Review Blog

Jan 08 2013

Possessed by Niki Valentine

cover image

Sphere, 2012. ISBN 9781847444561.
(Age: 15+) Possessed is the story of Emma Russell, a young woman from a simple working class environment who is a talented musician. Her abilities have resulted in the opportunity to study music at a prestigious university and it is here she meets identical twins Sophie and Matilde. For some reason they befriend Emma and introduce her to a life of champagne, parties and social status. Emma is naturally drawn to the quieter twin, Matilde and is devastated when she unexpectedly commits suicide. Bewilderingly, Sophie seems to thrive after the death of her twin but her relationship with Emma becomes increasingly bizarre.
Things begin to happen to Emma that border on the supernatural. She wakes up in strange places, loses great chunks of time and appears to have participated in events that she has no recall of. Sophie also begins to behave erratically, at times warm and loving and on other occasions cruel and spiteful. How much of these strange happenings can be attributed to grief? Emma becomes more and more fragile as the story progresses to the dark climax.
This book has been described as a psychological thriller, reminiscent of Black Swan and this description is probably the most apt. The reader has to grapple with many questions such as why the popular, affluent twins are attracted to wallflower Emma in the first instance and why Emma becomes so heavily invested in them so early in the story, particularly when the price of the friendship seems so high. However, like shifting sands nothing is quite what it seems and reality is continually distorted. The reader must draw their own conclusions as to where the truth lies.
Tina Cain

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