{Review & Upcoming Giveaway Opportunity} THE SHADOW SOCIETY by Marie Rutkoski

Stop back at A Backwards Story this weekend for a huge giveaway!
Enterto win THE SHADOW SOCIETY and five other autographed novels!!

I'll also be attempting to live tweet from the event for the first time.  Wish me luck!

Happy Book {Week} to 
by Marie Rutkoski!!!

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

MY FIRST DAY BACK AT LAKEBROOK HIGH seemed innocent enough.  I walked toward the beginning of my junior year in a fine spirit, scuffing my combat boots along the hot pavement.  I was happy for a simple reason.  For once, I wouldn't be the new girl, and I had friends.  Sometimes being able to scrape a hard red chair up to a lunch table with the handful of people who accepted me was all I wanted.  It was my second year at the same school.  It was a personal record.

Little did I know that someone would try to take this and so much else away from me.
(pg. 3, US Hardcover 1st Edition)

Good news, bookworms!  In a YA world littered with series and cliffhangers, THE SHADOW SOCIETY is that rare species in the wild known as a stand-alone novel.  (Oh, ahh!) Marie Rutkoski ties things up in such a way that readers will be satisfied, yet there are traces of possibilities in the event she decides to re-open this world in the future.  Either way, readers will be satisfied with the overall outcome by the time the last page is turned.

The novel opens with a girl named Darcy who has spent her life being bounced from one foster home to the next, never remembering the incident that took her parents away from her.  One day at school, Darcy mees new boy Conn, and while long-term YA readers know to look for insta-love, there's something off about Conn.  She feels something darker lying within him and is wary around him.  This is not a story of love at first sight, which instantly becomes clear when, after working on a school project together, Conn arrests Darcy, calls her a Shade, and brings her to an alternate version of Chicago she never knew existed.  Suddenly, Darcy finds herself learning more about herself, her heritage, and the journey that made her grow up believing she was a normal human being.  When told she comes from a line of terrorists and asked to double-cross them for the good of humanity, she goes undercover, only to realize that not everything is as it seems.  In a foreign world, never knowing which side to actually trust, Darcy must understand her past in order to embrace her future.

There are so many small touches in THE SHADOW SOCIETY that make it special and unique.  It's interesting in the fact that the book starts off on an ordinary, almost-expected note. The story goes where readers expect it will, but just when they feel they have the pacing down, Rutkoski bends the rules and everything changes. What was once contemporary is now sci-fi, and a unique world opens up. I love the fact that Rutkoski brings in historical aspects such as the Chicago Fire and merges it with traditional sci-fi world-splitting in a non-traditional way. I've never seen lore quite like what's introduced in THE SHADOW SOCIETY, and once the novel opens up, it was easy to become completely invested in the journey.

I liked the way Rutkoski built up Shades, creatures described as, "A nightmare.  Shades look human, but certainly are not.  They can become incorporeal at will, and have used that against us, and more" (pg. 86, e-ARC edition).  This concept reminds me a tiny bit of upcoming novel THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR by Mindee Arnett (based on its summary alone, as I haven't read it yet.  The two are completely different, but the ability to slink and creep and be more sinister when the need suits you echoes in both of these, and as soon as I finished THE SHADOW SOCIETY, I wanted to read my ARC of THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR despite having no time to do so!).  I also love the way Rutkoski spends so much time with an English assignment Darcy and Conn work on together featuring the classic T.S. Eliot poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."  There are some great scenes where they're forming ideas for what will become their final project, and seeing it described as the pieces come together is lush and one of my favorite visuals in the entire book.

While there are some clichĂ©s in THE SHADOW SOCIETY and the strings are tied a little more cleanly than I normally like, there are so many unique aspects of the book that it remains memorable and fresh.  There are so many small touches that make the book whole, which too many authors forget to include, and I loved the addition of history even as the sci-fi elements strove to pull me outside my comfort zone.  There's so much to enjoy that the book will appeal to many different demographics when it come to the readers it brings in.
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

This cover deserves a double-take!  It's put together in such a way that it looks as though there is a world above a city, with someone walking on air and casting a shadow from the sky.  It's actually quite genius, because it portrays so much of what this novel is about, while revealing nothing but intrigue on first glance!
I love the font used and the way the S, H, and D curve, as well as the way the word SHADOW is more transparent than the other words!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: Out October 16, 2012
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan
Received: Received for Review
(But also Purchased!)
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.


  1. Glad you enjoyed The Shadow Society I also really loved this book, it actually helped pull me out a reading slump. I'm bummed though the ARC I read just has a black cover because the cover wasn't finalized, guess I will have to go buy a finished copy for the shelf ^^


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