Dark Companion by Marta Acosta & Interview!

Posted 11 July, 2012 by Danny in Author Interview, Blog, Danny, Danny's Book Review / 23 Comments

Dark Companion

Genre: YA, Paranormal, Gothic
Published July 3rd 2012 by Tor/Macmillan
Copy received from publisher
Get your own: amazon | BookDepository
Format: eBook, Hardcover 
synopsis from goodreads
Rating
When foster teen Jane Williams is invited to attend elite Birch Grove Academy for Girls and escape her violent urban neighborhood, she thinks the offer is too good to be true. She’s even offered her own living quarters, the groundskeeper’s cottage in the center of the birch grove.Something’s not quite right about the school — or is it Jane? She thinks she sees things in the birch grove at night. She’s also beginning to suspect that the elegant headmistress and her sons are hiding secrets. Lucky is the gorgeous, golden son who is especially attentive to Jane, and Jack is the sardonic puzzling brother.The school with its talented teachers and bright students is a dream for a science and math geek like Jane. She also loves her new friends, including hilarious poetry-spouting rich girl, Mary Violet. But the longer Jane stays at Birch Grove, the more questions she has about the disappearance of another scholarship girl and a missing faculty member.

Jane discovers one secret about Birch Grove, which only leads to more mysteries. What is she willing to sacrifice in order to stay at this school…and be bound to Birch Grove forever?

I picked this book up with high expectations! I love this cover and the premise sounds absolutely awesome! Unfortunately, this book simply wasn’t for me! I did like the dark premise and the whole idea and concept of Vampires.  I love when Authors manage to surprise me with yet another view of Vampire Lore.

Lacking Character Connection

The main problem I had were the characters. For me, connecting with the characters is one of the most important part of reading for me. They can make me love a story, but they can also ruin a pretty good premise for me. Especially, the main character Jane wasn’t a character I could connect to at all. She was smart, yes – but her sense of judgement was so far off, I would have loved to shake ever so often. Her decision were not based on logic, what you would imagine from such a smarty, but based on incomprehensible feelings for one of the boys.The attraction she felt for Lucky was something I never understood during the whole story. Apart from him being hot, there was nothing particularly nice and intriguing about him. He basically was a spoiled brat who did whatever he wanted without minding the consequences. He treated her like shit, yet she was lost in this girl dream of a happily ever after with this hot and rich boy.

Jake! The Shining Star of this Novel!

The shining star was Lucky’s brother Jake. He definitely was a highlight throughout the book. He was compared to the fool in Shakespeare and I admit it was perfectly fitting. He always spoke in riddles and he just knew how to push Jane’s buttons. Jake was a funny, insightful, sensitive and witty boy that definitely won me over.

Dark and Twisted!

The storyline itself was intriguing and I liked the direction although I didn’t like the execution. It felt forced to me. I did like however the darkness – I love a dark and twisted tale and this one definitely had some very dark moments. When Jane slowly discovered the secret behing Lucky I was slightly appalled and there were scenes which I found highly disturbing, and I normally have a high level of acceptance towards these kind of scenes. Yet, they felt totally wrong in a YA novel….

Bewitched Rating

Bottom Line

Fans of dark, twisted Vampire tales who enjoy a new take on Vampire lore will probably enjoy this book. Jane was a smart heroine to whom I unfortunately couldn’t connect. Jake was a brilliant character from whom I would have loved to see more. He definitely was the shining star in this novel for me. Can I say that the cover is incredibly gorgeous? Because it is!!!

  

Reviews of Bloggers who loved Dark Companion

A Cupcake and A Latte  | Xpresso Reads | The Hundred Book Project 

 

And now, I welcome Author Marta Acosta to the Bookworms and I am more than excited to host her!

You might think that it would be weird having the author on the blog after I didn’t enjoy the book so much? Well, this is actually why we got in contact! After posting my review on goodreads Marta contacted me and thanked me for my time and my review!! I was so stunned and we started talking, so I invited her for an Interview and she happily agreed! She’s awesome! She’s clearly one of those positive and shining examples about how authors and bloggers can interact even with a “negative” review!

Marta, thank you so much for agreeing to do this very special Interview. It is not often that an author contacts you after reading a not so favorable review of their book in such a wonderful, polite manner!

Thanks for being here and discussing with me!

