Title: Guardian of the Gate
Author: Michelle Zink
Publisher: Little, Brown Teens
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.
Many people have a problem with the second book in a trilogy. They’re often merely a bridge between the beginning, where the characters and story are established, and the end, where all the story comes to a (hopefully) tense culmination. The second book can often end up being the boring journey to get to the end, without all the interesting new bits we get at the very beginning of the series. Luckily, at least in my opinion, I don’t think Guardian of the Gate fit that pattern.
The book was paced nicely and I was repeatedly left flipping through the pages as quickly as possible to figure out what was going to happen next. Set in London rather than the familiar New York estate that Lia called home in the first book, we get to see some new characters, particularly the dashing Dmitri. He’s barely introduced, though, before old characters reappear and Lia, along with her friends, begin a journey to find the missing pages that we first learn about in the first book.
There are few appearances of Alice in this book, but the growing threat from her increasing power are an underlying threat that manage to appear throughout this book. But Lia’s powers are also growing in this book, and we get the chance to see Lia becoming more sure of herself, even though there are still so many unanswered questions.
This isn’t really spoilery, but it does reveal something in the second book, so don’t read it if you want to be completely surprised: I have to say that I like the relationship between Lia and Dmitri. It seems to move fast but in the situation, with the threat of the prophecy so near, it also makes a bit of sense. And though James didn’t show up in this book at all, and he was often forgotten about, Lia does realize that she will need to figure out her feelings at some point. Sure, the love-triangle can be overused and often is lopsided, but I personally feel like it’s balanced in this – both boys have great qualities, and they’re both good guys. You have the hero who helps Lia every step of her journey and then there’s James, her rock who was always there for her and gains the pity points because he was left behind. I’m not sure how I want the triangle to be resolved in the last book, because whoever loses Lia’s heart will make me sad even while I cheer on the winner.
The world of Altus is also interesting. It has its own society and way of doing things, but really it seems like something you might have found in our world, in past civilizations. There’s been a fair bit of thought put into how it all works, even though only about half of the story takes place in it. I hope that more of the story takes place in Altus, if only to catch glimpses of the beautiful world, which I wish I could see rather than just read about.
Overall, I think this story is up to the standards of the first book, a promising addition that will hopefully conclude with a spectacular climax. Though this book, like the first book, doesn’t end with a nail-biting cliff hanger, I can’t wait until I can get my hands on the last book in the series, which comes out sometimes this year (I’m not sure of the date right now…)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars