The Shadow Society

The Shadow Society

by Marie Rutkoski


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The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250034243
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 09/24/2013
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 348,300
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

MARIE RUTKOSKI is the author of The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders. She is a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance drama, children's literature, and creative writing. She lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt




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.

I liked Lakebrook. Sure, suburbia is soulless, but Lakebrook is a thirty-minute train ride from Chicago, with its skyscraping steel and wide pavements that feel like freedom. And, very important, Marsha had agreed to renew my stay with her for another year. This decision might have been inspired by the money the state sent to keep me clothed and fed. I wasn’t complaining. Marsha was a little kooky, but she was also the only foster parent who hadn’t gotten rid of me at the first opportunity.

I followed the yellow buses wheezing their way into the Lakebrook High parking lot and watched students swarm by the entrances. The air was heavy with the tarry smell of fresh asphalt as I walked up to my little clan.

“Daaaarcy!” Jims waggled a pack of Slim Jims—hence the nickname—stuck one tube of beef jerky in his mouth, and offered the rest to me. “Want some?”

“Um, gross,” I said. “Vegetarian here, remember?”

“I thought maybe you’d come to your senses over the summer.”

Lily lit a cigarette, inhaled, exhaled, and passed it to me, lipsticky pink. “Want some?”

I rolled my eyes. I hate, hate, hate smoke, and Lily knows it.

“Want some of this, then?” Raphael rested one finger on his chest in deliberate imitation of the Spanish soap operas we watched at his house. He looked the part of a lead: cinnamon skin, wavy dark hair. But the gesture was a joke. A bluff.

I stared him down. “Why do you all insist on giving me things I don’t want?”

Raphael pretended to look wounded, Lily shrugged, and Jims said, holding his Slim Jim like a cigar, Groucho Marks style: “Because no one knows the square root of pi, because a stegosaurus is no match for a tyrannosaurus, because we always tease the ones we love, and you, Sunshine, we love. Some things are universally true.”

Lily tilted her head, inspecting me. “Darcy doesn’t look like sunshine. More as if someone drew her with pen and ink. Straight black lines. Pale features.”

“I was using irony,” Jims said. “It’s meant to be inappropriate. The opposite of what you expect. You know, like getting hit by an ambulance. Or like a hot dog vendor drowning in a vat of ketchup.”

“Your mind lives in strange places,” I told him.

“True. But you all enjoy visiting.”

“I also enjoy a jaunt through a haunted house once a year, come Halloween.”

Lily tapped her Hello Kitty watch. “Ten minutes till the bell. Time to get down to business.”

Raphael reached into the back pocket of his jeans and pulled out a folded white card. “Here’s mine.”

We passed around our schedules, except for Jims, who, being a senior, shared no classes with the rest of us. I was taking Art II and Biology with Lily and Pre-Calc with Raphael. PE, European History, and AP English were wide, vast deserts with nobody.

Right before the bell, when the noise of hundreds of people laughing, talking, squealing, and bickering had swelled into waves, I felt the back of my neck prickle. I was being watched. I knew this even before I slowly turned around, knew it like I knew I had ten fingers and ten toes.

There was a boy standing in the shadow of an oak tree. His stance seemed easy, even lazy. But his expression was electric, tense, taut as a corded wire I could tightrope-walk across.

He was dressed simply. Jeans and a white T-shirt. If he intended to blend in, he utterly failed. His beauty wasn’t my type, but it was undeniable. A cool, angular face. Hair the color of golden wheat, shorn brutally short. Lips so defined they could have been carved by a deft knife.

He lifted his chin a little, acknowledging that I had caught him mid-stare. A smile flickered at the corner of his mouth. Some might have interpreted this as flirtation. I knew better. It was a warning. The smirk of a gunslinger in one of those old orange-brown westerns, as if tumbleweeds were skittering down the parking lot between us and he was daring me to fire the first shot.