Danny, thanks for having me here! Your review showed such thoughtfulness that I wanted to respond, especially since I love Bewitched Bookworms!  I do pay attention to thoughtful reviews because I think my writing can always be improved.


Pitch Dark Companion to our Readers in 6 words.

Modern Gothic homage to Jane Eyre.

What inspired you to write Dark Companion?

I’ve always loved Jane Eyre and wanted to write a tribute to Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel. I’m fascinated by Gothic tropes: the orphan going to an isolated eerie location, dark secrets, lies, danger.

The story is told from Jane’s POV and here we come directly to the main issue I had: Jane. Would you mind describing and introducing Jane?

Jane is a girl who survived a tragedy that left her without a family or her early memories. She’s raised in abusive foster homes in terrible neighborhoods and realizes that she can escape through education. Soon everyone sees her as a well-behaved honor student, but inside she’s a raging, broken child.

Jane was definitely a very smart girl, however I was really confused by her bad judgment especially regarding Lucky.

I think people assume that I was writing a “heroine” when I was trying to be true to the psychological makeup of a foster child who’s been abused. These young people are distrustful of adults, and they don’t report problems because they could be moved somewhere worse. They’re often incapable of normal emotional connections and often fall into abusive relationships because these relationships seem normal to them. Jane simply doesn’t associate Lucky’s behavior with abuse while a healthy girl would know how wrong it is. This is exactly the reason why Jane’s been brought to Birch Grove Academy: the Family carefully selects broken isolated girls who can be manipulated and controlled. They seek out girls who have no parental guidance or alternatives.

Lucky represents all the things Jane desperately craves: beauty, security, a family, a home. She never says she loves him: she says she wants him and I think there’s a tremendous difference.

I just couldn’t see why Jane didn’t realize Lucky’s real character. Why was Jane so oblivious to the fact that Lucky just used her and wasn’t really good for her.

Jane realizes that Lucky is spoiled and self-centered and she calls him on it. However, when a gorgeous boy gives a girl attention, she will be dazzled, which is why I included the Oscar Wilde quote about the power of great beauty to corrupt.

Jane isn’t thinking about whether Lucky’s good for her any more than another girl would wonder if diamond earrings are “good” for her. Jane’s goal is to succeed in a brutal world; she’d think that “emotional health” is a luxury for the privileged.

The highlight of Dark Companion was Jack! He was a very unique character! Would you mind introducing him to the reader from your perspective as his creator?

Glad you like him! I happen to think that Edward Rochester treated Jane Eyre terribly, but I did like their banter, when she would always match him, and Jack was inspired by that. I love funny, quirky guys, and I wanted him to be a sort of grungy, creative type who sets his own rules. He was a boy who always dreamed about old folk tales and magic and when he first sees Jane, she seems like those woodland creatures he imagined. He knows exactly why she’s been brought to Birch Grove and he’s fighting with his own desire to be with her and his wish that she leave for her own safety.

Thank you again Marta! I know many people loved Dark Companion and I’m looking forward reading more from you!

Thank you, Dani, for having me at Bewitched Bookworms and letting me share my thoughts about my new book! This is what I love about the internet – that we can discuss books across continents.

Find Martha:

website | Blog – Vampire Wire (super funny, love this blog!!) | twitter | facebook

 

I hope you enjoyed our little discussion and I strongly recommend checking out some other reviews and as usual… decide for yourself  if Dark Companion is for you:) Also, you truly should consider following Marta on her Blog – Vampire Wire, this is actually how I got in contact with her because I was following her blog and love reading her posts!

Much Love,

Obsessive Reader by Night – Scientist at Day!
You can also find me on goodreads. I’d love to get to know you so, don’t be shy and say Hello!

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23 Responses to “Dark Companion by Marta Acosta & Interview!”

    • Oh no Allison! This isn’t a blog tour! I posted this review on goodreads and Marta the author contacted me after she read it. This is how we got talking and that is the reason for this interview.

  1. Marta is a FANTASTIC person. I’ve only read one of her books, but I love reading her blog, and I’m still excited to try Dark Companion, even if it wasn’t for you. I read Happy Hour at Casa Dracula awhile back and really enjoyed it! It’s adult instead of YA, and I think has an entirely different feel from this one, so you might want to give it a go at some point! I’ve been meaning to read the rest of the series ever since, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet! Story of my life! Lol.

