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?
I loved this book. It reminded me a lot of Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle series (one of my all time favorites) in style and impact.
Honestly, it’s a little slow, and while I know that will be a turn off for a lot of people, I loved that Goodman took to time to really let us get to know Helen before things started to escalate. We also had the opportunity to become immersed in Regency London, and I appreciated the detail and the devotion to the historic side of that.
The paranormal element was unique, taking the idea of demons to a whole new level with a healthy dose of originality. We also get two amazingly interesting characters, as well as a slew of formidable secondary characters. Helen comes in with strong personal beliefs about her mother (a sore spot), her culture, and herself. She is able to maintain these throughout the story, making her decisions always remain true to herself and never coming off as rash. That said, she goes through a decent amount of growth in this first instalment, and facing challenges and big decisions that alter the course of her life. The character who I most liked though was Lord Carlston, he’s so complex and interesting, I loved seeing a new layer of him revealed the further into the book we got and the more Helen got to know him. There are still a lot of questions about him that have yet to be discovered, and I can’t wait to see how that happens in the following instalments.
Beyond a great story, complex characters, and an interesting setting, Goodman’s writing was easy to read while still being smart. She carries you through the story at a leisurely pace that never bogs down, and manages to depict Regency London without large paragraphs of setting descriptions. I anxiously look forward to the next installment in this series, and may just have to look into Goodman’s sci-fi duo to tide me over till then.