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Dark Companion
Dark Companion
Dark Companion
Audiobook11 hours

Dark Companion

Written by Marta Acosta

Narrated by Kate Reading

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

Jane Eyre meets Twilight in Dark Companion, a lush and romantic YA gothic tale about an orphaned girl who attends an exclusive private school and finds herself torn between the headmistress's two sons.

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...

Release dateJul 3, 2012
Dark Companion

Marta Acosta

I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area and I can never seem to get away from here for long despite my continual fear of earthquakes. Yes, that's all I got out of the geology classes I took in college. I'm the author of the Casa Dracula novels. I received degrees in English & American Lit and Creative Writing, which qualified me to do very little except read books. That was my goal all along, but no one pays you to do that. I have recently taken out an old typewriter and started a poem a day project. The poems are terrible, but they're very short. I've been published by Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Hyperion, and now I'm happy to self-publish through Smashwords.

Reviews for Dark Companion

Rating: 3.10752688172043 out of 5 stars

93 ratings27 reviews

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Originally reviewed on A Reader of Fictions.

    Initially, I wasn't sure if I was going to read Dark Companion. I watched the reviews for it roll in, and they varied so much as to puzzle me exceedingly. Gothic fiction has not traditionally been my favorite genre, so I was hesitant. However, it was obviously meant to be since I won a giveaway for it. Well, I am glad that I did, because I ended up really enjoying this particular reading experience.

    From reviews that I've read, I know that some readers found much of this book quite boring, but that was not the case for me. So long as the writing is beautiful and the characters vibrant, a slow pace does not put me off a novel the slightest bit. Acosta's writing really resonated with me, striking a perfect gothic tone that matched the quotes from classics included at the beginning of each chapter while also maintaining a modern flair.

    The only thing I wasn't a huge fan of in the writing was some of the slang, which I felt went too far and entered the realm of the absurd. If there was a name that could be made into a swear word, that happened, like with these: Charlotte becomes harlot, Pritchard becomes Bitchard, and Helmsdale becomes Hellsdale. Thankfully, this trailed off as the book continued but it was really overused at first. Acosta also came up with other lingo for these characters, like using coitus as a swear word, going so far even to change OMFG into OMCG. I get it, but am not amused.

    Jane also speaks and thinks in a very particular manner, using as many pretentious words as she can. This will likely alienate some readers, but I liked it, because, well, I'm a snob like that. Plus, Jane does that as a method of studying, which fits her perfectly, because she do desperately wants to escape her tragic past (group home, scars, best friend in prostitution, other best friend dead of meningitis).

    Jane, through her own determination and hard work, manages to obtain a scholarship to the fancy schmancy Birch Grove Academy for Girls, which helps her obtain emancipation as well so that she can escape the horrid group home in which she was living. She leaves Hellsdale and heads to Greenwood for school. At first, everything seems to good to be true. No, really. This school would not exist. She gets there and the headmistress Mrs. Radcliffe (nice reference btws) shows her to her PERSONAL COTTAGE to live in BY HERSELF and takes her shopping to BUY HER ALL OF THE CLOTHES. No school would do this; she would at least have to share the cottage with one other girl. It had a full kitchen and everything! Also, Jane went back to the mall later, returned a bunch of clothes, and got money back. Why let Radcliffe by those clothes for her if she didn't want them? That was weird to me.

    In case you're concerned about the fact that Jane's going to a girl's school, because that means there are limited sexy boy options, don't worry. Conveniently, Mrs. Radcliffe just happens to have two hot sons, one a junior like Jane, Lucian aka Lucky, and one two years older, Jack. As you may have guessed, a hot mess of a love triangle ensues. A lot of the things that happened in the love triangle-y part upset me, mostly because Lucian was a little shit and Jane's self-esteem issues make me want to shake some sense into her. Still, Acosta did manage to wrap things up nicely and she does write fabulous kissing scenes.

    Several of her characters really mattered to me. Jane, dear plain, outspoken Jane, mousie Jane. I could not help but see her as a sort of Jane Eyre figure, with her unloved childhood, her fear that no one shall ever care for her, her vast intelligence, her determination, her strength in a crisis, and her stern perception of her own qualities. Needless to say, I loved her most of the time. Jack, of course, is scruffy and adorable, if, admittedly, a bit frustrating at times. Mary Violet, or MV, turned out to be a surprise favorite of mine, with her love for anything violet, even to the detriment of her grades when she refuses to turn in papers in anything but her trademark violet ink, and her ridiculous explanations for what foreign phrases mean. Though somewhat annoying, MV is a true friend, and I love finding those in YA novels.

