Dark Visions: The Strange Power; The Possessed; The Passion

 
A whole lot more boy drama than teen psychic thriller.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Lots of teamwork displayed among the "mind mates" (teens linked telepathically). Plus much talk about what's good and evil and overcoming those who are out to hurt people with their psychic gifts.

Positive role models

Kait comes into her own by the end of the trilogy -- she's not out to be rescued by boyfriends anymore, finding her inner strength. But she still plays the rescuer, going after the angry, interesting boy in hopes of making him "good" again. Anna, Rob, and Lee are all positive characters who look out for one another. The evil Mr. Zetes has an opulent home and tempts psychic students with riches.

Violence

More "psychic attacks" than actual physical ones, where deaths of minor characters are mentioned, but the main character is physically attacked once by a drifter who follows her off a late-night bus. A sensory deprivation chamber is used against psychic teens, making some mentally unstable, some display violent tendencies, and some appear grotesque. One girl pulls another out of the shower, and they briefly fight. One character ends up in a coma.

Sex

Plenty of kissing in the love triangle, but not much else -- surprising since teens live together and travel together throughout the trilogy. But when one character sucks the psychic energy out of another, the description is rather sexual in nature.

Language

Very mild. A "damn" or two.

Consumerism

A small sprinkling of brands: Coke, Glamour magazine, McDonald's, Taco Bell, Captain Crunch, Liz Claiborne, Anne Klein, plus a Macy's shopping trip.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Passing mentions that the "bad" psychics are off drinking and smoking. One scene in a night club. Mr. Zetes offers a teen a drink at his home.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this psychic teen romance is much, much milder than the author's Vampire Diaries series. There's a love triangle with lots of kissing (and an energy-draining process that seems rather sexual), one teen is attacked by a drifter and saved, and some teens fall into madness under the effects of an evil psychic crystal. A few minor characters die from far-off "psychic attacks" that are barely described.

What's the story?

When Kait is offered the chance to develop her psychic gifts at an institute in San Francisco, she jumps at the chance. She's one of five teens chosen by Mr. Zetes -- a mysterious, rich, powerful man with the requisite number of guard dogs and evil secrets. It doesn't take long for the five -- Kait, Rob, Anna, Lewis, and Gabriel -- to raid Zetes' secret files and get a sense of his evil deeds; turns out the first wave of teen subjects didn't fare so well in the presence of a crystal that enhances powers ... at the price. In the second of the trilogy, The Possessed, the fivesome goes north in search of a good, healing crystal to combat Zetes. The third story in the trilogy, The Passion, finds Gabriel going to work for Zetes and Kait going in after him as a spy. She and Rob are an item, but there's something about moody Gabriel that's just too tempting to ignore.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It's hard to figure out what makes this a bestseller. It's probably just because the author wrote The Vampire Diaries and the three-in-one set is a bargain at $9.99. Sure, the ideas are intriguing -- and when the five psychics get mind-linked, that's a fun touch -- but the writing isn't worth 700+ pages of anyone's time.

If you're in it for the romance, yeah, Kait gets whomever she decides to go after. But Rob is such a wooden character that he makes Gabriel much more appealing by comparison; it's no wonder which way Kait's head turns. If you're in it for the fantasy, there are many better options out there, none of them centering on a hokey crystal.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes or breaks a fantasy-romance. How could this really long read have been better? What are your favorite fantasy-romances?

  • If you could have a psychic power like the teens in this book, what would it be? Would you trade some sanity for more power, or not?

  • What do you think of Kait's tempation to go for the "bad boy"? Do you think she could really change him and get him to open up to her? How hard is it to change a person?

Book details

Author:L. J. Smith
Genre:Fantasy
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Publication date:September 8, 2009
Number of pages:752
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Read aloud:12
Read alone:12

This review of Dark Visions: The Strange Power; The Possessed; The Passion was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byAntoinette B. February 16, 2011
age 13+
 

Perfect for teens

This is the beesssttt!!!! I love itt!! it hahs so much suspense and love and what togetherness is really about. How to stick up for eachother no matter what!! and how to look deep inside someone.. yu never know
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old June 9, 2011
age 12+
 

Awesome book!!!

This book was great!!!! It was so intense. At times, it could have gotten a little kissy and stuff like that, but, a 12 year old kid can handle that. Two boys compete for Kate, but she makes her desicion at the end. There's nothing really that extreme. One time, Rob puts his hand up Kate's skirt, but he is kind of "stupid" cause he had this accident and he forgot everything about girls, so he just wants to help give energy to Kate, so he decides to put his hand up her skirt.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written byLindyWindy March 1, 2011
age 13+
 

Awesome for 13 year olds.

I'm 13, and i loved it! I love the night world books, so I tried this book. I'm normally a slow reader, but because it's so hard to put down, I just started the third book, and can't wait to see someone tell Gabriel off, in a way that he'll care about.

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