November 12, 2012

REVIEW: The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

Title: The Shadow Society
Author: Marie Rutkoski - Website | Twitter | Facebook!
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Format: Netgalley eARC* 416 pages
Rating: 5/5
Get it: Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository

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 

 My thoughts, feelings, and reactions.
I didn’t know what I was getting into when I opened up The Shadow Society and I certainly wasn’t prepared for all the elements in this book. One thing is for sure and that’s the sheer amount of amazing this book has. Marie Rutkoski creates a novel that is empowering, thought provoking and risk-taking. She takes a girl missing her past and weaves her life into an adventurous, dark, and glorious alternate world. 

The brilliance of Rutkoski’s creation of this world is evident in the way she described the city in great, dazzling detail. Rutkoski explains the origins of this other dimension--the creation of the split, the start of the war between humans and shades, the ghosting abilities and so much more--giving a good, solid foundation overall. The IBI and the Shadow Society along with their inner-workings are an interesting aspect of the book that are also explored even further. This alternate world that was nearly parallel, but still different to present day Chicago was vast, beautiful and filled with mysteries not so unknown to humans. It was slightly familiar and new all at once. In this world there are unthinkable inventions and innovations that are imaginable. This world had powerful human beings that are protective and severe and an underground Society with their own harshness and cold cut realities. This world was more than fascinating; it left me breathless

The protagonist, Darcy Jones seemed like a simple girl, but it was painstakingly obvious that she was different and unlike any other. Deep inside of herself Darcy knew she didn’t quite fit in with everyone else. Darcy had an immense amount of spunk and snark to her personality, but she had an underlying brokenness and vulnerability hidden beneath. Darcy goes through so much pain, betrayal, fear and hurt, but she continued to fight and survive for herself, for the people around her, and for the ones she loved most. What I loved about Darcy was her ability to appreciate her friends and to forgive and give second chances. She saw things differently; the good, the bad and everything in between that. She was loyal and true to herself from the beginning.

The romance in The Shadow Society is just a piece of a huge part. The feelings developing between Darcy and Conn was so cute to read. These two started off wonderfully and had to go through some hoops. They were tragic, heartbreaking but also lovely too. Their romance was a like a small fire that needed stoking and care all the time. It was a fragile thing that can easily be wiped away, but it burned and thrived. I loved the way Darcy and Conn were able to open each other’s eyes and find common ground. They ended up giving each other exactly what the other needed. 

Rutkoski does an excellent job of telling a story that leaves you in the dark in the beginning, but keeps you engaged and enticed so you want to read more. Her writing is pristine and succinct; it grabs attention and has an addition of wittiness that is unforgettable. She clearly builds up this extraordinary world and gives us characters that not only stand out, but are easy to love.  The best part was the depth in which Rutkoski developed Darcy’s character; I really got to know and experience that raw emotion from her. I especially loved how the story just wasn’t about romance or two groups fighting, but a story about flaws, the gray area of right and wrong, acceptance, tolerance, and being able to work together while setting hatred and differences aside. 

Overall, The Shadow Society was a beautiful, well-written read. It has a kick-butt heroine, a staggering romance, and an original storyline. Rutkoski created this fictitious novel and made it realistic and genuine.

*Thanks to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for sending a copy for review


  1. Wii, I'm SO very glad I already have a copy of this. I would be in a great hurry to get one after reading your review! I love a story that is revealed slowly, by an author with a good sense of pacing.
    Wonderful review!

  2. How have I not heard of this until now? It sounds exactly like something I would enjoy, and it sounds great! Fantastic review.

    Is this book a part of a series, or is it a standalone?

    1. Thanks so much! The Shadow Society is a standalone :)

  3. I love how many standalones there are coming out! I can't wait to read this one too.

  4. I have heard such good things about this one and I'm so happy to hear that it's a standalone! Nice to know that for once a beautiful cover isn't deceiving :) Excellent review, love! x

  5. The Shadow Society sounds great! I wasn't sure about buying this one, but your review convinced me. Amazing review :)


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! You rock :] <3