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.

Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

(Yes, I am aware that this is last week’s topic. I had this post done up but then things happened and I never got to posting it, and as you will see down below I am WAY behind on reviews SO– Here’s a feature on just how behind I am. :P)

So, I talk a LOT about my “have-but-need-to-read” shelf on Goodreads. It’s … long. And I’m behind on reviewing, so I have a LOT of books to get through. Here’s what’s coming at you this fall! …at least, the first ten of them.

1. Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Blog tour time! 😀 This post is coming at you this week, actually, on September 13. No, I don’t actually have it read yet – that’s what I’m going to go do RIGHT NOW, when this post is done. I’m that behind. >.>

2. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Being contacted to do this by the publisher was possibly the happiest day of my life. This hits the blog Sept 17 and I literally couldn’t be more excited. I’ve heard nothing but good things, and it just SOUNDS like the best thing.

3. Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

Another blog tour! This one coming at you Sept 20, and it promises to be awesome as well. Don’t know if you’ve checked it out yet, but it sounds rather Hunger Games-esque–which can either be a good thing or a bad thing, really, but you know. I’m excited, at least!

4. Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

I’ve been sitting on this one fore a while and it’s KILLING me. The review is finally coming out Sept 21 and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve sort of outgrown my dystopian fad for now, but this one still has so much potential I can’t pass it up. (Besides, I’ve been told it’s dystopian but it doesn’t SOUND dystopian.)

5. Crewel by Gennifer Albin

GUYS. GUYS. HAVE YOU NOT HEARD ABOUT THIS BOOK YET? Because now would be a FANTASTIC time to start. Not only am I reviewing this book on Sept 24, but I’m ALSO a part of the Crewel Street Team which is FANTASTIC. I’m so in love with this book that I’m not actually participating for the points thing; I’m just doing it for idea love and worship. I cannot WAIT to read this.

6. The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

I have high, high hopes for this one. It sounds really interesting. Of course, I could do without the “complusive love” bit in the synopsis on Goodreads, but you should all know how I feel about those. And, if you don’t, if you check out my review on Sept 27, you’ll hear about it, I’m sure. I can never NOT comment on insta-love.

7. My Boyfriend Merlin by Priya Ardis

BLOG TOUR AGAIN! I’m reviewing book one of this series on Oct 1, but a whole bunch of other blogs are reviewing and otherwise featuring the two other books in the series as well. Sadly, I couldn’t get a handle on all three of them like I wanted. 😛

8. The Unfailing Light by Robin Bridges

Do you know how awesome it is to have Random House email you and ask you to review an ARC? I know a whole bunch of people will tell you that happens to them all the time, but this is the FIRST time it’s happened to me and EEK! So happy. PLUS, not only am I reviewing this one on Oct 4, on Oct 5 I’ll have an interview with Robin Bridges AND a giveaway of The Unfailing Light coming at you and it will be THE BEST. 😀

9. Katya’s World by Jonathon L. Howard

This sounds darker than my average fare and I LIKE IT. I’ve been looking for something a little different, and I think this could be just the ticket. Review goes live Oct 8!

10. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

I have been sitting on this one for FAR TOO LONG. I cannot wait to read it because it sounds SO SWEET. (Er, that’s a switch from Katya’s World… XD) I’ve heard good things, and I hope to add my own on Oct 12!

Stacking the Shelves #7

Hey guys! For today’s Stacking the Shelves I’m not doing a vlog, mostly because the only books I got this week were eARCs and so I’d rather show you guys the pretty covers right here!

From Edelweiss ~ Victoria Rebels by Carolyn Meyer ~ Goodreads

From NetGalley ~ Cleopatra Ascending by Maureen Lipinski ~ Goodreads

From NetGalley ~ Ironskin by Tina Connolly ~ Goodreads

From NetGalley ~ Crewel by Gennifer Albin ~ Goodreads

From NetGalley ~ Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate ~ Goodreads

From NetGalley ~ The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski ~ Goodreads