The Shadow Society, by Marie Rutkoski

10356760Darcy Jones doesn’t have any memory from before she was abandoned at a Chicago firehouse when she was five years old. Since then, she’s lived in a string of foster homes, and has only recently stayed in one long enough to make friends and feel like she’s in an actual home. But then a new boy, Conn, shows up at school, and he seems to both hate her and to be intrigued by her. Darcy has no idea that he is from an alternate world, and that he is there to arrest her as part of a terrorist organization from that world…

This was a weird book. That description doesn’t give it justice. There are two worlds – the one we live in, and the one Conn is from, where the Great Chicago Fire never happened. In Conn’s world, there are a group of creatures called Shades. They all look alike, and they have the ability to “ghost,” or disappear, leaving only their shadows behind. They are hunted by people, and therefore rebel by plotting acts against people in revenge. Supposedly, the Great Chicago Fire in our world happened because Shades were being burned by humans, and then somehow everyone just forgot and/or didn’t pass along the memories of Shades that were now gone. (There is no information about Shades existing, in either world, in other cities.)

Darcy is one of these Shades, except she’s lived as a human in a world that doesn’t know about Shades since she was five. She had no idea why she’s being arrested, or what the world she’s being pulled into is like. She makes a deal with the interworld police, of which Conn is a member, to infiltrate the Shadow Society and find out what their terrorist plans are, in return for the freedom to go back to her own world and live as a human amongst her family and friends. But once she enters the new society, she learns more about how not-black-and-white this issue is, and she starts to remember her childhood, and how to ghost again.

So yeah, like I said, weird book. While the plot sounds weird, it was actually pretty interesting, and the relationship between Darcy and Conn – which continues to grow – was pretty stimulating. On the other hand, the world-building was lacking (as I noted above, there’s no mention of Shades elsewhere, or where they come from, or why they exist, etc), and all the dialog and friendship things were stilted. It was as if the author was writing from a time period twenty years ago, and with only the vaguest idea of how teenagers (or people in general) talk to each other. There were, for example, “your mamma” jokes, which are about twenty years old, and this was supposed to be contemporary (book published in 2012). There were also these random red herrings – like the popular girl coming to the alternate world with Darcy’s three friends, which seemed like setup of some sort, but it turned out she just happened to be there, with absolutely no purpose to the story at all – which were annoying.

So I give it a middle-of-the-road review. Fun, but forgettable.

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About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
This entry was posted in 2013, Prose, Young Adult and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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