Author: L.J. Smith
Rating: 3.5 Stars
After being thoroughly disappointed by the first novel in L.J. Smith’s Dark Visions trilogy, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the sequel to The Strange Power proved to be an engaging read. The Possessed picked up right where its predecessor left off with Kaitlyn, Anna, Rob, Gabriel, and Lewis fleeing from the Institute. This time, they were hoping to make it to the mysterious location they kept seeing in their joint dream and hoped that the people who lived in the giant white house in their vision would be able to help them. However, their journey there is anything but easy. Not only do they lack transportation, money, and food, but the greatest danger of all may be sitting in their midst.
In this middle novel of Smith’s Dark Visions trilogy, I was able to see the re-emergence of the familiar writing I have grown to love. Although this novel was by no means as haunting, terrifying, or scary as The Forbidden Game, it had its fair share of creepiness in it. Furthermore, the pace had picked up considerably, making the plot a lot more interesting from its predecessor. The most marked difference however between this book and The Strange Power, was the characters. Here, we were finally able to see some depth within Kaitlyn, Rob, Anna, and Lewis – characters who had remained flat and unchanging in the previous novel. Although they do not undergo a large amount of change, I definitely felt as if their demeanor and personalities had been affected by some of the situations they found themselves in.
Nevertheless, I still have to admit, that in terms of characterization, Gabriel stole the show. Gabriel still remains to be the most complex character within this trilogy and I love him for that. Because of his experiences with the crystal in the previous book, Gabriel’s power has manifested in dark ways which he struggles to control and live with. The relationship between Gabriel and Kaitlyn, which has always been rocky and a little uncertain, only becomes more so as the novel progresses. Yet, there is a distinct bond between them that is palpable as they are able to understand each other in a way no one else – not even Rob – possibly can. Even by the end of the novel, Gabriel’s changes are by no means permanent. He shifts with each scenario he is presented and his inner turmoil and battles between good and evil are remarkably evident.
Although I enjoyed this book a lot more than its predecessor, I still felt as if The Possessed lagged in some parts – some sections seemed to drag on and the journey this group faced while in their car driving seemed to go on forever. Furthermore, the ending felt rather rushed and abrupt, leaving plenty of loose ends to be tied up in the sequel. All in all, I feel as if Dark Visions is an interesting trilogy with a unique idea – that of psychic control – that sets it apart from other novels. I’ve definitely enjoyed reading Dark Visions, but it is no where close to the level of incredible that Smith’s Forbidden Game was. I only hope it manages to reach its full potential in what I hope will be a stunning conclusion to this admittedly original series.