    Anyways, I’m so glad to see Marta featured on here, even if you weren’t impressed with this novel. THIS is what the book blogosphere should be all about, in my opinion. After all, we all have different tastes, but we can still be kind and supportive of each other because when it comes down to it, we all have BOOKS in common, right? 😀
    Natalie @ Mindful Musings recently posted..YA: Review of The Forsaken by Lisa M. StasseMy Profile

    • Thank you so much Natalie for your wonderful comment!!! I loved talking to Marta and I was so truly sad when I didn’t like her book so much.But then we started chatting and I was excited to host her here together with the review and talk baout the things I didn’t like!

      She’s phenomenal and definitely a glowing example about how we can all treat each other :))
      Danny recently posted..Dark Companion by Marta Acosta & Interview!My Profile

  2. This is awesome. Perfect example with all that is going on. It showed such dignity and grace on both yours and on Marta as well. I’m honestly refreshed by this and to know that there is still good that comes from everything both we, as bloggers and authors do. 🙂

    THANK YOU FOR THIS!
    Cass recently posted..Top Ten Tuesday! (7.10)My Profile

    • It makes me so sad when I hear such stories and I am honestly very often a little scared posting a not so good review. But here I was especially, because I was following Marta’s Blog for quote a while and I desperately wanted to like it! When I first saw the message from her I was so relieved – she was awesome!!!!
      Danny recently posted..Dark Companion by Marta Acosta & Interview!My Profile

  3. “She was smart, yes – but her sense of judgement was so far off, I would have loved to shake ever so often.”

    Shoot! Those types of girls are always hard for me to connect to as well Danny, I just want to yell at them to make the opposite decision of the one their actually making:) Jake sounds like a brilliant character though, I’m glad he was there to be a highlight for you!

  4. Wow! This is an author who has shown grace and class and also…a brain! She knows it’s not personal and her comment that she is always looking to improve her writing just shows her character even more. I think the “discussion” of books is so important and the way you both talked about the characters is more interesting to me than just praise. I love how Marta explains Jane’s motivations. Guess what? This book is definitely on my radar now.

    • You see? That’s why I was excited at the opportunity to discuss with Marta and even post it together with my Review. Like this people truly hear how Marta wanted to shape her characters. I had my own feelings towards Jane, but as I said there are many people who loved and adored this book!

      I hope you’ll love Dark Companion!
      Danny recently posted..Dark Companion by Marta Acosta & Interview!My Profile

  5. Hi, Danny! Thanks for having me on your beautiful blog. I just spent a few minutes looking at your great layout and design.

    -Alison, names are always a problem in books. My agent hated the name Jack because she thought it sounded like “an old man’s name.” I chose Lucian, aka Lucky because it’s an old-fashioned name, and old-fashioned names are part of the culture of that village. The other characters — Harriet, Mary Violet, Constance — also have old fashioned names.
    -Natalie, I’m not going to disagree with you! FYI, I just made audiobooks of my Casa Dracula series which will be available in a few days on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. It’s great to hear my narrator bring my characters to life.
    -Cass, I wrote to Danny because I knew of her blog, of course, and because her negative review was so thoughtful. She had reasons and explained them. It takes a lot of time for a reviewer to read a book and then write a thoughtful review.
    -Jenny, I confess to believing that all real girls (and all real people) do lots of foolish things. I’m a cynic. But Jane was supposed to be damaged and vulnerable to mistakes especially since she’s never had any adult guidance. I wanted to see her learn and grow.
    -Mydnyte Reader, I know there are authors who claim never to read reviews, but I’ve gotten terrific insights from reviews. Writing is communication. I always advise aspiring writers to listen to feedback. They don’t have to take advice, but they should consider it especially if it’s from an insightful reader.

  6. Hi Danny and Marta! I enjoyed this a bit more than you Danny. I understand where you are coming from and I struggled with Jane and jer actions but I got why she acted that way she was so starved for affection. I really disliked Lucky and agree that some of the discussion regarding companions was a bit much. I loved the overall gothic feel, the birch trees and Jack. Marta is womderful and I was delighted to have her on my blog.
    Heidi recently posted..Girl of Nightmares (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake and GIVEAWAY!My Profile

    • So I had two teenage boys sitting here now and I asked, “Do smart girls go out with douchebags?” and they said, “Yes, especially if they have daddy issues. Why do you think we have girlfriends?” From the mouths of babes!

