Lola's Reviews > Prophecy of the Sisters

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
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Jul 19, 2009

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bookshelves: fiction_young-adult
Read from February 17 to March 13, 2010

Its been a week now and i'm still debating how to approach this review. Should i analyze or just review it and be done with it? but i figure after taking two and a half weeks dragging myself to the finish line, i might as well do both.

I think Michelle Zink is an excellent writer -it was obvious after reading the first chapter that this wasn't just another author getting by on intrigue and no literary credibility- but it's her approach to the actual storytelling that fell short. It took me a bit to put my finger on the fact that it wasn't just the choice of 1st person narration that made the story lackluster, but the fact that her narrator was so clueless. Lia had absolutely no knowledge of the prophecy, NONE! Nor did she stumble upon it mysteriously, one gloomy day, grieving for the loss of her father while reminiscing through his prized books.

Basically, she had no story to tell until one dropped in her lap by way of a very curious boyfriend. Who had not only discovered the strange one page book but had already translated it from Latin and thought it important enough to present it to her privately, and all this took place off page because 1st person narration means the readers discover as Lia discovers. But Lia isn't the most interesting narrator. She's passive and somewhat nonchalant until its almost too late. She doesn't take much initiative to source out the depths of this prophecy that has been passed down generation after generation to the women in her family. Everyone around her who has a lesser role in the prophecy seems to be leading her to the answers she should be desperately seeking. There just seems to be no urgency on her part about the pending apocalypse. Alice is the one who leads her to Sonia, Sonia is the one who leads her to Madame Berry, Madame Berry leads her to a library of forbidden books and to the man with the tea drinking goat (forgot his name) who helps her decipher the nature of the gate 'keys'. And this is the step by step linearity of the story, which makes for a boring progression. I mean seriously, what good is a narrator who doesn't do much to envelop you in her own tale?

The problems don't stop there, The story started to deteriorate further when it seemed Zink didn't know how much she wanted the readers to know in this first book. She fell through her own plot holes and started carving conveniences where ever she wanted. How convenient is it that Virgina (who was once a major part of the prophecy) could be helpful with information one second, then clueless the next? How convenient that James knows about the prophecy yet fails to mention it ever again? How convenient that the creepy girl keeps appearing out of thin air to return the medallion, yet Lia takes no initiative to discover who she is? How convenient that in her letter Lia's mother mention never telling the father her secret, yet he is the one who found the biggest clues while conveniently keeping Virgina in the dark all those years? How convenient that Virgina decided now was the time to give Lia the useless letter, even though Lia had confronted her about her knowledge of the prophecy many times? How convenient that the letter was so useless even though it was 5pgs long? How convenient that Alice (mistakenly for her side) leads Lia to Sonia, yet we never know why she went there in the 1st place? How convenient that Alice knew so much for so long, yet never had the upper hand in finding the keys? How convenient that the souls never quite reeked enough havoc to put a fire under Lia's arse? How convenient that the other world had a committee who punished those who interfere where they shouldn't, yet no one was ever punished? How convenient that so much happens in this books by way of information overload, yet little or no action what so ever?...i really could go on.

The plot and storyline is so enticing and well written that it really annoys me that Zink's decision to be so linear with it and the horrible pacing was what ruined it for me. i thought the concept of not only sister vs. sister but twin vs. twin was already complex and freaky, but then to add the mishap of their birth which causes a major reversal in their fates was so delicious. And Henry was such a sympathetic character but he was never put to proper use, shame. The pacing of the storyline was shot to hell with the girls traipsing around town and country searching for clues for a good 250+ pages while Alice was left on the wayside even though she was the most intriguing character. I shudder to think how much more frightening and brilliant this tale would've been from her perspective.

In my head i keep making the excuse that this was a YA read, so i shouldn't be so critical, but didn't Harry Potter series prove that just because its meant for a younger audience does not mean it should lose its luster along the way. JK is no Michelle Zink when it comes to excellent writing for a younger audience, but Zink is definitely no JK when it comes to brilliantly executing you story telling. so all in all [3*:] for the amazing concept and what it would've - should've been but minus [2*:] for the dreadful 2 1/2 weeks it took me to get through it. Done and Done...i don't know if i should continue with the next books but it also annoys me because had this been done right i would not hesitate.

*i think this is my longest review, that's gotta say something, right?
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Reading Progress

03/02/2010 page 77
22.45% "Very intriguing, i can't wait to discover how the plot unfolds."
03/06/2010 page 156
45.48% "Something exciting needs to happen, NOW! The storyline is dragging, 156pgs and Lia is still gathering info? there is no sign of chaos"

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