Anxiety twisted in my stomach. I had no idea why I had caught his attention. But whatever the reason, it meant trouble.


Text copyright © 2012 by Marie Rutkoski

Customer Reviews

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The Shadow Society 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was sent this book for free for a review quite some time ago. I had it in my Library and on my to do list to read, but thinking that it was going to be like Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments, I kept setting it a side. Now that I have read it I can say that it is a pleasant surprise. Darcy is a beautifully flawed character, she has a heart breaking story that doesn't just hold you're interest but makes you want to know what happened to her. She grows through the book and finds that she has what she has wanted all her life. Conn and Darcy's relationship was intriguing from the beginning, He knew he shouldn't fall for Darcy but couldn't help it. He was hot and cold through the book but giving the circumstance I feel anyone would have acted the same way in his shoes. The book left off with a great ending that could potentially lead to a series. I have came across a lot of books in my profession and this is a breath of fresh air.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story flowed with always something happening. Never dull. To bad it's only one book. There could be so many more adventures between worlds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was skeptical at first but i ended up loving this enchanting story withtwists around each corner
KaribbeanIsland1 More than 1 year ago
**4 Stars** MY OVERVIEW: A creative inter-dimensional, abnormal human story. I really enjoyed how different this book was from everything else I have read. And I also liked that just when you thought you knew what was happening… nope… you don’t.  PROS: I really enjoyed Darcy. She had a rough life, but it made her a better person. She wasn’t a whiney teenager who blames the world for her situation. She is a very well written strong heroine. I’m not normally a huge fan of the very strong heroine cause they normally aren’t written very believable. They tend to be over-done. But Darcy was done perfectly! CONS: Orion was very annoying. His character seemed like it kept bouncing between over-protective and controlling. He just didn’t feel as nailed down as the rest of the characters in the book.  I am hoping that questions were left unanswered because there is going to be another book. But there was one hint of something more between Orion and Conn, and I just wish that it was either explained fully (if there isn’t going to be another book) or a little more information given for better “cliff-hanger” if another book is in the works.  MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Overall, I really enjoyed this story. I actually really hope it becomes a series, as it would be very interesting to find out more about what is going to happen between the IBI and Shadow Society.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Darcy Jones doesn't remember anything before the day she was abandoned at a Chicago firehouse. She was five years old. Since then, Darcy has been bounced from foster home to foster home--never quite fitting in, never quite putting down roots. Things finally seem to be different on Darcy's first day back at Lakebrook High. Her second year at the same school, Darcy finally has friends and even a foster mother who seems keen to keep Darcy around; all simple reasons for Darcy to be happy. Then a new boy arrives at the school and eyes Darcy as if she were an enemy, maybe even a threat. Conn McCrea is both fascinating and frightening as he insinuates himself into Darcy's life. As she gets to know Conn she also begins to discover strange truths about herself and a world that shouldn't exist--a world where the Great Chicago Fire never happened and creatures called Shades have created an organization called the Shadow Society intent on eliminating humans. Darcy always wanted to be part of something, to belong somewhere. But she may have more than she bargained for with Conn and infiltrating the Shades in The Shadow Society (2012) by Marie Rutkoski. The Shadow Society is Rutkoski's first young adult novel. She is also the author of the popular Kronos Chronicles series for younger readers. Part fantasy, part alternate history The Shadow Society is an evocative novel that is as haunting as it is enchanting. Rutkoski masterfully brings not one but two versions of Chicago to life on the page with characters that are charmingly real and entertaining. While the story is grounded in Darcy's journey to find the truth about herself, the novel also is refreshingly grounded with strong friendships. (Conn and Darcy's complicated relationship doesn't hurt either.) A well-realized world and completely delightful characters come together with a gripping, surprising plot to create a winning combination in The Shadow Society. Possible Pairings: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the world and idea. Great story.
Books4Tomorrow More than 1 year ago
