Review: Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink

Lizzie     Oct 5th, 2010     Fantasy, Paranormal, Reviews     0 Replies

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (August 1, 2010)
Source: Purchased
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316034479
ISBN-13: 978-0316034470

The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she’ll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister’s role in the prophecy, and that’s not the only thing she wants: There’s also Lia’s boyfriend James.

Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn’t know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing.

*Note: This review contains no spoilers of Guardian of the Gate but may spoil Prophecy of the Sisters if you haven’t read it.

I didn’t hear about Prophecy of the Sisters until only very recent, probably somewhere around the beginning of summer. When I did, though, I ran for the bookstore. I absolutely love books set in the Victorian era; something about that particular era fascinates me. Since I read the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, I’ve been dying to read more books set in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. And when I finished Prophecy of the Sisters, I was immediately dying for the sequel, Guardian of the Gate. Luckily, I didn’t have very long to wait.

When I cracked open the cover of this book, I found myself enthralled once again, transported into Lia’s world of mystery and sorrow. She’s lost nearly everyone at this point: her father, her brother Henry, and her sister Alice, who’s bent on Lia’s destruction. Lia is now in England with her best friend Sonia, on a desperate search of the keys of the Prophecy, who will ultimately aid in its succession or, more preferably to Lia, failure.

What I loved most about this book is that it didn’t waste any time throwing you into the action and adventure. Michelle quickly catches you up and then you’re off. It was faster paced than Prophecy without confusing you. Everytime I finished a chapter, I’d wince if I couldn’t continue onto the next. Even though it’s clear Lia is still grieving the loss of her brother, the story doesn’t dwell on that and stop for several chapters; there’s always new things happening that keeps it going.

Alice is one of my most favorite deranged characters in YA; she’s freaky and coniving and absolutely sinster. Every time she enters a scene, I could feel her evilness seething off the page. And she makes it clear that she’s not a weak little girl. She’s working with the Lost Souls, threatening Lia at every chance she gets. She also assisted in the death of their brother, which bumps her up further on my list of favorite evil YA characters.

One thing that bothered me was James, Lia’s boyfriend, almost entirely disappeared from the story. Albeit, he’s an ocean away from Lia but I felt like he could’ve had at least a bit of a bigger impact on the book. He’s mentioned a time or two in the beginning but as you move through the story, he seems to vanish. Lia hardly mentions him (or maybe I just remember wrong…) and she’s moves on rather quickly, even though they clearly loved each other intensely in Prophecy.

As the story progresses, Lia must travel to the mysterious island of Altus. This is where things did get a little prolonged. The journey for Lia and her friends is very long and consumes most of the book, and at times, I did get a little bored with the woods scenes. I was hoping the story would be redeemed quickly and boy, did it! Just when you think, “Oh my, are we ever gonna get to the island?” BAM! Somethings happens and you’re suddenly thrown onto the edge of your seat, and frightened for your life.

When they arrive to Altus, Michelle hones her incredible writing skills and creates a stunning landscape, rich with detail. She certainly doesn’t bore you, though, with the descriptions. Instead, it helps you better understand the amazement that Lia herself is feeling, while allowing you to immerse yourself in it. I want to live on Altus!

The ending was breathtaking. It was dark, scary, wonderful, and probably the most perfect ending to a book that is apart of a series, ever, in my opinion. I mean, things are actiony up until the very last page. In fact, my favorite parts are all within the last sixty pages or so, so I couldn’t tell you about them even if I wanted to.

Overall, I actually liked this one better than Prophecy of the Sisters. I absolutely loved it! Where the first one spends a large amount of time explaining the Prophecy, Guardian of the Gate throws you in the fire and takes you on an amazing adventure. If you haven’t picked up this book, or even the first one, you need to! Michelle Zink is an incredible author, and I’m absolutely dying for the third and final book in the series!


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