Title: Dark Companion
Author: Marta Acosta
Publisher: Tor Teen
Published: July 03, 2012
Buy: The Book Depository
Marta Acosta has delivered something truly unique here. With its gothic undertones and its mesmerising plot, Dark Companion is quite the captivating story.
The foundation for this book is a simple one. Street-wise and hardworking Jane Williams is given the opportunity to attend Birch Grove Academy for Girls, an elite school that is miles apart from her noisy and dilapidated neighbourhood. Once there, and once she begins to draw closer to the headmaster’s family and her two sons, Lucky and Jack, the plot suddenly becomes something more complex and unusual than might be expected. This isn’t a typical paranormal romance – far from it, in fact. Marta Acosta weaves together a beautifully bizarre tale that cannot be left unappreciated.
I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t what I got. I knew there would be something not quite normal about the Radcliffe family, and I was partly right with that aspect, but I would never have guessed it could be anything so strange. It’s an interesting idea that the author presented, albeit a little implausible at first. The sinister implications and creepy nature of the Family and its Companions were completely fascinating to read about.
Jane was an interesting character. She was a complex, multi-layered girl that I found mostly impressive and likable. However, she was also exasperatingly inconsistent at times. Jane leaves Helmsdale, her old rough neighbourhood, as a cynical and cautious character – someone who is clearly used to expecting and getting the worst. She keeps up her defensive shield even when in Birch Grove, not taking anything for granted and ensuring her money is hidden somewhere secure. This was believable. After all those years in Helmsdale, it was clear she had developed a certain approach to life. What I didn’t understand was why all this went flying out of the window as soon as Lucky Radcliffe showed an interest in her. She was too ready to fall into his arms and please him, without stopping to question or even notice the wrongness of it all. Although I liked her overall, Jane was sometimes difficult to appreciate because of this.
Lucky and Jack were equally fascinating characters, though both in very different ways. Where Jack is full of wit and riddles of fairy-tale creatures, Lucky is poised and slightly conceited. In my eyes, they couldn’t be more different. I suppose on the surface, it appears we have yet another love triangle situation, and to a certain extent, that is true. However, the strange dynamic between Lucky and Jane prevents me from referring to it as a love triangle in the conventional sense. Everything is just so different in this book.
Generally, Dark Companion proved to be an enthralling read. It is not a faultless story, and some aspects remained unexplored – perhaps on purpose – but it is definitely an interesting one. It’s without a doubt that Marta Acosta is a talented writer. She intertwines a humorous and gothic tone with ease, crafting a story that is more than easy to lose yourself in. I can’t wait to see what else she has to offer in the future.
Rating: 4 stars
Rating: 4 stars