Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Review: Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink

Guardian of the Gate (Prophecy of the Sisters 2), by Michelle Zink
Release Date: August 2010

Publisher: Little Brown
Pages: 340
Received: Library book
Peer Pressure Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Author's Page
Amazon Page

WARNING! This review contains spoilers for book 1: Prophecy of the Sisters.

Lia Milthorpe's battle against her evil sister, the souls, and an ancient prophecy continues in this second book of the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy. Having spent the last eight months in London with Sonia, gathering her strength and honing her power, Lia is now prepared to travel to the mystical isle Ault where she will find the final pages of the prophecy. With friends, both old and new, Lia embarks on the treacherous journey while the souls dog her heels and work in secret to turn her most trusted allies into spies for Alice and Samael.


As with the previous book in the series, I'm completely conflicted with my review. The plot is great; it is unique and contains all the right elements: Gothic vibes, mystery, suspense, tension, romance, siblings battling, prophesies, good versus evil. I should adore this series, and part of me does. So where's the problem?

For me, it's the characters. I'm almost ashamed to say this because I really want to love this series. I just cannot connect with any of the characters, and it's hard for me to pin point exactly why. On the surface, I can't really complain about the characters. They're not irritating or inconsistent. Yet there is that nagging something. A distance? A blandness? Not quite developed? None seem entirely accurate, but they're as close as I can identify. Many of the characters possess only very surface level traits, making them fairly interchangeable and difficult to know fully.

Whatever the cause, I found myself struggling to finish this book. The plot elements were interesting, but the pacing was inconsistent. Too much time was spent on the Avalon-clone Ault, and the attempt at a drawn out suspense surrounding a betrayal was marred by the obviousness very early on. There were exciting parts, but looking back on a summary of events makes the book seem a lot more exciting than it was while reading. The parts spent in the dream world are a lot clearer than they were in the first book, but Alice's presence was still disappointingly sparse; she is more a specter than an active player.

Fans of the first book should love this follow up. More information surrounding the prophecy is gained (though it took entirely too long to get to this point, I thought) and events are set up in such a way as to promise a suspenseful showdown in the final chapter of the trilogy. For those new to the series, you must read Prophecy of the Sisters before reading Guardian of the Gate, otherwise nothing will make sense. While I'm still not completely in love with this series, I do recommend it and will definitely read the third book when it comes out.
Peer Pressure Rating: 
My Rating: 

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key


  1. From the reviews that I've read of this series, your complaints are common ones: a lack of character development and in the one character that is actually interesting, the villain, her presence is as you say, "disappointingly sparse." I haven't read the series yet but at the moment it's not very high up my TBR list. I definitely still plan on reading it but later, from the library.

  2. It's good to hear I'm not alone. I've mostly seen very positive reviews for this series. I'm glad so many people are enjoying it and I'm happy for them, but it's also nice to see some people feel the same things I do.

    If you're not in a big rush to start, that's probably better. I wish I had waiting until all the books were published, because I forget a lot of what happened in the previous books by the time the next is published. I actually thought the first book was a stand alone until I read the end and, well, it didn't end. :P

  3. Ugh, I tend not to be a huge fan of intense cliffhanger endings either. Sometimes they can be done well but most times they just make me really angry!

  4. I agree! I don't mind them as much if I know they're coming, though. Then I usually try to wait until the whole series comes out and then read them all in one shot. I have a terrible memory and I'm really impatient, so I hate waiting a year between book releases to find out what happens next.


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