The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski
published on October 16 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
fantasy | science fiction | romance
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.
The Shadow Society actually starts of with a bunch of clichéd and overused events and ideas. We have this new (hot) guy who’s immediately interested in the odd girl. Then they become partners in some sort of project and spend a lot of time together…
But then the guy betrays the girl! And all hell breaks loose.
“How can you interpret the behavior of others when you’re a mystery to yourself?”
Like I said, the novel was initially kind of common and boring. What I didn’t mention was how the novel seemed to get better and better as it went on, and soon became an addictive and fun read with interesting characters that I’d love to meet in real life.
Darcy Jones’s our main character. She was pretty awesome throughout most of the novel, but there were some times where I wanted to talk some sense into her. A few times she seemed like a sheep who just follows whatever orders were given to her. But fine. A few times is alright. She was generally a likable character. She tried to fix her mistakes and right whatever wrongs or messes she caused.
Then we have the main (yes, there are others) love interest, Conn McCrea. I pretty much loathed him in the first half of the book, but then he grew on me and I absolutely loved him. From his initial hot-and-cold attitude, he became sweet, charming and very supportive. Kind and helpful, even. He eventually won my heart.
Just like almost all of the other parts of the novel, I didn’t like the romance in the beginning, but again, I loved it after a while. But I still would’ve liked a bit more development in this aspect.
The supporting characters were also well-developed, especially Darcy’s friends: Jims and Raphael. Jims was my favorite. He was the comic relief in this one, and I absolutely loved his humor. Raphael was simply adorable. Now, Darcy also has this other friend, Lily, who I didn’t really connect with. I was kind of irritated with her, but I couldn’t really tell why.
And of course, the alternate universe Rutkoski created was fantastic and really interesting. I loved learning about the things in this world that didn’t happen but possibly could have–such as Austen having another book, things that didn’t run on just gas or electricity, etc. She also gave this world the gift of Shades. Lol, kidding. Shades are actually sort of murderers, see. They destroy, kill and do evil deeds for fun. They can also walk through walls and become invisible–totally awesome, I know.
The pacing and writing style were also really good. Everything was easy to follow and the writing wasn’t boring at all. Okay, maybe there were some times when the pacing was a bit too fast (like in the case of the romance), but overall it was just right.
I would recommend this to people who’re looking for a lighter paranormal novel with excellent writing and a unique prose.
Other Reviews and Opinions
1. Jessie @ Ageless Pages Reviews said this one was a “a less than enthusiastic read.”
2. Sharon @ Obsession with Books said that this one had “had a well-balanced, realistic level of suspense, a small amount of action and a gripping plot.”
3. Jen @ The Starry-Eyed Revue was “kind of in love with Rutkoski’s gorgeous prose.”
Have you read this book? If you have, what did you think of it? If you haven’t, will you be getting it once it hits the shelves?