Friday, 14 September 2012

ARC Review: The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

The Shadow Society 
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Pages: 416
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
Pre-order Amazon: The Shadow Society
Release Date: 16th October 2012

Synopsis (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. 

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

The Shadow Society was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and is a book which kept me riveted from start to finish.

16-year-old Darcy Jones has no recollection of her life before the day she was abandoned outside a Chicago firehouse at the age of five and would never have guessed that she is what is known as a Shade and belongs in an alternate world where events such as the Great Chicago Fire didn’t occur and her type terrorize the human population.

Darcy has never quite belonged anywhere, she has been passed from one foster family to the next and labeled a troublemaker but things are beginning to pick up for her, she has made a tight-knit group of friends at Lakebrook High and is enjoying living with her foster mother; with the arrival of a newcomer at school, Conn who piques her interest and pays her attention things are settling down for her.

Connor McCrea was an interesting character, strong, determined and fierce in his beliefs but his treatment and betrayal of Darcy left me baffled, he was hot and cold, vague and at times horrible; he was likeable in parts but I wanted to smack him in others. He is also a devoted member of the IBI (Interdimensional Bureau of Investigation) and was tasked with arresting Darcy.

When the IBI asks for Darcy’s help to infiltrate The Shadow Society – a terrorist organization made up of other shades in order to uncover their latest plot, she accepts to avoid the alternative – being held prisoner.

The concept of shades was fascinating; imagine spending your days incorporeal and not aging as a human would; I enjoyed reading about their abilities and their weaknesses. The way in which the interdimensional split was explained was also quite fascinating.

Ms Rutkoski has written the main characters well, Darcy initially came across the pages as bland and without any real emotions but she came into her own as she unraveled more about her past which allowed her personality to shine through. And Conn, despite his initial betrayal was really intriguing; I was so eager to find out how these two would work together and I had my fingers crossed romance would ignite between them – they were both flawed but also likeable.

There are some interesting supporting characters like Jims, Raphael and Lily, I was eager to learn more about Orion and actually felt a tad sorry for him – he started of fun and flirty but soon turned vindictive; Savannah was also a likeable character.

The Shadow Society had a well-balanced, realistic level of suspense, a small amount of action and a gripping plot. Ms Rukoski’s writing was easy to follow and flowed well. I had no trouble staying interested in the story she has written.


  1. Thanks for your review; I also got a copy through Netgalley and will be reading it soon. I'm glad to have more information.

  2. Great review, Sharon! It seems like the only problem in the book was the fluctuating characters? Anyhow, the concept DOES sound very intriguing and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Thanks for your honest thoughts!

  3. What a fabulous review, Sharon! TBH I wasn't really into the idea of reading this one but...AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE?! And some of these characters sound great. I'm super happy you liked it - we seem to gravitate toward a lot of the same books. TY for the review!

  4. Wonderful review!This has been on my radar, the concept of Shadows has me intrigued. I am glad it was well paced and a solid read despite character problems.


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