Wednesday, December 9, 2009

REVIEW: Prophecy of the Sisters

Hi friends! I apologize for my sporadic posting as of late – graduate school is killing me by inches. Of course, Shel is a ridiculous example of how someone can both rock at school and at blogging, but I, alas, am not quite that skilled.
But exams are almost over, and then I promise, I will be so attentive to you lovely people that you’ll start to feel a little stalked.
Anyway, on to today’s review!

Zink, M. Prophecy of the Sisters
343 pages – 9780316027427

Thirty second summary: After the death of their father, orphaned twin sisters Lia and Alice stumble upon the discovery that they are destined to be enemies – for one girl is prophesied to unleash evil into the world, and the other to defend all that is good.

I almost hate to review this book, friends, because it’s the kind of novel that I know I should love. It has everything I like, up to and including a creepy child who knows too much, a massive library, and ponies. (The dust jacket apparently likes listing details as much as I do -- Prophecy of the Sisters also contains “a tattoo-like mark, their parents’ deaths, a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets.” Ooh.) So I almost hate to review it, because I… really did not enjoy this book all that much.

I can’t put my finger on exactly what the problem is, either.

Part of it might be the writing:

“Sonia and I don’t speak on our way up the hill to the cliff overlooking the water,” Lia thinks to herself. “In the vacuum of the words we do not say, I focus on the sky, an endless sapphire that goes on and on” (68).

Dang, you’ll say. That’s ridiculously poetic! Then you realize that the entire book is written that way. It doesn’t matter what’s happening – girls gossiping at school, psychic wanderings, crazy sibling murders (oops, is that a spoiler?) – Lia relates everything in a distant and detached fashion. It’s well-written, and it’s beautiful to read, but you don’t even really feel that she cares about anything, for all that she insists that she does.

Part of it might be the amped-up drama with very little follow-through. Alice is *so* evil (you’ll love the scene where she’s staring off into the distance and yanking the fur out of her pet cat) that you expect her to do something about it. Instead she just lurks around the edges. Granted, she works some major bad in the last scene, but she ruins it by pretending like she didn’t mean to! Alice, you have to embrace your role in this book. No one likes a half-hearted villain.

And part of it (probably the biggest part, for me) is that when you finally do reach the end of the book, you realize that this was just the first in a series. Nay, just the prequel in a series. No wonder there was no feeling of closure! I secretly loathe books like this. It’s not that I don’t love books that are part of a series, but I like each one to be vaguely stand-alone-ish. Prophecy of the Sisters is not – it serves solely as a set-up for the next book. It’s exasperating!

The novel isn’t all bad, obviously. There’s something very viscerally satisfying about a sisters-at-war book. Neither girl seems particularly comfortable with the roles that have been forced upon them, and you’ll appreciate the frustration each feels as they chafe at the boundaries of the prophecy. Lia is an interesting heroine – you’re not quite sure that you love her, but you cringe alongside her as disaster after disaster occurs. And as an added bonus, I really do like the cover. Oh, creepy headstone-esque girl statues. How you rock.

I can’t give this book my full endorsement. I found the writing style too foofy (even given the time period the novel takes place in) and the drama too overdone. However, I also recognize that it has the potential to be wildly popular, so don’t let me keep you from checking it out!

Quotes of note:

Once, I would have taken offense. I would have sided with my sister. But I cannot refute Luisa’s perception of Alice, and deciphering the prophecy and my place in it is suddenly more important than loyalty to a sister I am becoming more and more certain I hardly know. (p. 109)

“What of the world that is left when the Beast reigns? What good is our safety if those we love are left to live in a world of darkness?” (p. 229)

I bring my gaze to the ice, slipping as I see the figure frozen beneath it. I stifle a scream, the sudden movement causing me to slip, arms and legs flailing as I fall. I scramble on hands and knees, slipping and sliding to get away from the person entombed in the ice directly under me, though there is no reason why I should be afraid of her. The face is colorless, but perfectly preserved within the ice. Even her hair is frozen, stretched out in the ice behind her.
When she speaks, her lips move almost imperceptibly. “Help me. They… are… coming.” (p. 277)

Tasty Rating: !!!

If you thought this was delicious, try:

The Hollow by Jessica Verday.

This is a book that could also be described using the words “a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets.” Add in some angst and a funeral, and you’ve got a fun (and only slightly trashy) read.

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