As I have always been fascinated by the possible existence of other dimensions and dimensional splits, The Shadow Society both stimulated and entertained me.  When Darcy Jones catches Conn McCrea staring at her on the first day of school, it gives her an ominous feeling. Little does she know that Conn's presence will mean adventure, fear, betrayal and even, love. Utterly different from anything I've read before, this paranormal romance completely captivated me. The parallel dimension in which most of this story is set, is cleverly and creatively designed. Highly advanced transport systems and futuristic technology combined with old-fashioned architecture, and no tv service in this alternate Chicago, brings an imaginative variety of the old and the new to this book. Darcy is a wonderfully realistic main character. Brave and loyal, often impulsive and sometimes really distrustful, she is the kind of character with whom most young girls would be able to identify. When she finds out that she isn't exactly human, she takes it quite well and focus on discovering the truth about her past as well as making the best of a tricky situation.  Conn McCrea, the male protagonist, is in two minds as to where his loyalty lies until he realizes that not all shades and, hence, members of The Shadow Society are evil. This, however, creates a wonderfully realistic misunderstanding between Darcy and Conn, driving the story to a deeply emotional level.  For once, thank goodness, the foster parent in this book is a good, level-headed and forgiving person. Although The Shadow Society is filled with adventure and romance, it is also a tale of friendship, trust and second chances. (Ellen Fritz)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some people gush about this book. Were we even reading the same book? This story was stupid. Plain and simple. 1.Conn is supposed to have grown up hating Darcy and her kind, but he is quick to trust her and she is quick to trust him. Their relationship is not developed, it just happens. 2. This book is freaking predictable. It has all the cliches. Two enemies that fall in love, a failed love triangle, a fall out between a couple based on misunderstanding. 3. Okay I figured I could survive the how unoriginal this book was but I couldn't get past the ending. This book was building to a climax, a final battle and I thought the book might redeem itself. I was wrong. The conflict ended up being a non-conflict. Everything ended nicely and tied up with a little pink bow, resolved in about five seconds. WFT. What was the point of this book? There was none. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good read! Totally recomend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone allways asked me what my favorite book was. I always had the same answer. I read too much to have a favorite. But the second I saw thhe cover I was intreaged by it. I read it in two days. Wouldve been less if it werent for school amd chores but I lived every minute i spent reading this book. I literally couldnt put it down. I was hoping that it was a series but its not, sadly. But still a wonderful read and worth every penny. Enjoy! I know you will. Marie is a wonderfful author that i hope to read more of!
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski was a read that quickly captured my attention.  Main protagonist, Darcy Jones, can’t remember how she ended up at the front of a fire station at the age of 5.  She doesn’t remember her past, she doesn’t remember her parents, she can’t remember who she was… Her life hasn’t been easy either.  Moving from foster home to foster home, group home to group home, Darcy knows what it’s like to start all over again.  But this time will be different.  Her current foster mother, Marsha, has agreed to continue having Darcy under her care, which means Darcy doesn’t have to make new friends!  She can stay at the same school, and feel normal for once. But this school year already promises to be different with the appearance of a new student, Conn.  After being made partners for an English project, things between Darcy and Conn start to heat up, until truth about Conn’s appearance and who he really is comes to light.  The life that Darcy thought she knew is nothing like she thought it was.  Darcy is not exactly…human.  She is what is known as, a Shade.  One who is able to ghost (disappear) at will, who exist only in another dimension,  and who are considered murders and hated by all humans. With the options presented to her by the IBI (Interdimensional Bureau of Investigation) and by her own people in the Shadow Society, Darcy is playing a dangerous game of who’s side is she’s on.  When she discovers a plot that will kill many, Darcy must find a way to keep everyone (both Shade and human) safe…but how?  With a whole new way of life, Darcy is not quite sure who she can trust, and who she can trust her heart to. When I started reading The Shadow Society, I was quickly absorbed into this world created by author, Marie Rutkoski.  I really enjoyed the way in which she introduced us to the world of the Shades, and how Darcy comes to learn what, or who, she is.  