Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
Lia Milthorpe is grieving for her father's mysterious and untimely death when she notices a strange mark that suddenly appears on her wrist. It is only the first of many strange occurances, because as Lia is soon to realize, she is the latest in a long line of twin sisters who play a part in an ancient prophecy. It is a prophecy that can bring about the end of days--the apocalypse--or prevent it. And the more Lia learns about it, the more she understands that the prophecy has pitted her against her twin sister, Alice.
Now, Lia and Alice race against each other to unlock the secrets of the prophecy.
The best part of this book is the lush writing and setting. Zink really knows how to write really atmospheric scenes that vividly evoke the 19th century setting. She does dark and brooding really well--throughout, I could totally envision everything she was depicting.
Unfortunately, while there was a lot of interesting potential in this book, most of it was wasted. My first major problem is with Alice. The setup of the book has Alice as the traditionally dominant sister, and suggests that Lia and Alice were at some point close. But we never see that. We only see Alice as distant and ominous. She's a chilling character from the beginning, but it's hard to understand what hold she has over Lia, because we never see them as friends or caring about each other at all.
The second problem is the pacing. The book moves veeeeeery slowly, and nothing much happens. One of my major quibbles with books in general is when the reader figures something out light years before the characters--and this was the case here. It was obvious almost instantly to me what the Keys were, and it annoyed me to no end that it took Lia and her friends so long to catch on as well.
Even the big confrontation and action at the end feels rushed. It's not a bad book. It's very atmospheric, and has potential. But more than feeling like it dragged, it felt like it wasn't going anywhere.