All Things Urban Fantasy's Reviews > Dark Companion

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
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Sep 01, 2011

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bookshelves: reviewed-by-julia, earc

DARK COMPANION is an intricate book that mixes a variety of tones and plot lines. The first half sucked me in, giving me confidence in Jane’s steady and methodical nature, set me up to begin worrying that her hard past would blind her to the joys and dangers right in front of her. The central conflict is which view of the world will win out: Jane’s logic and equations or her friends’ magic and poetry… and Marta Acosta’s answer to that question is the most complicated thing of all.

I love the first half of this book; Jane Williams is as captivating and vulnerable as her literary ancestress, Jane Eyre. I love that magic is not assured and that I had no idea how things were going to unfold, either romantically with Jack and Lucky, or plot-wise with the missing women and eerie dynamics of Birch Grove. Once these questions began to be answered, however, the story became less tightly structured. It felt like two books in one, with scenes and details that were wonderful but that didn’t fit the flow of the narrative. The mystery came apart in a very Gothic fashion, the romance resolved almost too neatly, and while I appreciated the future laid out before Jane, I couldn’t get a handle on whether the story was building to a close or to a sequel.

DARK COMPANION carries with it the seeds of several good stories and details that I will enjoy mulling over in the future, but the book itself doesn’t manage to present all if these seeds in particularly polished manner. The writing and the characterization are wonderful, but the narrative flow wanders and breaks apart in the end. Of course, this just leaves room for me to imagine my own ending for the story, and Jane is definitely a character that I’ll enjoy returning to, if only in daydreams.

Sexual Content: Kissing, petting, discussions about sex.
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