I enjoyed the early moments between Conn and Darcy.  Moments that were cute and made you smile and witness two people falling for each other…until that dream is RIPPED right out of ya!  One moment I’m all “awwww this is such a sweet scene”, and not a moment later *BAM!*, the author throws you against a brick wall with some unravelling news.  And it’s at this point where I was like “What the heck is going on here?”. And it’s at this moment of surprise where things start to get interesting in the book.  Within these pages is a tale filled with action and some mystery.   I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next, and who would reveal a new shock moment.  But then there are moments where I wasn’t quite sure what was going on!  One moment I was following the story and am one with the moment, and then all of a sudden, the story goes off on a different tangent…and I was left behind.  Then it turned into a game of catch up and trying to figure out how I ended up from point “A” to point “B”. The sudden changes in the events also didn’t sit well with me, or rather the follow up to a sinister scheme.  At one point, we find out that a certain someone is really out for one thing, and wants more with Darcy.  But when his affections are kicked to the curb, we see a whole different side to him…well, more like a glimpse really.  We don’t really get to see how Darcy’s decision affects him.  I wanted to see more of this evil that is brewing up deep inside, but instead, he just disappears. I will admit that there were a few sweet and tender moments between Conn and Darcy, and I loved seeing this soft side of Conn.  It reminded me of the drawing scene in Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.  I really loved the chemistry between these two characters, but I found Conn to be too hot and cold.  I understand his inner struggles within himself, but still… All in all, I did enjoy The Shadow Society.  It was different, the world created was one that I would love to continue to be absorbed into, and characters that may (or may not) grab your attention.  A strong start that kind of tapered off for me in the end, but still worth the read.
alicialovesbooks More than 1 year ago
Read it in less than 4 hours. Absolutely brilliant!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite book. I've read it about 12 times and I can't get enough of it. I am just sad she did not make a sequel.
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
The Shadow Society starts off with a normal girl going to school, hanging out with friends, and pursuing her hobby in drawing. However then you find out she’s adopted, has moved from one foster family to another, and also that some crazy, weird things have been happening to her. Then she meets the guy. Yes, the guy that appears in every book and sometimes you love him and sometimes you don’t and unfortunately I didn’t like him all that much. The plot then kicks off and a ton of things happen in these 400 or so pages. I’ll just discuss the characters then the plot in the next paragraph. The main protagonist, Darcy Jones, has a mystery revolving around her past. She doesn’t remember her first 5 years and doesn’t know what has become of her parents. Conn, the guy she meets and can’t seem to get out of her mind is somehow implicated in all this. Darcy finds out there is a parallel earth and is thrown head first into it. She then has to become a spy against her own kind and this is when everything gets complicated. I honestly felt that too much too soon happened in the story. Her and Conn, then his betrayal (its in the synopsis, not a spoiler), then her being a spy, then ALL the missing pieces that somehow connect everything but you just can’t find. It was great the first 300 pages, but then it got draggy. Recently I’ve been reading many 400+ novels that could have been reduced less and enjoyed more. Also the ending was just too convenient, too easy, and too comfortable. I know many reviewers had the same problem. I hoped the author somehow shocked us but I felt the easy way out was taken. Plot wise, many things happen as I mentioned earlier. Many of them were unique, such as the parallel worlds, but other things were left unexplained and that frustrated me to the extreme. Other parts of the plot were very predictable, others were too comfortable, and others heart tugging. However, I did enjoy the plot, with all of its craziness, I did like the direction it went, and I especially loved the relationship between Darcy and her foster mother. Even though this relationship barely occupied any pages but it really showed me Darcy’s vulnerability and that is what made me like her. There was also a very brief love triangle that I choose to ignore. All in all I did like the overall novel. Was it memorable? Not really, but I did enjoy it in the end. If you are a sci-fi fan then you should check it out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So cool very
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When is the next book ir is this just a novel, woukd be a great series!!!!