In the past I had always had expectations about books. Expectations that were based on the blurb, the cover and the reviews I previously read about the said book. However, the majority of the time I was left disappointed after reading the story. However, I stopped getting my hopes up and with The Shadow Society I didn't even know what the plot was about (I had the book on my Kindle for quite some time and due to my Swiss cheese memory I forgot about it). I dived into The Shadow Society without prejudices and perhaps this is what made the book fresh and interesting to read.
We get to meet the heroine, Darcy Jones, which is not even her real name because she was abandoned as a child by a Chicago fire house and cannot remember anything before she was 5 years old. She lives with her foster parent, goes to school, hangs out with her friends, but there is this always present feeling that she does not belong in this world. One day she locks eyes with a new guy in school, and we get swooped into a world of mystery, suspense, betrayal and excitement! Because, drum roll please, Darcy is not even human, Conn is not your ordinary guy, and there is a parallel world where the Chicago fire never happened! And that is Darcy-pardon me-Skylark's real home. I shall say no more, because that would be spoiling and I don't want to be a person who spoils. People who shout book and film spoilers should be put to jail because they're committing a crime!
I don't really have much to say about the book other than I loved it. The plot was fresh and not something you encounter in every other YA paranormal book you pick up, you know what I mean? This is an original recipe and the final product was delicious! Well, it could have used a pinch of this and a dash of that, but the writing! Oh my Colin Farrell, the writing was something I wanted to lick all my ten fingers (and the bowl) after I was finished with the book! It had this light sense to it, this flowy feeling that made you soft inside and didn't let you stop until you had the last bite of that decadent cake, even though there was deeper meaning under the surface and between the lines. Marie Rutkoski is great with words.
Darcy was an interesting character and there was never a dull moment with her. What I liked best about her was her rationality - she knew what was right and wrong and didn't act like those whiny self-absorbed, insecure, too-stupid-to-live teenage girls that we usually encounter in YA and would like nothing better than to throttle them and throw them under the bus.
The relationship between Darcy and Conn developed slowly but deliciously. And let's forget that he betrayed her and handcuffed her (not in a kinky way) and had her transported to another world, where she was imprisoned and tortured with fire. They were cute together. And speaking of cute - I wouldn't mind sinking my teeth into Cass. He was portrayed beautifully - his deceit, struggle to remain true to himself and loyal to his organization and beliefs while falling madly in love with someone he considered his worst enemy. He's the kind of a literary guy I crush on!
And now for the cherry on the top - Darcy's friends were funny, loyal, ass-kicking sons of... mothers whom I would steal for myself in a second! Cass describes them the best:
"There are different ways of hurting people. Raphael would go the most obvious route, of course. He would fight with fists. James-no, you call him Jims, don't you?-has a gift for psychological warfare. As for Lily, she is perhaps the most dangerous of the three, because she's decision maker, and the others will follow her lead. You couldn't have chosen a better army."
There were only a couple of tiny little minuscule things that bothered me; like the fact that it wasn't explained why the two universes exist and how they came into existence, and the part about Shadows and who they were, why they were the way they were. Marie, you've got some more 'splainin' to do! I think this is supposed to be a stand-alone book, but at times it seems like it's the first instalment of the series.
I don't know how in the world I managed to turn this book review into a dessert review, but it was a real treat to read, plus it was calories free! And the cover, do I even need to mention how gorgeous it is? I guess it goes without saying.