These days every time I go to pick up another Paranormal Romance I know I'll end up with some form of vampire, werewolf, zombie or ghost. And while there is nothing wrong any of those types of characters, I wanted something different, creative and imaginative. So when I first discovered The Shadow Society, I was really excited to read a novel that featured an entirely new Paranormal creature: Shades, children of the shadows.
I'm personally picky with the Paranormal Romance genre because it has the biggest habit of falling into tropes that aren't my favorite. At first, I thought that would be The Shadow Society's fate as well. When our main character, Darcy, an orphan with a mysterious past, meets the new boy at school, Conn, they lock eyes and she finds herself thinking about him from that point forward. But then I noticed something. Darcy and Conn started spending good, ol' fashion time together, getting to know each other without claiming their undying love. And just when I thought this would be a simple cutesy novel, betrayals, revelations, and mysteries ensue and I found myself wrapped up in the plot.
If there is one thing that I have to commend Rutkoski on, it's how the novel is crafted around one real life story involving a knife and a fish tank. When Darcy discovers that she is really a Shade from an alternate dimension and that her kind are terrorists, she is heartbroken. All her life she has wanted to know about her past she couldn't seem to remember, but the longer she spends in the alternate division the more she discovers that it's filled with more that just shadows. I could easily sympathize with Darcy and loved how the book was told through her point-of-view. She doesn't always make the best decisions in the novel, but unlike other heroines, I have to give her credit for trying to fix her mistakes.
The highlight of the novel is easily the secondary characters. They were hilarious with vibrant personalities, especially Jims. I LOVED him so hard. I only wish I could have seen a lot more of him and Darcy's friends. Conn, the love interest, was a confusing character for majority of the novel. It's understandable given his role in the plot (which I won't spoil for you even if you beg!), but it made it harder to connect with him. However, I did enjoy the romance and readers can rest assured that insta-love is absent from The Shadow Society. And while it is an important factor in the story, it never drove the plot, which I liked.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Of course, this isn't a perfect novel. There were a few times where the story did slow down significantly and while I wasn't bored, it could be an issue for other readers. I also found the third boy's romantic interests in Darcy a bit unnecessary. She already had two admirers, one who reminded me of Blake from Onyx (if you've read Onyx, you'll know that isn't a compliment to that character), and Conn, the good guy. And no, there wasn't a love triangle. Then there was the issue of the friends somehow finding the alternate dimension and making a life there in such a short amount of time. And finally, I felt that the ending's resolution ended a little too swiftly for my liking after so much build-up.
If someone were to ask me if I'd recommend The Shadow Society, I think I would tell them to sample the first few chapters first. The Shadow Society gives me the same feelings Throne of Glass did in that it's very readable with an interesting premise. It won't change your life, but being a standalone read, it works well for one of those rainy days where you want to read something a little lighter with a satisfying ending.