Review: The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

October 22, 2012 Alternate Dimensions, Book Review, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Macmillian, Marie Rutkoski, Netgalley, Paranormal, The Shadow Society, YA, Young Adult 10

From Goodreads:

Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.

Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.

As if she were his enemy.

When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything—not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever . . .

In this smart, compulsively readable novel, master storyteller Marie Rutkoski has crafted an utterly original world, characters you won’t soon forget, and a tale full of intrigue and suspense.


~My Thoughts~

The Shadow Society starts out like many books: a new seemingly bad boy comes to town and sets his sights on the main character. It might seem overdone but there is something mysterious about a stranger with an attitude in a new town, and what his intentions may be that draws me in. What was great about this novel was that it quickly takes a spin into an alternate dimension and the world of Shadows. That was unlike anything I’ve read before! Everything changed with a blink of an eye in a scene that made me go, ‘whaaaaaaaaat just happened????’, IN A GOOD WAY! I mean, I seriously was thrown. When there are moments in your reading experience like that, that completely take you off guard, those are the moments I live for! This was the turning point where we then learn about Shadows and this alternate world that Darcy was meant to be a part of. Did I totally enjoy this aspect from that point on? Yes and no.

What I didn’t like: I was slightly bored in the middle. Once Darcy enters the actual Shadow Society, I found it to be a little lackluster. I didn’t like the secondary characters involved and was eager for the scene to switch away from them and back to Conn.

There is one plot point that totally made me roll my eyes that has to deal with Darcy’s friends. I can’t say exactly what without giving too much away, but let’s just say I felt like it was done just to be done and close up a hole in the plot. It didn’t make sense to me and easily could have been scrapped. I would have enjoyed the book a bit more without it, to be honest. And I also felt like the climax was sort of. . . anti-climatic. It desperately needed more ‘oomph’. It isn’t a very good thing to leave reading a book saying, ‘wait, that’s it?’.

What I did like: Besides how the author spun the plot that I mentioned above, I also loved how this alternate world of Chicago was so different. It was very thought provoking to hear about the differences in landscape, architecture, even art and books, in a place where one event changed the course of the world. It really makes you think of the ‘what ifs’.

I loved how fire played into everything to be used as a weapon, even moreso than it already is. I also connected well with the back stories of both Conn and Darcy. Darcy’s past is a complete mystery to herself, since she was found outside a firehouse at the age of 5 with no memory. Discovering how that came about and why along with how Conn’s past sort of intertwined with it kept me turning the pages. It all sort of plays into this hot and cold relationship that strikes between Conn and Darcy. The fighting and not seeing eye to eye added depth and a realness to the characters that had me rooting for them. I felt both characters were well developed and interesting.

Even though I had a few issues with this novel, I thought it was fun and different and worth a read!

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

10 Responses to “Review: The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski”

  1. Sunny Duvall

    Ooh! I still want to read this, but I’m wary of it after reading what you didn’t like. Eye rolling is never a good thing. But I have to admit, I’m still pretty interested 🙂 Thanks for reviewing!

  2. Ashley @ Book Labyrinth

    Hmmmm I’m definitely intrigued by this one. I’m glad it does go beyond the ‘mysterious connection with a new guy’ plot, because honestly that description really turned me off of the book. It’s just way, way too common.

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