Monday, February 13, 2017

Paragraph Reviews: The Shadow Society (Marie Rutkoski) | Countdown (Michelle Rowen)

The Shadow Society  (The Shadow Society #1)
Title: The Shadow Society
Series: standalone
Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Science Fiction
Told: First Person (Darcy), Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (violence, minor torture, some sensuality, a few words of language)
Format Read: ARC (trade)
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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.

*          *          *

This book turned out to be nothing like what I expected going in. I hadn't been impressed with The Winner's Curse so I didn't expect much of this earlier work, but it was surprisingly quite good! Although it began with the extremely overused "girl who appears normal but has a dark secret is drawn to a new mysterious boy at school" opening, after some rather shocking violence and alternate world twists it turned out to be an exciting read with engaging intrigue and action and a really strong female lead. I even rather liked the romance - messy and somewhat intense with a lot of baggage though it was - which is rare for me. The writing wasn't too descriptive with good dialogue and banter, and while not particularly visual I didn't have much difficulty following the movement. If I think about it too hard the parallel universes and Shades didn't make complete sense - neither are explained in great detail, and what details we did get were vague and kind of waved off for the sake of the plot - but it was an interesting and unique idea. Recommend for Contemporary Science Fiction readers as long as they're willing to let the setting slide and just enjoy the story.

Scribble Rating
4 of 5 Scribbles


Title: Countdown
Series: standalone
Author: Michelle Rowen
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Thriller
Told: First Person (Kira), Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (violence, sensuality, some language, life/death situations)
Format Read: Paperback (purchase)
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3 seconds left to live. Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped. 

2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game. 

Kira Jordan survived her family's murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis. 

1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it. 

Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira's psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan's secrets prove evermore deadly, Kira's only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can't escape. 


*          *          *

With its surprise Psi abilities, advanced AI, and dystopian world, this book was nothing like the straight thriller I anticipated. Middling characters and a subpar world left me wanting, and when the deadly game I was reading for ended with still over 100 pages to go I found what little interest I had floundering in too long a rest and romantics period before the teens headed off to "save the world." At Page 245 (of 367), after not picking the book up for almost a week I started a new book instead and pretty much threw in the towel, but after skimming the last chapter I gave it a few weeks distance and then decided I was curious enough to polish it off. Overall not quite engaging enough for my tastes, but lovers of teen dystopian thrillers might enjoy it as a guilty pleasure read.

Scribble Rating
2 of 5 Scribbles

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea that Marie has other books except her Winner's trilogy! So glad you enjoyed The Shadow Society :) Fabulous review!

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles