I got a respite from the build up of ‘The Infernal Devices‘ trilogy in that after reading the first book, I did not get to go ahead with the second because ‘Dark Visions‘ by L. Jane Smith came along and I just can’t wait to dive into it.
The short of it is it’s a story about a teenager, a lovely girl called Kaitlyn who grew up in a small town in Ohio. She has eyes that are too lovely for the taste of her neighbors that they began fearing her and calling her a witch. No one wants to associate with her. She never has any real close friends and never gets invited to parties, etc. She also has this gift of drawing and sketching. But aside from drawing what she sees, she also draws things that are yet to happen, usually ominous events of impeding accidents or something to that effect. No wonder they called her a witch.
Then, something happened that gave her a chance to get away from Ohio and into a place where she gets to be part of a group of students all with extraordinary gifts like her. There she experiences things that she longed to experience – friendship, acceptance, and things she not anticipate. She is thrown into and adventure that takes her to places she did not dream of going, and places she ‘dreamt’ of going. And adventure that tested her and her friends’ resolve to survive. She also gets to meet the boy that would nourish her lonely heart – or, rather the boys, for there were two of them. And she experiences being torn between two guys, who have powers – one who can feed her life, and one who can feed off hers.
Again, I am not a qualified critic of any author’s work; I’m just a reader. But I know when an author succeeds in entertaining me. I don’t need to use extra imagination to see what L. Jane Smith paints in her chapters. In fact, in one part I have to distance myself and try to read and see from afar in order to avoid getting overwhelmed with claustrophobia. The part where Kait gets isolated in a dark ‘Ganzfield’ water tank was just too vivid I had to put down the book for a while.
Looking back, the first pages almost convinced me that this story would be something parallel to the x-men. But while the x-men story was cartoonish, the kids in this story are more real in that their powers are within the believable range. I like most parts of the book. The end part however, in my view, has been just a wee bit overly done – too ‘feel good’. All in all, I was entertained and would like to read some more L.J. Smith books.
L.J. Smith has a website at www.ljanesmith.net where you can get updates of her books and download lots of free stories. If you’re into urban fantasy, then you’ll certainly like L.J. Smith.