Friday, August 12, 2011

Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink

This is the third book in the Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy. And for once, this last book read, felt, and was a last book! The ending was just what was needed. I picked up the first book when I was in library school for two reasons: 1) it was in paperback and 2) it dealt with twins. I have had this strange addiction to twin stories since I first read Tamora Pierce’s Alanna series. Honestly, I probably had it even earlier with my love for those terrible Olsen twin detective movies when I was a little girl. Please don’t make fun of me.
Any way, when I first started this series I wasn’t expecting much. I wanted something a little fluffy to read for particularly long train ride I was going to take. And the back talked of prophecies, twin versus twin battles, and some romance. I was expecting it to be a little cheesy because twin stuff tends to be that way. But, it wasn’t. It was amazing. I loved Zink’s characters, I loved the missing parts of the prophecy, I loved the mystery, and I loved the countryside/giant house setting. I was then even more impressed with book two and all of the legends, the freedoms granted to woman, the powers, and the heavy romance (and it gets heavier than in most YA books). Book 2 did feel like that transition book. It introduced more layers to the story and definitely more hope for the main character, but not a lot happened in it because it was getting you ready for the final book.
Then this came out. I didn’t even write down the date for this one, but I saw it in my favorite bookstore in Chicago (Women and Children First), and grabbed it. It took all of my strength to wait to read it until after my friends from out of town went home.
The book kind of started like Deathly Hollows. Lia is finding clue after clue to help her get the final ingredients for the prophecy that has been plaguing her for far too long. Her and her love interest (Dimitri) go in search of the needed last key, and stone. Between the old friends back to help, the juicy romance with Dimitri, the distrust Lia has for her Keys (girls needed to fulfill the prophecy) after a certain betrayal in book 2, the search for the last bits of things to help (I like to refer to them as horcruxes in my head), the evil sprits that haunt and take control of Lia in her sleep, the race for time, the rules English Society puts on women at this time period, the struggle between the sisters, and the longing for her dead family members, Lia really had plenty to deal with, and the story never stopped fascinating me.
And while I loved the ending, there were a couple of things that nagged at me a little. For starters, I get that Lia has been through a lot; this doesn’t need to reiterated over and over again. And while Lia becomes a sleep-deprived, selfless, worthy heroine, sometimes I felt like I didn’t care for her because too many sentences were about how much she’d already been through when I’d rather be focusing on the now, and even the future. The book is about a prophecy; get out of the past, please! Though, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love Lia. I grew to love her; it was hard not to. She just sort of became that friend you love, but only want in small doses. (This is kind of how I felt about Katniss in Mockingjay…which I will discuss later).
And the other thing that irked me just a little was the final decision made by Lia’s twin, Alice. I didn’t fully believe in her ending because no explanation was given for the decision she made. And while open-ended things in YA can sometimes be good, I felt like this was an author who left nothing open-ended ever. So, when one important thing was left that way but nothing else was, it felt more like Zink didn’t know what to say and less like she wanted you to think about it. If that makes sense.
Overall, this was a wonderful ending to a wonderful trilogy of YA books! Questions were answered, prophecies accomplished, feuds settled, friendships rekindled, and loved ones loved. It didn’t end with a lot of questions on my part, and like what I said in the beginning of this post, it just felt over (in a good way). I give it a 9/10.  Some of it is a little twin cliché-ish, but really, it’s just an amazing story.

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