  7. My thoughts pretty much mirror yours. This book was bizarre and disturbing and I just couldn’t see why Jane made the decisions she made. I did still enjoy it though and really liked Jack.
    Great review and interview!

    • Hi, Addie! Lots of people have mentioned that they were disturbed by scenes and this was intentional on my part. I was taking a common theme in vampire romance to its logical conclusion. If it’s okay for a 100 year old dead monster to attend high school and seek out and seduce a teenage girl, then rip into her flesh to drink her blood, shouldn’t it also be okay for a human living teenage boy to take a girl’s blood? If not, why not?

  8. I actually just finished reading this one and felt a little mixed on some of the points you made in your review. Of course, after having just given up on a dreadful book called Of Poseidon, I was in love with colorful characters in this novel. I especially loved MV’s over the top romantic opinion on everything. And who cannot fall in love with Jack, he was such an interesting character who spoke the truth in a teasing manner throughout the book. I was satisfied with how everything played out in the end, as I was worried for Jane as she definitely is not a heroine in any sense, just a girl trying to figure out what is best for her future.

    Thanks for the honest review and sharing the author’s thoughts! 🙂
    Kristen recently posted..Book Review: CloakedMy Profile

    • Hi, Kristen — you got it exactly! Jane was never meant to be a “heroine” but a broken girl who who calculates her actions and behavior. While she’s infatuated with Lucky’s beauty, she’s actually more in control of herself with him. When she’s with Jack, she panics because she doesn’t feel the same control over her words and feelings.

      MY and Jack are the people who teach Jane about love, MV’s mother is also important in giving her guidance and in becoming a positive maternal figure for Jane.

  9. It’s really too bad you didn’t enjoy this book too much, Danny. I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I heard how dark and gothic the story is.
    I dislike not being able to connect with characters as well. Lucky seems like a really awful guy. :/ I wonder how the girl fell for him …
    Anyways, wonderful review, Danny. 🙂

  10. Oh yeah connecting with the character is definitely THE most important for me as well and if I can’t it’s rarely more than a 3 star – but often under. I saw you didn,T like this one very much a while ago on Goodreads and I really get it. It’s a very hit of miss type of read, it’s bizarre too. Luckily I was on the hit side and loved the uniqueness of it all, but I also really liked the characters so I definitely had a different reading experience. I’m also a sucker for gothic books!! 😀 And great interview Marta is so sweet I love her! I liked the questions about Lucky and Jack. I was also wondering at first why she was so blind to Lucky but then it kind of clicked that she was just a but messed up (so was he O_O). I loved Jack, too! <3

    Great post, dollface!! <3

  11. Wonderful interview, Danny and Marta! I agree with Giselle, this will be a hit or miss for many readers. I’ve connected with this book and really loved it, but I love Gothic novels, Jane Eyre is one of my favorites and I do love psychology. I understood where Jane was coming from and what were here motives, so for me this book was important for the highlighting the issues that a foster child can experience and also the growth Jane showed throughout the novel.
    Of course it helps that I love Marta to bits and adore her Casa Dracula series which has completely different hilarious style that you can see a bit in Mary Violet.
    kara-karina recently posted..Early Review: Moonglow by Kristen CallihanMy Profile

    • Hi, Kara! When I began Dark Companion, I really wanted to return to more serious fiction since I’d been writing romantic comedies, but I couldn’t stay grim the whole time. Nope, Mary Violet sashayed in and every time she opened her mouth, something crazy would come out. I wanted her to be the anti-mean girl.

  12. What? Jane Eyre and Vampires!!! How did I not know about this book? Yes, the cover is gorgeous, and I appreciate an author who considers all types of reviews and looks for areas of improvement.

    I can see how readers would want to try to immediately pin Jane as a heroine, but it sounds like she is not quite there yet, and that is interesting to me. I think I’m going to have to give this one a try. Plus, I really want to meet Jake and check out the unique take on vampire lore.

    Thanks for the awesome interview and honest review.
    Missie, The Unread Reader recently posted..Mini Reviews: Her Royal Spyness & Bet MeMy Profile

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