Written by Michelle Zink
Published August, 2009 by Atom
Genres: Angels & Demons, Fantasy, Historical
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Sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe and her twin sister Alice have just become orphans, and, as Lia discovers, they have also become enemies. The twins are part of an ancient prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other.
To escape from a dark fate and to remain in the arms of her beloved boyfriend James, Lia must end the prophecy before her sister does. Only then will she understand the mysterious circumstances of her parents’ deaths, the true meaning of the strange mark branded on her wrist, and the lengths to which her sister will go to defeat her.
This story took a little moment to pique my interests, but once I got into the story it was definitely one that gripped me. I understand the similarities to A Great & Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, but the intricate details and plot in this particular story are strong enough to convince this die-hard AGATB fan that it is clearly not a rip-off. Beware of spoilers in the review
I wasn’t that invested in The Prophecy of the Sisters when starting the story. In fact, it took me quite a few chapters to really get into it and see it for the brilliant piece of writing that it is. Once we were introduced to Sonia and Luisa and they became an integral part of the story, I was pretty much hooked.
The legend – the Prophecy – was a little hard to understand at first, but once everything was laid out it was pretty clear. There are still a few things I can’t quite make sense of, but I’m sure The Guardian of the Gate will explain these points in greater detail. I was discovering the clues a few steps ahead of the girls, but that’s not to say it was predictable at all. I’ve clearly read too many books and have come to understand all the weird and wacky turns that twists take.
One of the minor faults I found in the story was Lia’s relationship with James. I didn’t find it believable at all and I didn’t feel the chemistry or the bond between them. James is hardly in the story, but we’re supposed to believe that they are each other’s ‘beloved’. I would’ve liked to see more interaction between them and perhaps have Lia share her secret with him in the end. I wanted him to be a solid character, but he felt like a flimsy distraction to the main plot. Usually, I am craving scenes that feature the love interest, but in this case, whenever James appeared it put me off.
Perhaps that’s something to commend? That the main plot was more interesting than the love story?
I didn’t feel any warmth towards Alice whatsoever. Not even when she was a semi-compassionate sister. Sometimes I gravitate towards the ‘bad’ character because they seem to have more depth than the ‘good’ one, but Alice didn’t capture my interest in the slightest. I found myself rooting for Lia, even when it was revealed she was the Gate and Alice was the Guardian.
And when Henry died at Alice’s hands, I couldn’t believe that Lia didn’t lash out or direct any anger towards her sister. I really wish there was some hostile confrontation there. It also annoyed me that Alice seemed to be at her worst on the Planes, yet in the ‘real world’ the two kept up niceties after all that was exchanged in the Otherworld. I realise the two have shared almost sixteen years of a somewhat loving relationship, but for those of you who have sisters, you understand how a silly fight can turn into something rather nasty in a matter of minutes. I would’ve loved to see this dynamic in The Prophecy of the Sisters.
That was really my only major irk with Lia, that she didn’t seem to stand on her own two feet, especially where Alice was concerned. She also thoughtlessly revealed secrets and her developments with Luisa and Sonia to Alice when it all should’ve been kept secret no matter what. Still, she is a very likeable character and one the reader can relate to.
I will definitely be continuing the story in The Guardian of the Gate. I know it’s at my local bookstore, so when I have a chance I’ll be picking it up for sure. I highly recommend this book if you’re just getting into the historical fiction genre of YA!
Recommended to: Fans of Libba Bray’s A Great & Terrible Beauty series.