Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, October 23, 2009

"Prophecy of the Sisters" by Michelle Zink

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink (2009, 343 pages-Young Adult)

The Three Stories I have posted on so far from Crazy Iris and other Stories of  Atomic Aftermath, edited and introduced by Kenzaburo Oe are all world class treasures but they are very far from light reading.    I do find myself needing a change of pace after reading these stories.    I recently read Lois Lowry's The Giver with  this objective of a change of pace in mind.    

A month ago I saw Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink in a bookstore.   I really liked the cover.   As I normally do with an unknown to me author I check the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads before I consider buying a book I know little about.    Most people seemed to like the book a lot.   There were a number of five star reviews on Amazon.   I also do like fantasy novels.   I have a proclivity for retreating into fantasy worlds at times and really enjoy a novel that constructs a well done alternate reality.   I also like to read first novels and this is Zink's first novel.    Given all this I decided  Prophecy of the Sisters might be a good escape book.

It is fully centered in the sensitive bookish young person battles the forces of darkness category.   The central characters are 16 year old twin sisters, Liu our narrator and her evil twin, Alice.   (The plot is a bit cliched as you can see but that is ok sometimes you like a cliched plot)    Both of the parents of the girls have recently died, the father under mysterious circumstances.   It is not made clear exactly when the book is meant to take place but it is in a time prior to automobiles.   The setting is England.   The family is quite wealthy.   The father of the girls was happiest when he was among his books in his private library.   He was very into all sorts of mythology and ancient occult lore.    Liu shares his interest and is also quite bookish.

One day the girls discover a mysterious tattoo like mark on their person.   A soothsayer is consulted who after some hesitation and plot maneuvering ends up telling the girls that they are the subjects of an ancient prophecy.   They discover their father had imported other girls to England.   Why he did this is part of the plot.   We wonder what the father knew.   Was he trying to protect his girls?   It turns out the girls may be key figures in a long running battle with dark forces.   They also go to a seance to visit with their late father.  (Ok maybe the novel is a bit cliched!)   There is some mild romantic action.

I was kept interested in seeing what would happen next.   Both of the sisters were brought to life by the  narrative.    This is part one of a three part trilogy.   There is no closure in this book and we will have to wait until at least 2011 for the last book.  

To me Prophecy of the Sisters was an ok escapist read.   The world it depicts has nowhere near the depth of the Harry Potter series or even that of  The Giver.  Both of these are very well done works so this is not meant as a criticism just as a notice to potential readers to not expect too much.     Some of the language of the book is overwritten and sometimes the thoughts expressed by the narrator border on silly.    This is a first novel and I will read the next two works in the trilogy with interest.   Some reviewers on Amazon were crazy for the book.   If I were going to rate it in the Amazon or Goodreads system I would give it 3 stars.   I would say it is an ok read if you can accept the cliched plot and overwritten quality some of the work.  

Mel u


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Sorry that this book was not a home run for you.

Mel u said...

Diane-that is ok-I needed a change of pace book-it did entertain me.

Suko said...

Thank you for your honest review. The cover would have drawn me in, too. I also check Amazon for ratings when checking out an unfamiliar book (even though I personally don't like to assign stars--but do on my Amazon reviews).

Unknown said...

Hi, Mel! Even though you didn't really like this book that much, at least that's one book less from your TBR pile. Hehehe.

By the way, I read your comment in my blog about the Starbucks and the Books 4 Less branches opening in ShopWise. I actually live near that area. Although, I have to warn you, the books sold in Books 4 Less are not really that cheap, considering that they're secondhand books.

Mel u said...

Suko-I try to respect those who might read my posts-thanks as always for your comments

Peter-it was not totally horrible-if it was I would have given up on it before finishing-maybe it is because I have read so many first rate books this year that I read to the works as I did-

Anonymous said...

Hi Mel, I wish I had read your review earlier. Like you, I bought the book after I read the reviews in Amazon hoping for another good YA novel like the Hunger Games. I'm into a third of the book now and I'm really hoping it gets better because right now it just seems so cliched or like a bad horror film.

Mel u said...

theliterarystew-this is the first sort of negative review I have done-I found much of the language of the book also cliched-I hope to read Hungar Games soon-sort of waiting for it to come out in paperback-thanks for stopping by my blog

sumthinblue said...

Thanks for the review. I was thinking of getting this. Maybe I'll just wait for it to come up on bookmooch.