Tuesday, July 3

Dark Companion: Book Review

Dark Companion
Marta Acosta
Tom Doherty Associates
July 3rd 2012
Young Adult | Romance | Fantasy

Official Blurb -

Orphaned at the age of six, Jane Williams has grown up in a series of foster homes, learning to survive in the shadows of life. Through hard work and determination, she manages to win a scholarship to the exclusive Birch Grove Academy. There, for the first time, Jane finds herself accepted by a group of friends. She even starts tutoring the headmistress’s gorgeous son, Lucien. Things seem too good to be true.
They are.

The more she learns about Birch Grove’s recent past, the more Jane comes to suspect that there is something sinister going on. Why did the wife of a popular teacher kill herself? What happened to the former scholarship student, whose place Jane took? Why does Lucien’s brother, Jack, seem to dislike her so much?

As Jane begins to piece together the answers to the puzzle, she must find out why she was brought to Birch Grove—and what she would risk to stay there….

At the beginning of each chapter is a quote from some classical novel. I was very impressed by the wide variety of quotes and felt the author must be highly well read. As the book progressed, however, the quotes got less exciting and more similar, they lost their appeal.

The characters seem a bit unstable, especially Jane. If you are a huge Jane Eyre fan you might not be satisfied with this rendition. The story and characters have been put in a salad tosser and thoroughly displaced. Character lines have been blurred and I sometimes felt Lucky was more like Mr. Rochester. I also had a hard time accepting the characters. Trying to put the adult characters into teenagers just didn't sit right. Mr. Rochester went through several hard years and events to produce his bitterness and personality. Jack just came off as odd wearing Mr. Rochester's mantle at eighteen. Jane was not true to character either. She completely falls for a pretty face and becomes rather tedious. I was bugged by her dumb choices, especially the section where she runs away. She didn't actually accomplish anything and it came across as more of a temper tantrum than her standing her moral ground. Jane is incredibly dense and terribly hypocritical. She is also very weak willed and allows others to use her. I just didn't like her.

The ending drags on forever, three chapters of unnecessary details. It is also rather bizarre with the random appearance of a crazy person. I think the crazy must have infected the other characters because they suddenly start singing a different tune.

My biggest miff with this book was all the crudity. Jane Eyre is a clean yet deep read and all the crudity in this rendition made it feel cheap. There are also several points where the story lacks subtle transitioning and feels choppy.

I think had I not been such a fan of Jane Eyre I might have enjoyed this book. It reminds me of how modern film makers adapt classics to younger audiences. The stories become very sexual and more shallow. Perhaps this book will likewise hit it off with the younger crowd but it is a miss for me.

Sexual: Moderate
Violence: Mild
Swearing: Moderate
General: Very Crude