Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I really do not like to give books bad ratings. I feel like an author puts a lot of energy into writing a book, and I should respect them for that. But, there comes a time when I am forced to do what I don't care to do, rate a book poorly. Such was the case with Prophecy of the Sisters. I went into this book with an open mind, and I was curious to see what Ms. Zink could do with the concept of sisters who are on the opposite side of an ancient battle between Heaven and Hell, if you will.
What were my issues with this story?
First of all, I don't feel that much was actually accomplished here. Mainly the situation was discussed, again and again with various people, and it was done in a rather vague fashion. The writing didn't come to life for me. The world-building was too pallid, and I never felt engaged into this story. The Victorian setting was not as vividly fleshed out as I would have liked--there was a generic historical feel to the story, instead of getting a distinct sense of time and place. I think that Ms. Zink did establish a gothic tone, but not to the degree that the sense of unease that should have been evoked was a sustained one. Honestly, for the serious nature of what these two sisters faced, it was very hard for me to actually care. There were only a couple of moments where I felt a sense of urgency and dread.
I didn't feel that the characters were very well-drawn either. Lia seemed a little bit wishy-washy to me. I felt that she had made her choice and was committed, but I didn't see a real sense of urgency or purpose in her. Alice, her sister, had chosen the opposite of Lia, she too seemed detached from the entire situation. I feel that the author wanted the reader to get a sinister vibe from Alice, but she seemed more petulant and skulking than frightening.
It's never a good sign when a reader has to force herself to keep reading, and constantly checks the page count. That's exactly what happened to me here. I was determined to finish this book because I needed it for my A to Z challenge, and not because I was compelled to find out what happened. Sadly, one of the few parts that engaged me filled me with such a sense of rage, I had to restrain my intense desire to fling this book against the wall with all my might. I don't think I could possibly have been more angry at something that occurs in this book, and Lia's lackluster reaction to it. Certainly, I understand the value of picking one's battles, but the manner in which she dealt with her sister's highly heinous actions was inappropriately subdued. I wanted to hate Lia for showing such passiveness and I certainly despised Alice for her cruel, selfish act that she tries to write off as not having had a choice in committing. You always have a choice. Certainly, one of the few redeeming parts of this book is that Lia didn't give in to what was suppposedly her fate, but made a choice to break the cycle, although I wish I saw more action from her from that standpoint.
To sum up, I was highly disappointed in this book. I don't like to say that a book is bad. But, this was certainly not a book I enjoyed or was happy with the reading experience. Instead, I am glad that I got it over with, and I am able to move onto other books which will engage me and enthrall me in the way that such an interesting concept like the one presented in Prophecy of the Sisters should have done, although it failed in the end in doing so. It is my hope that the forthcoming books are able to compensate for this book's shortcomings for other readers. As for myself, I have no desire to continue this series.
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