The Companion is a gripping gothic narrative that follows Margot as she goes from a group home to an isolated mansion, where the ghosts of the past come alive.
Alender did a fantastic job of creating the atmospheric tension of the story. Midway through The Companion, the ending a little predictable given the elements that creep up. However, that does not make the story any less enjoyable, and that is what is great about it. It sneaks up on the reader that there is something not right with the house, with the family. It does not happen all at once, which is good. In addition to Margot’s PTSD, the reader is left wondering if she is an unreliable narrator.
However, events in the house begin to escalate. The Companion is an eerie book to read, one that gets the reader’s nerves unsettled. However, that is what the reader expects when reading a book like this. Alender did such an excellent job with the pacing, dropping hints here and there and making the reader question Margot’s sanity.
Characterization & Dynamics
Margot is such an interesting character. She is suffering from being the single survivor of a car crash that killed her entire family. Her personality is engaging and relatable. All she wants is to be a part of a family again. Her choices are bleak since it is either a group home again or the institution. Her nightmares, survivors’ guilt, resonate off the pages, and it is these elements make her an unreliable narrator.
The dynamics are also impressive. There is something in the tone that makes Laure and John both unsuspecting and suspicious. It is the dynamics between the three of them that give some edge to the story. These dynamics create good tension in the story.
However, it is the romance between Margot and Agatha’s older brother, the Sutton’s oldest son, that leaves room for improvement. It seemed forced, and their romance escalated with one another quite quickly. It did not come off as a natural progression, especially when with their limited interaction. Simply put, it is not believable and is a transparent plot device to highlight the rising tension surrounding Margot and her dynamics with Agatha and Laura.
Honestly, The Companion was reminiscent of The Keep by Jennifer Egan, Crimson Peak, and The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It has the structure, the pacing, the edge to keep the reader hooked even if they see the ending coming.
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|Pub Date: August 25, 2020||Page Count: 448pp||Age Range: 12 & Over|
|ISBN: 978-0-3995-4591-7||Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers||List Price: $18.99|