ARC Review: “The Shadow Society” by Marie Rutkoski

The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

Goodreads | Amazon

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.

3 stars

Thanks to Macmillan Publishing and NetGalley for this eARC! You can get a copy for yourself on October 16th!

Lately, I’ve been very lucky to get my hands on books that started out mediocre but redeemed themselves in the end.

This is not one of those books.

In fact, the first part of this book was hankering for a higher rating. I’ll admit, there was nothing entirely compelling about the characters from the get go, but the world and the plot was engrossing despite myself. I was sucked in and had a hard time finding stopping points for when I had to do things like school and work. This is always a very, very good sign.

I’ve mentioned that I dislike when books start at this really crucial point, only to back up at the beginning of the real first chapter–and that’s what happened here. Still, I soldiered on and was rewarded. I’m an English major (well, that’s half a double major, but I digress), so the whole theme of T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock caused serious love from me. That was a touch I totally wasn’t expecting from this paranormal romance. I was actually really surprised by the plot and the way that twisted, too, but … well, I have a confession:

I totally forgot to reread the blurb before I read it. So, yeah. The whole Shade thing? BLEW MY MIND. (Remind me to never, ever get this backed up on reviews again.)

I did find the concepts of the two different Chicagos difficult to understand, and yeah that was after I figured out what was going on. I felt like I needed a little bit more explanation there. However, the Shade v. humans thing was really well established–as was the Shades themselves–so I didn’t really mind as much because man Shades are COOL.

Given the clarity of the whole Shade thing, I was really invested in the plot, even if the characters were fairly one-dimensional. The romance wasn’t overly terrible or overly exciting, but it fit into the plot nicely and didn’t overpower it. I was humming along, ready to give this sucker about four stars or so.

Then some things right before the ending happened. And my suspension of disbelief was broken and I was tossed from the story, quite rudely.

The problem is, I can’t tell you what happened.

The point of the matter is, though, that some fairly improbable things occurred towards then end, and then things fell together far too easily. The ending was confusing and entirely unrealistic. There is no WAY Darcy and Co could have what happened to them after all the tension and fighting in the rest of the book. There is just NO. WAY. After the seamless run of the rest of the book, I was greatly disappointed and the rating of the book dropped an entire star. I don’t even understand if the ending was setting up for a sequel or not. Goodreads certainly doesn’t have any information on such a thing, though that certainly isn’t gospel. All in all, the ending turned an enjoyable book into a confusing one and left me with a very different impression than the one I had for most of the book.


3 thoughts on “ARC Review: “The Shadow Society” by Marie Rutkoski

    • Gretchen @ My Life is a Notebook says:

      I always respond to emails to talk about books WITH spoilers. 😉 I just won’t give them out here. Thank you! I liked the plot a lot – very original!

  1. Jeez, what a curveball! I had a similar experience with a different book recently. I still want to read The Shadow Society, but at least now I’ll be prepared.

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