to be heroes. Harry Potter. Clary Fray. Frodo. They don't ever say 'yeah, thanks but no thanks. I just want to go on living my normal life.' Sometimes they might falter and struggle and wonder why they ever chose this path, but they don't really entertain the possibility that they don't have to accept the responsibility that is being thrust upon them, that could possibly kill them and will complicate their lives a whole lot. The Dark Days Club however...