#TBT: Dark Visions by LJ Smith

Genres: paranormal

  Throwback Thursdays

Remembered because …

the plot was pretty darned cool at the time. It was the first book I read dealing with psychic energies and such.

Dark Visions is a series written by LJ Smith. If that name sounds familiar, it is probably because she also wrote the first four volumes of The Vampire Diaries, now a very successful TV Show (as in seven seasons successful!) and the author of the first three volumes of The Secret Circle, which was also optioned into a TV Show but didn’t last past the first season (and I think it’s because they killed off Nick. I mean, really. How could you do that to one of my favorite characters! I almost stopped watching after that episode. Almost).

The series consists of three books–The Strange PowerThe Possessed, and The Passion (how are those covers looking? That’s so 90s?)–and the heroine of our story is Kaitlyn.

First published in 1994, the story starts off from Kaitlyn’s perspective. She’s not your average teenager and she’s become a freak to her peers because of her special ability. She’s a clairvoyant and her visions are revealed in her drawings. A few incidents at school has labeled her a witch and she’s considered an outcast.

Things change for her when she’s invited to the Institute (and I’m calling it that because I forgot what it’s called in the book). This institute is like a home to gifted kids, not unlike X-Men’s Xavier’s School for the Gifted. She’s joined by four others around her age with other abilities. One can talk to animals, one can heal others, one is a psychokinesis, and the last is a telepathy. Something doesn’t feel quite right to Kaitlyn and in a succession of events ends up with all five of them mind-linked. It was actually pretty darned cool the thirteen year old me. The first book ends with some action and a little romance.

The story moves along with this group escaping the Institute because … evil! And events on the road strengthen some relationships and weaken others. Something happens and one of them goes back to the Institute, thinking that’s all they are good for which leads Kaitlyn sneaking away from her friends to go save him (because, of course it’s a him. Young Adult, you know?).

Reflecting upon the series now, you could say the plot lacked depth and creativity, especially compared to some of the YA books I’m reading today, but for the time period I read it in (gosh, that makes me sound so old!) it was as exciting as it can get. I love Kaitlyn for your spunk and spirit. And I love Gabriel for all his moodiness. And I love Kaitlyn and Gabriel because they work. I remember this was the first series in which I thought that of a couple: that they just work.

This was the gateway series into the paranormal/supernatural genre for me and I haven’t quite left. It made me consider reading things like The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle which I didn’t really consider before. The plot moves fast, it’s easy to read, and it’s fun to read. Just keep in mind that it was written for the tween audience and in the mid-nineties before supernatural stuff became mainstream, again.


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