    The paranormal elements in Dark Companion are blessedly minor. They are important, yes, but they don't take over the story. In fact, the story feels as though it's mostly set in the natural world, a bit more magical realism than straight up fantasy. Not only that, but she did some really cool things with the paranormal bits she used, putting nice spins on some overused ideas.

    The conclusion, admittedly, is not as strong as it perhaps should have been. It feels a bit rushed and overly optimistic, pairing characters up like the ark's about to sail. I didn't mark down for this rather cheesy conclusion, though, because of all of the Shakespeare references woven throughout. The ending just tells you that Dark Companion is a comedy, not a tragedy. I'm a sucker for Shakespeare references.

    Though not a perfect read, I thoroughly delighted in every bit of Dark Companion. This is a good read for those who appreciate literary references and a gothic feel.
  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    I absolutely, positively could not get into this book. One hundred pages in and I am still hoping to identify with one character. Just one. Nope. Too many good books to read, not enough time to waste on a book I am not enjoying.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    I'd say probably 1 1/2 stars. There were things I liked (Jack, MV), but far more that I didn't. It was well-written, but really just not for me. I may or may not do a full review on it. I don't know if I can adequately explain my feelings.

    Full Review:
    Here's one that drew me in with the very creepy cover (which, sadly, I will not be posting because I had an e-book copy of it instead of a hard copy that I could take a picture of) and the premise. I'm sad that it didn't live up to the expectations that I had.

    Here's why:

    First of all, I couldn't stand Jane. I felt like she was flat for most of the book. I was bugged by her constant defensiveness, though I could forgive her that based on her upbringing. It wasn't what killed her for me. No, it was the fact that the boy she wanted put her in danger and SHE LET HIM DO IT. Over and over and over. She sort of tried to stand up for herself at times, but she was so wishy-washy that it didn't really take. Honestly, she was Bella all over for me, and you know how much I despise Bella.

    Here's another thing about Jane - her inferiority complex AND superiority complex. How is it possible to feel inferior to someone and superior at the same time? Ask Jane, because she does it through the whole book.

    Second, I felt like it took almost 3/4 of the book for anything to actually happen. There was so much buildup and introduction and what color bras are we buying for Jane that I got bored. This is a seriously creepy book and I GOT BORED. Not supposed to happen.
    Third, the BIG THING that was supposed to completely blow me out of the water...didn't. Sure, it was creepy and on the disturbing side, but it was mostly cheesy. I was more interested in what Mary Violet was going to come up with next than I was about what would happen to Jane now that the BIG THING was out.

    Here's what I DID like:

    Jack. He was great. He was arrogant and kind of absurd, but in such a way that made me want to hang out with him. He was funny and a much-needed breath of fresh air.

    Mary Violet. In a word? Hilarious. Her poetry alone makes the time I spent with this book worth it. Also, she makes up words that had me laughing out loud. And her French? Waaaaaaahahahahahahahaha!! Yes, she and I would be friends.

    So, there you have it. I tried to like this book, and I did finish it. I'm glad there were two characters that I liked, because they really did save this for me. I still don't like it, but I have at least those fond memories and won't leave it with a completely poor opinion.

    Because of MV and Jack, this gets 1.5 Eiffel Towers.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    Hmmmm What to day about this book. I liked it and I didn't like it.

    First off I'm not sure how I feel about the main character, Jane. When we first see Jane she is telling off the woman who ran the group home she was staying at. When I read that, I thought "All right- a kick ass character who doesn't take anyones shit". I couldn't have been more wrong. Its seems as if Jane changes when she gets to birch grove school. She lets Lucian aka "Lucky" (WTF is he a dog?)do whatever he wants with her and all she thinks about is him kissing her and touching her. She always says that she's not going to let Lucky treat her the way he does which is kinda like a bloodletting slave(He only wants her blood for his condition...see further down). However her resolve to teach him a lesson about his treatment of her goes out the window when he hasn't called or stop by her cottage in a few days. Then she's all "Oh I can't wait for him to come", "I hope he calls", "I miss him so much" and yadda yadda. She also goes as far as NOT going out with her friends so that she can stay by the phone in case Lucky calls and she'll be there in case he stops by. Talk about pathetic. However, the time where Lucky tries to do something sexual with her (becasue he thinks that's what she wants), she stops him and is like 'Oh i just realized.. I don't want Lucky after all... I want his brother Jack!" I mean gimme a break. This girl changes guys like she changes her underwear. After that almost sex scene, Jane is now completely in love with Lucky's brother Jack. Please.

    Now on to Jack. I must say that I did like his character. He was funny, outgoing, silly and I liked the way he made fun on Jane by calling her "halfling" or "pixie" or "elf". I like the way he spoke, as if he was always joking but he wasn't and you had to look deeper in his responses to see what he really meant. I like how he looked after Jane and it was very romantic when he wrote/sang the song for Jane. Of course they end op together in the end which is stupid because of the way Jack overlooks the fact that Jane wanted his brother first before him. But whatever, I guess a happy ending is what the author wanted.

