The year is 1890. Lia and her twin sister Alice have just been orphaned by the death of their father, and in the aftermath, Lia discovers that she and Alice have roles to play in an ominous prophecy. The prophecy pits the two against each other: one is the Gate, who has the potential to open the doors between the underworld and Earth; and the other is the Guardian, who is supposed to make sure that doesn’t happen. But while Lia just learned about the prophecy, Alice has a head start…
There have been a number of books recently that have been based on the legend of the fallen angels and the “daughters of men.” Prophecy of the Sisters is now several years old, yet feels fresher than most of its kind. Michelle Zink adds some interesting twists to the legend, including some allusions to Celtic myth that I can’t wait to see explored further.
Zink’s writing is beautiful, perfectly evoking a Gothic mood. The rainy gray skies and the sisters’ rambling, lonely house make for terrific dark-and-stormy-night reading. If you read Prophecy of the Sisters on a bright sunny day, it’ll probably surprise you when you look up from the book and realize it’s not actually raining in real life. The leaky carriage house full of forbidden books is a great touch too – and makes my bibliophilic heart ache! (I’d gladly give those books a good home!)
Lia tackles the prophecy with the help of two new friends, Sonia and Luisa. She has a sweetheart, too, but refuses to lean on James in any way. As a character decision, this is a little frustrating, because he’s willing to help and Lia’s stubbornness can be annoying. As an authorial decision, though, I like it. The YA field is filled, at the moment, with spineless heroines whose lives revolve around their love interest. It’s gratifying to see a heroine who teams up with her girl friends to solve her problems.
Alice, and Lia’s relationship with her, could use some fleshing out. Alice seems almost sociopathic at times, while at other times she seems heartbroken by the role laid out for her, and I’m not sure how much her behavior is being influenced by supernatural forces and how much of it is “just her.” I’d also like to have seen the overarching plot move a little further in this installment, but in general I enjoyed sinking into Lia’s deliciously Gothic world and will definitely be picking up Guardian of the Gate.