Review & Giveaway: The Shadow Society

The Shadow Society
Marie Rutkoski
Series: None
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Strous, and Giroux
Number of Pages: 416
Source: NetGalley
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

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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.
You know those books that you like, sometimes even really like, though you have no clue why? Those books that, for some reason, you can come up with quite a lot of reasons why you shouldn't like it, but when you are to come up with reasons why you do like it, you're pretty much at a loss for words? The Shadow Society is, for me, one of those books. I don't know why I like it. I sure could come up with a lot of reasons why I should't like it, but I do like it. I really do.

Ever since she was five years old, Darcy Jones never felt like she fit in anywhere. As an orphan, she jumped from household to household after each new foster parent realized they didn't want her, shortly after adopting her. Darcy, now happily living with a new foster parent for a year, has finally found a great and loyal group of friends at her school. Her life is finally the way she wants it to be. That is, however, until Conn McCrea comes into her life. Eventually, Conn drags Darcy into a world she never knew existed - an alternate dimension of Chicago - and introduces her to a world full of non-human creatures, Shades. Creatures which are hellbent on wreaking havoc on humans. And Darcy is one of them.

Throughout the entire first quarter of The Shadow Society, all that went through my mind is, "This book is just one big paradox, isn't it?" I saw it as a paradox in that it has one of the most original and creative concepts I've ever read in young adult paranormal romances, but that, at the same time, it was as unoriginal as most of the books in the genre. It was unoriginal in that it seemingly went out of its way to use every cliche and trope imaginable in young adult paranormal romances. The instant connection the two love interests have (though not really insta-love), how they both meet at school, how the two love interests are partnered up for an art project, how the main character doesn't feel she belongs, etc. All that, and more, made the first quarter of The Shadow Society almost a chore to read, and I had myself doubting that I'd be able to make it through the rest of the novel.

But then that all changed abruptly. Seemingly from one percentage to the next, The Shadow Society became thoroughly interesting and unputdownable, as Darcy is introduced to the world of Shades and the alternate Chicago. Alternate universes fascinate me, and while this book hadn't gone that in depth into the detail of the alternate Chicago, I still found myself entranced by the world and, for once, original plotting.

Though, as entrancing and interesting I may have found the world in The Shadow Society to be, the world building we're provided with is not that great. The Shadow Society is one of those books where you have to just leave your logic at the front door and enjoy the ride along the way, and if you do that, I can almost assure that you will have fun with this. The story is intriguing enough to have you flipping pages nonstop, and the characters and their relationships are well developed and, like the rest of the novel, fun to read. Darcy is a strong character, and, while she does at times get sappy around Conn, saying their 'I love you's' (which, normally, would annoy me very much), I didn't mind it all too much in here, and I think it's because I actually liked Darcy and Conn's relationship, and I actually liked Conn himself.

And in the end, while the big conclusion was a bit anticlimactic, I found myself sighing contentedly at the end of The Shadow Society. While it certainly isn't a perfect book, it sure is a fun one, and, for once, I wish there were more to come and this weren't a standalone. One of the few books whose world and characters I'd like to read more of is a standalone. Ha. Go figure.


Does The Shadow Society sound like a book you'd enjoy? Have you been pining at your walls for an ARC? Praying to the gods for a copy? Am I being overly dramatic? Who cares! Now's your chance to win an ARC of The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski! Just enter the giveaway below, and good luck!

(Did you read that as a Billy Mays-esque commercial? Because that's how I read it in my head when I was writing it. Aaaaaanyway...) 

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Giveaway Guidelines:

- Fill out the Rafflecopter form below (if you get points for something you do not do, you will be disqualified).
- You must be 13 years or older to enter the giveaway.
- This giveaway is international.
- When the winner is chosen and announced, I will send him/her an email telling them they've won. If that email is not responded to in 48 hours, another winner will be chosen.


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