06 September, 2010

Book Review: Prophecy of the Sisters

Title: Prophecy of the Sisters
Author: Michelle Zink
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy
Page Count: 343
Rating: 4.1 out of 5
Cover Rating: 3 out of 5. The statues are okay, but not terrific. But I do like the way vines are creeping over one girl and not the other--very symbolic, and it fits in with the plot.

Inside flap:

And ancient prophecy
Divides two sisters--

Once good . . .

Once evil . . .

Who will prevail?

Twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe have just become orphans. They have also become enemies. As they discover their roles in a prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other, the girls find themselves entangles in a mystery that involves a tattoo-like mark, their parents' deaths, a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets.

Lia and Alice don't know whom they can trust.

They just know they can't trust each other.

My expectations: I'd heard a lot about this book, and now that the sequel is out, even more. Most of what I saw was positive, although I was never really certain I'd like it and thought it might just be another book with the same plot and bad characters as every other YA book seems to have. Which is why I turned down the opportunity to own it and recently took it out of a library.

It exceeded what I'd expected.

About the book: Lia and Alice Milthorpe are orphans. Their father recently passed away, and they live with their Aunt Virginia in their estate. Their mother passed away years ago, after having seemingly fallen accidentally off a cliff into the water below. (Ahem. Why is everyone throwing themselves off cliffs these days?) But after her father dies, Lia--the firstborn daughter--finds a strange mark forming on the inside of her wrist. A mark that grows darker and clearer as time passes, eventually forming a Jorgamund--a snake eating its tail.

Alice also begins to turn away from here, even more than usual. Lia discovers disturbing things about her sister, and when James hands her a book found in her father's library with a prophecy written in Latin, she realizes that the words have to do with her.

Well, all right, this is a a fairly good piece of Paranormal and/or Fantasy. (Depends on what sort of parameters you have.) I was a irritated at the cliff aspect (Please. These days, it's not very likely that it was an accident) but I have to say that the plot and the characters were overall satisfactory.

I read somewhere that it has parallels to The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray, and while I was reading Prophecy of the Sisters, I was a little surprised by how many similarities there are. A group of girls, a magical, dangerous realm-like place, a wise, older woman who helps them, the fretting adults, the backstabbers at school, the sneaking off, etc. It's not a direct copy, but I can definitely see why that statement would be true. (I like The Gemma Doyle Trilogy, by the way.)

One thing that bothered me though, was the fact that Lia seemed to accept the prophecy all too easily. She was like "A Jorgamund! A strange piece of writing! My sister's reclusivity! I must be part of a huge prophecy where everyone wants to kill each other!"

Well, okay, not exactly like that. But she came across as gullible and naive in that way, and it irked me. That's one thing I've noticed about a lot of YA literature--they seem to have characters who accept things without a lot of proof. It's like suddenly, after years of nothing happening, "THINGS ARE HAPPENING!" instead of a procession of odd events throughout their lifetime which might lead up to something more momentous. Harry Potter does the latter, and I appreciate that a lot since many other books do not. (Have you ever noticed this? Really? Have you?)

  • Plot:

Good. It kept me wanting to know what happens, and I thought the ending was satisfactory. I (again) thought the cliff-falling incident irritating, but the whole thing with her father, Aunt Virginia, her sister, Henry, and her friends was intriguing and kept my interest. Another thing I found a good aspect of the plot is that Lia is actually the bad person. You know, it's usually the MC is the "keeping the good as it is" sort of person, but this time, it's the MC who has the power to do the most evil. I love this deviation from the norm. The ending is rather cliff-hanger-y, but I think it ended appropriately.

  • Characters:

Lia was a nice protagonist. I expected someone ridiculous, but instead she showed a surprising amount of pragmatism. She wasn't afraid of going against her sister when she got nasty--I was glad she wasn't weak in that way.

Alice, the other twin, is an interesting antagonist. I appreciated the way she sort of descended deeper into the prophecy.

Sonia. I loved Sonia. I don't know why, but I really like this girl. She's strong and realistic, and knows what she's doing.

Luisa sort of got on my nerves. She's unwilling to face the truth and wants to run a lot of the time, but she was a good foil.

James is a good friend to Lia. I thought there might be some love-triangle drama or something with her sister, but there was not, and I am glad of that. James is a good person, willing to help Lia and I love the fact his father's a bookkeeper.

  • Setting/Other Factors:

The Gothic element is strong, and while this isn't usually my cup of tea, it was presented in a good fashion. It wasn't boring or dull, and Zink wrote about this world well, I think.

Other: Nothing much. There's some kissing, but that's it. Not much violence, although there are the ghosts and Gothic elements.

Do I recommend this book? Yes! While there are similarities between The Gemma Doyle Trilogy and this series, I think it is original enough to be a worthwhile read, and I want to read Guardian of the Gate now!

-----The Golden Eagle


Elana Johnson said...

I really, really liked this book. It's because of the writing style, I think. I've read several books in present tense, and this one is one of the most well done. And I've only read the first Gemma Doyle book, and I liked this one MUCH better. Great review!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, makes me want to read the book, even though I am not very...paranormalish. :)

Kenzy said...

Oooh sounds interesting! *adds book to the long... long... long list of books i want to read*

The Golden Eagle said...

Elana Johnson: The present tense is written well. Sometimes it can get awkward, but Michelle Zink really pulled it off well.

Shaynie: Paranormal isn't my favorite genre either, but, like in this case, there are some good books out there.

Kenzy: Join the club! I don't even want to think about how long my TBR list must be. :P