Pinnacle (Paperback), ISBN 0-7860-1559-4
Obsession opens with Megan "Meg" McKenna's life taking a sudden turn to the strange. Her friends keep insisting they saw her at places Megan never visited at times she couldn't possible be there. This causes her a lot of trouble. For example, when her friends think they saw her with another guy, Megan's boyfriend Shea dumps her.
Meg also must contend with her unknown past. Some mystery surrounds her birth -- she believes her father to be a local dropout her wild child mother, Giselle, ran around with before moving to Jamaica with her family. But anytime Meg asks about her father or her past, everyone clams up and changes the subject.
Candra Bowen recently arrived in the United States from her native Jamaica. Her grandmother, Rosamund, worked as a housekeeper for an American family there for many years; now that the family returned to the States, Rosamund and Candra moved with them. Candra dreams of wealth and power in America, and she believes she will obtain them in short order. No more poverty and second-class status for her! But a tingling awareness plagues both Candra and Rosamund, a sense of someone else out there. On the flight to America, Candra hears a little voice saying "Find her." Having developed psychic and spell-casting abilities in her homeland, Candra heeds the voice.
With the help of a new friend, Mirabelle, and a rainy-day spent cleaning her grandmother's attic, Meg makes a startling discovery -- her mother bore twins but gave one up at birth. Candra independently comes to the same realization, and begins plotting to obtain the birthright she should possess.
Angry and bitter at being left behind in Jamaica, Candra, with the help of a local witch, Dalila, casts a spell on Meg.The spell puts Meg in a deep coma so Candra can take over her identity and her life. After a week as a rich girl with her own car, expensive clothes and a private school education, Candra decides to make the new lifestyle a permanent one. She orders Dalila (also under a spell from Candra) to kill Meg. Then Candra can claim the $1 million inheritance due to Meg on her 18th birthday -- tomorrow. Obsession ends on that cliffhanger.
Possession picks up almost instantly. As the time of Meg's murder draws near, Candra becomes more and more uneasy. She finally realizes that she can't allow her own flesh and blood to be killed and sets out to prevent Dalila's actions, Candra ends up saving Meg's life (and killing Dalila in the process).
Meg doesn't remember the previous week, so she believes her twin over the protests of Mirabelle and Shea (who recognized the strangeness of "Meg's behavior" and worked to save her from Candra's plan). Meg is thrilled to discover a sister, because up until now, she always felt second best at home. Giselle married a few years after Meg's birth, and her stepfather, Lester, never truly accepted her. Lester's "real" daughter, Carrie, ended up a spoiled brat and Daddy's girl, and Giselle spent much of her time preoccupied with herself. But Candra can't bring herself to admit to Meg that she ordered Meg killed.
The pair soon face a much bigger problem. Someone -- or something -- evil haunts them. Both girls notice a dark-skinned young man watching them on a number of occasions. Candra senses a presence in the house on more than one occasion, and certain items relating to the girls' history go missing. Then their loved ones begin dying -- first Rosamund, then Rosamund's sister, both of whom played a part in the girls' birth. Rosamund tells them a last bit of information before dying, information that sends them scrambling to find a person in danger before the evil presence can get there first.
The plot sounds a little convoluted at first, but the two books read very smoothly. The only thing that really confused me was why the publishers chose to split the story into two books. I think it would be much better as a single, longer novel. Parts of Possession dragged and could have been cut without damaging the story. Combining the books would've also eliminated the need to break at such an awkward point.
The books' greatest strength turns out to be the characters. All of them, from the main characters to the peripheral ones -- show great depth, and many undergo transformations. Candra's change of heart shows up most strongly, but the flashbacks to Giselle's teenage years and her final actions in Possession also show big changes. Two very good books, but a little more polish on them might make them even better.
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