Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Review: Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink
Series: Prophecy of the Sisters
Author: Michelle Zink
Publisher: Atom (UK) Thank you for the review copy
Published: 5 Aug 2010
Synopsis: From Amazon
Sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe must journey to the uncharted isle of Altus to continue her search for the missing pages of the Book of Chaos - the pages that could tell her how to end the prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other. But the journey will test more than just her courage, it will also test her loyalty to her beloved boyfriend, James. Meanwhile, twin sister Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim Lia's role as the Gate. And that's not the only thing she wants from her sister: there's also Lia's true love. The outcome of their battle could have consequences of Biblical proportions and, in the end, only one sister will be left standing.
I cant tell you how much I looked forward to this sequel to Prophecy of the Sisters, the mix of realism, Gothic convention and historical setting, so richly depicted in Michelle Zink's writing provided an imaginary world in which I could totally immerse my imagination. The descriptions so sensory I could almost feel as if I was right there in the story with them.
Let me start by saying that I love how the title is a play on words of the plot, completely ingenious. I can only describe this book in terms of a roller-coaster ride; the start builds slowly as you are chugging along to the top of the ride, but as soon as you hit that peak you are sent flying along with fast paced action and drama. The gentle start lulls you into a false sense of security, before the plot takes off with adrenaline fuelled action. Dramatic and intense Gothic imagery combined with fast paced action create a compelling storyline. The gathering forces of darkness held at bay by a small band of light/hope.
The history of the prophecy and the genealogy revealed expand the plot drawing the reader further into the plot.
Lia is a wonderful protagonist; fiercely loyal, insecure in her power to begin with but as time passes her belief in herself grows. Her sense of duty over-shadows her own desire for peace and security. She gradually gains both power and inner strength as the plot progresses.
The introduction of a new love interest for Lia gives an extra dimension to the plot with the parallels to Lia's parent's relationship. Dimitiri has a high sizzle factor mixed with a truly lovable nature. You have a sense that Lia and Dimitiri are connected on a profound level. I am adding them to my favourite literary couples along with Bella and Edward plus Vance and Portia.
Alice continues to be absolutely terrifying in her calm assurance that she should rule with Samael (the devil). Her power and lack of respect for the rules instills a shudder of terror whenever she is mentioned in the narrative. Her manipulation of people and events is chilling in its premeditation and complete callousness.
Altus would be my kind of utopia; mix in a few supernatural powers and I would move there in a heartbeat. However, the treatment Lia receives on Altus show how people base their judgements on preconceived notions rather than letting peoples actions speak for themselves. Most people don't bother to get to know people for themselves, instead they trust in rumours and gossip like it is the right thing to do. This makes me both angry and sad. It was lovely to see how Lia was able to alter peoples preconceived ideas about her.
Back to the roller-coaster analogue: there are some amazing twists and turns that take the reader by surprise.
I cant wait to see where this story goes from here.