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 . . .
Man, I’m bummed about this one. After practically devouring The Winner’s Curse (also by Marie Rutkoski), I was so excited to see that she had another book already out that looked right up my alley. Urban fantasy? Check. Badass heroine? Check. Hot dude who secretly isn’t the nice guy he claims to be? Check. But unfortunately, I just couldn’t really get into this one, despite wanting to so, so bad.
The Shadow Society tells the story of Darcy, a girl who was orphaned outside a fire department when she was five, and has always felt a little out of place. When the new guy at school takes a special interest in her, she can’t believe her luck! As they get closer, things seem to be going great, until…well…it turns out that she was right all along. She’s not normal at all, and Conn’s definitely not who he seems. And thus begins the wild ride alternate universes, infiltrating a secret society of Shades, and fighting tooth and nail to stay alive.
At first I was definitely digging this book. Darcy was likable enough, her friends were pretty funny, and the premise of her being something other than human kept me hooked. But after a while, there were just too many YA cliches that I couldn’t get past. Like the hot new guy takes an interest in the not-so-special normal girl. Which was fine, once you find out that the real reason he’s interested in her is because it’s his job to hunt down Shades, which is what Darcy is. But the thing is, his priorities change so fast and the budding relationship between them just felt so rushed. They become closer while he’s undercover because they’re working on a joint English project, and that’s all fine and good. But you never really experience that firsthand because time lapses pretty quick and the next thing you know they’re best friends and hanging out all the time. And then super fast he’s revealed to be the enemy, which in the book isn’t actually that soon because they’ve known each other for a few weeks already, but it feels fast cause it happens over the course of like, 3 chapters. But by that point they’re in love, and despite being the IBI (interdimensional bureau of investigation)’s best agent, he pretty much doesn’t give a crap about his job anymore and wants to keep Darcy safe. Yikes. Way too much insta-love for me!
The plot was slightly better, but again, some of the beginning events felt like they happened too quickly without a lot of explanation. It kind of seemed like Ms. Rutkoski just really wanted to get to a certain part of the book, so she was just moving really quickly through the more…boring parts? I guess? Even though to me, I would’ve liked to learn more about the agency Conn works for, and just more about the society in general. Oh well.
Anyway, I ended up DNF-ing this about halfway through, just because I was having a hard time staying focused and forcing myself to keep reading. I’m sure there’ll definitely be tons of fans of this book, but it felt a little too high school for me, with not enough substance to the plot to sustain it. And again, I’m SUPER bummed about this! I absolutely adored The Winner’s Curse, so I know what Ms. Rutkoski is capable of, but this one just didn’t deliver for me.
Date Published: October 6, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux