Amy Reviews: Michelle Zink - Prophecy of the Sisters
Michelle Zink crafts a Gothic, immersive atmosphere for her story, complete with realistic social values for the time period, without sacrificing the essence of what normally concerns teenage girls – boyfriends, the opinions of peers, family and friends. Despite the fact that the fate of the world is at stake, there’s a refreshing lack of melodrama.
And product placement. And music artist name-dropping.
In fact, I didn’t just enjoy this book. I loved it!
The protagonist, Lia, is the joint head of the family estate following her father’s death, along with her twin, Alice. Of the two, Lia is the more responsible – except when it comes to James, her boyfriend and the library custodian’s son. Then, Lia’s like any other teenage girl with her first love – taking advantage of any precious stolen moment alone. Only, it’s the 19th century, and so nothing even close to X-rated happens.
As another change from the usual teen dark fantasy format, Lia’s story doesn’t revolve around her relationship with James. In fact, romance takes a distant backseat for most of the time – insert reviewer cheer here!
Family and friendship are very much the central themes in the story. Lia learns that since she and her twin were born, they’ve been destined to play a role in the plan of Samael – a demon who needs to pass through the Gate into the mortal realm. Assuming he does, the apocalypse will then ensue. The catch is, one of the twins is the Guardian of the Gate, and is charged with preventing Samael from being summoned. The other twin is the Gate itself, with the power to call forth Samael.
The twins are turned against each other, and Lia relies on new friends Sonia and Luisa, who bear the same strange wrist markings as Lia, to help her unravel the truth.
If I have any criticism to direct at this book at all, it’s only minor. One thing that surprised me is that Lia seemed to have a very distant relationship with her twin from the outset, and I didn’t really get a sense of much of a bond between them. A closer tie between Lia and Alice could have been unravelled in a very interesting way, and I think it’s a shame that it wasn’t explored more deeply.
Having said that, the distance does make sense if you factor in the things we learn about Alice toward the end of the book… so I can’t complain too much.
The only other thing I’d criticise is that I saw one of the major twists coming about a hundred pages in advance. I’m around ten years older than the intended audience, though, and they were a great hundred pages, so don’t let that put you off! Even if you do see it coming, it won’t be a waste of your time.
There are twists and turns aplenty in this book, and there wasn’t a single moment that jarred me out of the 19th century world and back into the 21st century. It’s a well-written, compelling story that ends with Lia setting out for England to continue her struggle against evil in the second book, Guardian of the Gate, and I’ll definitely be reading along.