The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Length: 416 pages
Genera: Paranormal Fantasy
Subjects: Alternative World, Romance, Lies, Spies
How I obtained the book: Library, hardcover
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 …
Often while reading, I’ll take a few minutes break to sort of think of my rating and how I’ll start my review off. It’s very interesting because if you stop every 50 – 75 pages, you’ll probably get many different review starters and ratings.
I’m a bit obsessed with the first paragraph of a review, so much so that I’ll write it over and over again till it’s perfect.
If only I did that with the rest of the review… Maybe that’s why I love writing first paragraphs over and over again in my head. Personally, I find it interesting to see how your first paragraph can change over time.
The paragraph I thought of for while reading the first 100 pages of THE SHADOW SOCIETY went something like this: “THE SHADOW SOCIETY, while not perfect, is damn near it. The characters and the plot are very rich and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.”
However, while reading the rest of the book, my first paragraph morphed into something different. It became something more like “THE SHADOW SOCIETY started off quite well but over time it sort of lost its life as I kept reading. I am very disappointed.”
As you can tell, there’s a huge difference between the first part of the book and the rest. The beginning was more of a contemporary then anything. No secret agencies or shadow people. It was basically a mini contemp until Conn turns out to be a secret agent (no spoiler since it’s sort of a given) and abducts Darcy.
It’s still pretty good even after they enter than weird other universe Chicago (I have a lot of questions surrounding that). It kind of went downhill when two boys started hitting on her.
I really hate Conn as a person and can’t see him as a love interest. He’s just not ever that to me. He’s that creepy guy who made a girl fall in love with him so he could abduct her. That’s not romantic. That’s fucking scary.
Girl, instead of going LET ME LOVE YOU, you should be running as fast as you can.
The other guy is obviously never going to be an actual love interest. Orion is that love sick puppy character who is in love with the main character, even though he/she doesn’t love or even think of the character like that.
Quite a few reviewers say there were three guys but honestly, I can’t remember the third guy so obviously he isn’t a big guy (or he came at the end where I honestly didn’t give a shit what happened). If anyone knows who this third guy is, feel free to tell me and I’ll edit mah review.
Darcy is a very entertaining character. Think Evie from Paranormalcy but toned down by a lot and less… overly pink. While she’s not a bad character, she’s a very forgettable character. I don’t hate her and I did really like reading the story from her eyes, but I don’t really love her.
Her character is very hard to describe since, while she is a very nice character to read about, she isn’t memorable in any shape or form. Darcy is funny but that’s her main charm unless you count the ability to stalk boys in shadow form. No one could really accuse her of being cowardly or a damsel in distress. She’s pretty brave and does what she thinks needs to be done.
To wrap up her section, I’ll close by saying that I needed something else, something more in her character that I just didn’t find in the book.
Conn is the next character I’ll be going over. He’s pretty sweet in the beginning of the book but he always had this quality about him that really creeped me out from the get go. This was of course intentional except when Rutkoski was trying to redeem him and turn him into a love interest. Sadly, the feeling persisted throughout the book.
While he did sort of redeem himself later on, I find it very odd to see Darcy falling head over heels over guy who kidnapped her and put her in a prison.
The other supposed “love interest” was Orion. He’s sort of a love interest but he’s not since he’s more like that guy who’s in a once sided relationship as in, he loves her but she doesn’t think of him at all like that.
He started off as being a pretty awesome character really but once he got it into his head that he was in love with her, he became less cool. One of the reasons I stopped liking Orion is because he said some things that made it feel like he was threatening her into being his girlfriend.
Plot and Writing
The plot had to be the best part of the whole book. Once Darcy reached the alternative Chicago, the plot really kicked up. It was very interesting for most of the book though by the end, it had gotten really boring (not to mention the really anti-climatic ending).
The plot is basically Darcy trying to find out what the evil rebel plans are to destroy zeh world. While it sounds really stupid when being written out in a review, I really liked it and was for once, interested in what would happen.
It really could have been more interesting if Darcy had more internal conflict on whether or not these rebels are actually such horrible people – or Shades – that everyone says they are. By the end, she makes up her mind but there could be way more substance to it.
My biggest problem with the writing is all the bloody holes and limited world building. I mean, is the alternate world only Chicago or is it the globe? Are there more portals and in what cites? Does it have to be big cites or not? Shadows apparently don’t have a mouth or nose while in shadow form so how does they talk?
All these questions bubbled up inside of me and I found little to no answers. Poor writing really. I WANT ANSWERS TO MY QUESTIONS.
Likes and Dislikes
While THE SHADOW SOCIETY isn’t a great book, it’s most definitely a pretty good one read. I did like it and would recommend it to a reader who wants to read something funny with a bit of romance.