Monday, May 31, 2010

Prophecy of the Sisters

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

Overall: YYY4
Action: aa
Comedy: a
Romance: aa
Suspense/Mystery: aaaa
Tragedy/Tear-worthy: aaa

Summary: For me, it wasn't even the summary that sold me on this book - it was really the cover. Every time I stepped into the bookstore, this cover popped out. It's unique and unmistakable on the shelves with rows and rows showing cut-off torsos of teenage girls on brightly colored covers. Prophecy of the Sisters looks dark, and the story is dark.

The book is set in the late 1800s and follows Lia Milthorpe right after the death of her father (and a few years after the death of her mother) - each parent dying with mystery shrouding the real causes. Lia, her twin, Alice, and their wheel-chair-bound younger brother, Henry, are left in the care of their Aunt Virgnia. Lia becomes friends with a girl from school, Luisa, and a young spell-caster/fortune-teller, Sonia. Each of them play a part in the little-understood Prophecy of the Sisters, but mainly leaving Lia on the good side of the story, with Alice on the opposite.

The Prophecy itself basically says that two sisters (obviously Lia and Alice) will battle for the outcome of whether Samael (the evil-overlord of the Souls) can enter their world and reign with his evilness. One sister is the Gate that will allow Samael to come to power, the other is the Guardian who must try and keep the Gate closed. The regular concepts of these roles have become confused with the birth of Lia and Alice - much of the shock and surprise comes from Lia's continued understanding of what the Prophecy truly means and exactly how much of her life and the past has been affected by this Prophecy.

The cover-summary does mention "a boy" who, within the first few pages, is known to be James (the son of a family friend and the love-interest of Lia). With this mention on the all-powerful Flap-summary, I was expecting a bit more action from this character... maybe that's just what reading so much YA literature has led me to prepare for. But if you're looking to read this book for a little bit of romance, you will be disappointed. Sure, there are some cute scenes, but Zink focuses the story on the sisters, their choices, and the Prophecy that surrounds their lives - she doesn't put any fluff in, which is a great thing. I did ask Zink about James when I met her at TAC (the Teen Author Carnival on May 24th in NYC) and she explained that we shouldn't count him out of the story all together. He'll be back :)

Opinion: After the initial 100 pages, the story seems to slow down. There is little action - admittedly this is the life of a young girl at the turn of the century so not much action really allowed - but the mystery is consistant. The story mostly continues with discussions and riddle-solving, leaving a tense scene for the very end between Lia and Alice (this is where my Tragedy ranking comes in - I definitely cried).

The characters are very easy to distinquish between each other, and the fact that Zink uses girls from different backgrounds (each outcasts in their own way) makes them much more appealing. They are each different and so they each compliment each other. Alice is the driving-force of the drama, though, and I looked forward to when she appeared in the story. The best thing about all the other "minor" characters is that even if you think you can toss them to the side, they eventually come into play in a major way.

While reading Prophecy, it is easy to tell that it was building up to something more (the coming sequels). In one way that's a good thing, I definitely wanted to read to see what happens. However, many times I just wished something would happen - I almost got tired over reading at parts. It is one of those books (if you are like me and generally aren't a mystery fan) that you need to read to the end just to see what happens in the next part. I made the goal and I followed through - I absolutely do not regret it because I know that the next book will be something even better now that the introduction is over.


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