Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

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Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Meghan Burton
Reviewed by Meghan Burton
Summary: When Lia's father dies, a strange mark appears on her wrist, signaling her role in a complex, dangerous new quest to find the Keys to the Prophecy before her twin sister Alice does in this atmospheric, haunting Gothic fantasy.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: August 2009
Publisher: Atom
ISBN: 978-1905654482

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This book is almost four hundred pages long, but I read it so quickly that it might as well have only had one hundred pages! Lia Milthorpe and her twin sister Alice have never really been allies, always slightly at odds with one another. When their father dies and they become orphans, the twins discover that they are enemies in truth, on opposing sides of a prophecy that could destroy the world. With the help of her new friends Sonia and Luisa, Lia must find the Keys before Alice does and prevent demons from taking over the world.

First, I loved the characters in Prophecy of the Sisters. Lia felt like she could have easily been my friend and she developed extremely well over the course of the story, dealing with impossible issues and still acting like a teenager. She has a boyfriend but still longs for her parents. I felt both that I could relate to her and that she wasn't anachronistic at all, so she fit perfectly in with the Victorian atmosphere while being sympathetic. Alice, on the other hand, added to the atmosphere, because she has clearly been swayed to the evil side, but it's difficult to hate her because Lia loves her, at least until closer to the end.

Speaking of atmospheres, this book has an phenomenal one. It feels creepy and dark throughout and at times I had the urge to look over my shoulder, when I wasn't totally absorbed in the book. It opens with a rainstorm at Lia's father's grave and it sticks with that feel. I loved the detail throughout and the descriptions of not only the countryside but the schools. The spiritual world is similarly stunning even if we see less of it. It all feels extremely well thought out and put together and the fantasy elements never seem out of place in a historical setting, nor vice versa.

The prophecy itself is another masterstroke. It's based on a Biblical verse in the story, which ties it again with history, but it also has a family legacy that adds layers to the story. To make it even better, it's also in a very old book, which immediately draws me in as a book lover. The meaning of the prophecy is gradually revealed by the end, but at the beginning we're completely clueless. It is very difficult to guess where this story is going, which only adds to it in my eyes.

My only problem with the book was its open ending. I've since discovered that this is the start of a series and would have appreciated knowing that beforehand! I prefer even series books to have some sort of conclusion whereas now I will have to be waiting anxiously for book two.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy, historical fiction, or gothic mysteries. It is a great book and would be excellent for reading away a rainy afternoon.

Thank you to the publisher for sending a copy to The Bookbag!

Further reading suggestion: For another atmospheric fantasy novel set in the nineteenth century, try Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

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