Reviews

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* As 16-year-old Lia Milthorpe stands at her father's grave, she has no idea that his death is about to set off a chain of events that will put her and her twin sister, Alice, at odds and decide the fate of a legion of lost souls led by the fallen angel Samael. A circular mark on her arm, the discovery of an ancient prophecy, and the strange behavior of Alice all tug her toward the realization that like her mother and aunt before her, she and her sister are the Guardian and the Gate, positioned to help Samael or hinder him as he and his minions try to gain a foothold in this world. Debut novelist Zink sets her story in an old house in upstate New York in the early 1800s, and she crafts the atmosphere as carefully as she plots the story and shapes her characters. The latter is especially important because there are deep psychological underpinnings to the sisters' actions and reactions, and Zink does not shy away from grounding her fantasy in the sisters' characters. This arresting story takes readers to other planes of existence; in the next book Lia travels across the ocean to find others who can help her in the fight against evil. Readers will have a hard time waiting for her to arrive.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2009 Booklist


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* As 16-year-old Lia Milthorpe stands at her father's grave, she has no idea that his death is about to set off a chain of events that will put her and her twin sister, Alice, at odds and decide the fate of a legion of lost souls led by the fallen angel Samael. A circular mark on her arm, the discovery of an ancient prophecy, and the strange behavior of Alice all tug her toward the realization that like her mother and aunt before her, she and her sister are the Guardian and the Gate, positioned to help Samael or hinder him as he and his minions try to gain a foothold in this world. Debut novelist Zink sets her story in an old house in upstate New York in the early 1800s, and she crafts the atmosphere as carefully as she plots the story and shapes her characters. The latter is especially important because there are deep psychological underpinnings to the sisters' actions and reactions, and Zink does not shy away from grounding her fantasy in the sisters' characters. This arresting story takes readers to other planes of existence; in the next book Lia travels across the ocean to find others who can help her in the fight against evil. Readers will have a hard time waiting for her to arrive.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2009 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 7 Up-Lia and Alice buried their father on a rainy day in the fall of 1890. His death was sudden, and strange happenings are keeping the twins from resuming their wealthy, well-educated lives. Lia begins to dream of flying and Alice, while reserved, does not appear to mourn her father. Lia's boyfriend, James, uncovers an ancient tome that cryptically tells of two sisters, one the Gate and one the Guardian. One has the power to return Satan to Earth, the other the responsibility to keep her sister in check. As Lia investigates the prophecy, a fortuitous trip to a fortune-teller, Sonia, unlocks new doors. With school friend Luisa joining in the adventure, the cast of characters is complete. Lia, Sonia, and Luisa band together to solve the riddle while preventing the increasingly malevolent Alice from discovering their findings. Zink's choice of first-person present sadly emphasizes her lack of character development. None of the perils the heroines face invoke fear or sympathy, as they are all half-explained and resolved too quickly for real concern to set in. Pass this title over for better historical fantasy fare.-Cara von Wrangel Kinsey, formerly at New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Set in 19th-century New York, Zink's tense and haunting debut novel is narrated by 16-year-old Lia Milthorpe, left in the lurch by the recent death of her father under mysterious circumstances. Lia, who bears the mark of the Jorgumand (a snake devouring itself) on her wrist, soon learns that she and her twin sister, Alice, are fated to play crucial opposing roles in a mystical struggle that goes back to the dawn of time; unfortunately neither girl is temperamentally suited to the role she has been assigned. The author's language, formal and restrained, is appropriate for the setting and gives the chilly scenes between the sisters an especially gothic air ("We are not the kind of sisters who engage in nightly hair brushing or confided secrets"). While Zink relies on the well-used trope of the grand prophecy, the story is anything but cliched, with flawed and fragmentary translations, misinterpretation and methodical but inspired deduction complicating and enriching the tale. The result is a captivating tragedy immersed in a world of spells, Samhain and twisting family allegiances that stands on its own while leaving room for sequels. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved