Giselle's Reviews > Dark Companion

Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
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's review
Oct 08, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: arc, ebook

After being brought back to life from an accident that killed her, Jane is left with no memory of her childhood, and no parents. A foster child in a run-down town of Helmsdale, Jane can't refuse when a scholarship to an elite all-girl school is offered. She gets living expenses and her own place to live. It all seems so unreal, and it definitely feels… bizarre.

Dark Companion is different from anything I've ever read. It's a Gothic novel with a dark vibe, sweet romance, and original plot twists. When I met Jane, the protagonist, I found her a bit awkward and strange. She was raised in foster homes in a decrepit town and has only recently learned to speak proper English. I was a bit apprehensive about what kind of character she would be and how it would affect the story. But once she gets to Birch Grove Academy, Jane makes a few friends, starts getting out of her shell, and becomes a very enjoyable, sophisticated character. She is not afraid to speak her mind; she makes her intentions and feelings clear and I admired that about her. Her friend Mary Violet is easily the funnest character in the novel. She is absolutely hilarious with her quirky poetry and sarcastic sense of humor. Lucky and his brother, Jack, are the only guys on campus - the headmistress's sons. I was never sure which one Jane was romantically fond of, but I was glad that I was rooting for the right one. I liked them both. Jack is more arrogant, yet charming, while Lucky is the outgoing, if a bit strange, one.

The blurb of Dark Companion gives out an eerie feeling but without a lot of actual plot details. Although perfect to avoid spoilers and set the right mood, it left me unsure of what to expect. Once inside its pages, I was completely thrown off my game - not in a bad way, it was just so different and unique. Above all else, I was surprised by the dark Gothic mood of the story, which was great because I'm a big fan and loved nearly every Gothic mystery I've had a chance to read. The "Birch Grove secret" is a lot different from what I envisioned. It is undeniably strange, but also very interesting with a touch of realism to it - as in: in our world. (I even Googled!). However, I did find that once the secret is revealed, the story takes a more haphazard course. A lot of plot twists and turns are exposed in a manner than left me a bit overwhelmed. The ending did redeem it a little: It ends sweetly with a resolved feel and a good outlook to the future.

Dark Companion is a book that I don't think will be for everyone; it calls for a certain audience. Be prepared for Gothic-type mysteries, unusual plot elements and an old-world feel. Fortunately, I found myself enthralled by it's eccentricity and fully enjoyed it.

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Reading Progress

October 8, 2011 – Shelved
October 8, 2011 – Shelved as: arc
October 26, 2011 – Started Reading
October 26, 2011 – Shelved as: ebook
October 26, 2011 –
page 1
October 27, 2011 –
October 27, 2011 –
October 28, 2011 –
October 29, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by ~Tina~ (new)

~Tina~ This sounds really good! Great review!

Giselle Thanks Tina!

Anna (Literary Exploration) I'm getting this one!!!

Giselle Anna wrote: "I'm getting this one!!!"

Ooh yay! It's very different. I'm curious to see what you make of it!

Anna (Literary Exploration) I'm excited for sure!

message 6: by Marina (new) - added it

Marina Antunes Ummm...Am I the only one who thinks the opening sentence of your review is a MAJOR spoiler? The book description goes to great pains to not get into details and one sentence in and I feel like part of the mystery has been ruined. :(

message 7: by Giselle (last edited Apr 04, 2012 05:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Giselle Actually no, that is told in the first few pages of the book. She had a near death accident (she died for a few mins) when she was young and was brought back to life. It's never a mystery, it's a fact we're from the get go.

message 8: by Marina (new) - added it

Marina Antunes Giselle wrote: "Actually no, that is told in the first few pages of the book. She had a near death accident and was brought back to life. It's never a mystery, that's how the story starts."

Thanks for clearing that up. Still not sure how I feel about it. Seems like a pretty big piece of info to deliver in the opening of your review. But a very nice review :)

Giselle Marina wrote: "Giselle wrote: "Actually no, that is told in the first few pages of the book. She had a near death accident and was brought back to life. It's never a mystery, that's how the story starts."


Thanks. But it's just a fact about her. Like saying she's an Orphan (which the hardcover blurb mentions directly). It's never a secret. Plus several other reviews mention it as well. Knowing this or not won't affect how you take in the story (or at least the first page or so before you're told.)

message 10: by ♥Rachel♥ (new) - added it

♥Rachel♥ Giselle, I love your review. This one seems to be getting such a mixed reaction. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm also glad your review clarifies what this story is actually about because the blurb doesn't seem to do that.

Btw, I don't think your opening paragraph is too spoilery at all, especially when it's something told in the first pages of the book.

Giselle Thanks Rachel. No it's not a spoiler at all, but I guess someone who hasn't read the book may think it is. This is a very love or hate type of book though. It won't be for everyone and it is different. I had no idea what to expect when I went in but I was really into it. Hopefully you'll be on my side of the fence on this one :)

message 12: by Reut (new) - rated it 3 stars

Reut I thought that whole.. you know... real spoiler:(view spoiler)thing was so squicky. It made me squirm a little.

Jessica (BlogEared Books) I read the book and like the review- not a spoiler at all, you learn that the second you open the book.

Giselle It was very weird Reut lol.

message 15: by Reut (new) - rated it 3 stars

Reut Giselle wrote: "It was very weird Reut lol."

I know! And I honestly can't figure out what genre this book is.

Giselle More like a Gothic mystery I'd say.

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