Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Review - Dark Companion by Marta Acosta (3.5/5 stars)

Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Paranormal
Size: 368 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: July 3rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0765329646
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC through Amazon Vine
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I copy an advanced reading copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program for review. It was a decent YA paranormal read. There are some creative aspects to the story that make it outshine some of the YA out there; most of the characters though leave a lot to be desired.

Jane Williams has been bounced between foster homes and group homes most of her life. She works very hard on her academics and is granted a scholarship to Birch Grove Academy for Girls. There she enters a life better than anything she could have imagined. The longer she is there though the more mysteries she unravels and she finds that Birch Grove has a dark side to it.

This book suffers from some very typical YA themes; there is a love triangle and the heroine suffers from beautiful boy insta-love stupidity. The plot is also fairly predictable.

Jane was one of the worst parts of this book for me. Upon arriving at Birch Grove she instantly falls for two brothers; one light and perfect named Lucky and one dark and wild named Jack. Despite the fact that Lucky is creepy as all get out...Jane is drawn to him. This made me sigh, why are these heroines always inexplicable drawn to these creepy dudes? Jane is very stupid where Lucky is concerned. Jane is so responsible and steadfast in most aspects of her life, but when Lucky enters the room she looses all self-respect and becomes a doe-eyed idiot. I hate, hate, hate that.

Jack is a better character and the witty banter between him and Jane was fun to read.

By far the best character in the whole book is Mary Violet, who is super funny and super over the top. Mary Violet is a curvaceous girl who celebrates all things girly, is more insightful than she at first seems, a better friend than Jane deserves, and loves to make up crazy words to describe strange situations. I loved her, she added so much creativity and light and fun to the story.

The other redeeming quality to this story was that it’s take on vampirism was different than that normally seen in YA. Vampires aren’t romanticized but they aren’t evil either.

The story is incredibly predictable. I could have told you how it ended right from the beginning. That being said there is a decent mystery supporting the gooey eyed romance, which is nice. The writing at points gives the story a slightly gothic feel.

The writing is a bit inconsistent. Parts of the book are beautifully written and lovely to read, creating wonderful imagery. Other parts of the book are pretty basic YA writing. All in all the book ends up being a decent light YA paranormal read. Not the worst I’ve read, but not the best either.

Overall an okay YA paranormal romance. I enjoyed some of the side characters. I also thought Jane was a good character except when it came to her absolute stupidity about Lucky. The plot is incredibly predictable and the writing is a bit inconsistent, but there are some beautiful patches of writing that give the novel a dark and gothic feel. I did enjoy that the way vampirism is dealt with was a bit different from typical paranormal YA. I would tentatively recommend to those who love YA paranormal romance books.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- Horror and Urban Fantasy Challenge
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- Debut Author Reading

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