    As for Lucky, he was spoiled whiny brat and a loser. He was supposed to be very beautiful but his description wasn't doing it for me. I thought Jack was wayyy better than him from the beginning of the story.

    One character I really loved was Mary Violet. For me, her and Jack made the book. She was hilarious and I found myself laughing out loud at the things she said. I loved how dramatic she was and how she lived in her own world. She is very loud and seemingly superficial but underneath she's a really good friend and a good person. I loved the way she would say all these french words and then translate them into slang. Her poems were funny as well as how she described her mother's paintings. I think she and Jack should of ended up together. She would have made a better main character. In fact I don't think I've ever read a book with a main character like her.. someone should get on that ASAP!

    I did find the whole story line about the genetic anomaly that most of the townspeople had, interesting. The people, like Lucky and his parents, were kinda like pseudo-vampires (Jack was adopted so he didn't have the anomaly). They were human but they had a gene that made them faster and stronger than normal humans; they had the ability to heal cuts and small wounds instantly; they were not able to go out in the sun without heavy duty sunscreen or a hat; and they craved human blood. Most of the time the people with the anomaly drank animal blood and ate red food, but at times they craved human blood. So to satfisy that craving they developed the companion program. Basically its where a normal human is chosen for one of these people to feed on. The two persons are bonded for life and the normal human is to give their blood to their bond companion whenever they want it. The normal human is compensated by being given everything they want (education,money, housing, trips)and being taken care of their entire lives by their bond's money. Jane was chosen to be Lucian's companion and she is given the choice to agree or not. By this time she is in lust with Lucky so she said yes, like a dumbass. She kept saying things like "I want to be there for him", "I want to help him" or "He needs me". I would not agree to let anyone drink my blood unless its is a real vampire who agreed to change me into a vampire. Other than that, my blood stays in my body. However, when Jane realized she loves Jack not Lucky, of course she now wants to back out of her companion agreement. The a whole bunch of other shit happens that came completely out of left field and it ends with the town's companion program being suspended, Jane gets out of her companion agreement with Luck and she ends up with Jack.

    I felt that the book was too long with whole lot of nothing going on in them. There really isn't any action and the action that is there lasts for about a page. I feel that the ending was rushed and that the things that happened in the ending were thrown in to make a nice little wrap up for the book. It seems like Jane gets everything she wanted in the end which is not how real life goes.

  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    I’m sorry, I know there are a lot of positive reviews about this book but I just couldn’t bring myself to write one. Sure, the writing style was good, but for me, the similarities between this book and Twilight were too striking for me to ignore.

    Just think, Edward Lucian finds Bella’s Jane’s blood irresistible. His ‘perfect white teeth opened my wound more’ and he ‘latched onto the puncture’ yet Bella Jane doesn’t stop him, she just tries to hug him closer.

    Another thing, no matter how horrible Edward Lucian treats Bella Jane, she still goes back to him after a like, three-second hesitation. That girl has no self-respect – especially in that scene after Edward Lucian ditches her in the party and leaves her to be driven home by Jacob Jack whilst he flirts with other girls. When he comes to Bella’s Jane’s house, what does she do after a few honeyed words of apology from him? She lets him suck her blood.

    The only good thing, in my opinion, in this story is that she ends up with Jacob Jack instead of Edward Lucian though I cannot believe how long it took her to figure out that Edward Lucian wasn’t good for her.

    To be honest, Marta Acosta’s writing style was the only thing that made me see it through to the end. Her writing was way better than that of Stephanie Meyers, and though her plot hit rock bottom, her writing made it bearable.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    I enjoyed the story in this book, but had issues with the writing and characters. The author had this way of over describing things like clothing and food that I found unnecessary. I like those kind of details when they reflect on the related characters or events, but in this case it didnt feel like that was happening. There were also a lot of repeated scenes between characters and in the protagonists own thoughts that I didnt think were successful.

    And speaking of the protagonist... I didnt understand what was happening with her half the time! She comes across as very street smart and self directed one moment, and then is totally clueless the next. I spent a lot of the book mentally screaming "red flag!" for the way people were acting towards her. She also had a lot of emotional ups and downs that I dont think were fully processed within the story. Some of it could have been explained by giving her some self awareness about how trauma and abuse work, but without that her sudden shifts in her affection and goals just seem strange. I did enjoy her connections to the supernatural, and her relationships with her friends.

    I mostly gave this book 3 stars because despite my issues with it the story did draw me in. I was interested in both the plot and the world presented, but I dont think it is something I would buy or be take the time to reread.